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Resisting arrest may be wrongly in the violent crimes category

Michigan criminal law follows most other jurisdictions in making it a crime to resist or obstruct the police in making an arrest. Such offenses may be categorized as violent crimes, but they often do not involve the level of criminal intent or the depth of violent action that are usually perceived as falling into that classification. The reason is that most resisting arrest situations involve some degree of force being applied not only by the suspect but also by the police.

The police usually appear to get the best of the suspect in such confrontations. In addition, when a person struggles to be free of an arrest, he or she may actually be innocent of any charged crime. Many people become flustered by physical contact from the authorities when they feel, rightly or wrongly, that they have done nothing wrong.

Some of these considerations may be raised in an arrest that occurred recently at a Dollar General store in Manistee County. Sheriff's deputies there say that they were investigating a stalking complaint and recognized a man inside the store as being wanted on a warrant. After waiting outside for some undisclosed period of time, the police entered the store. While confronting the suspect, he apparently broke free and ran out the door.

The police say that they tackled the man in the parking lot but that he continued to evade apprehension. When they got him physically restrained, they say that he kicked both deputies, and bit another in the forearm. They say that they then placed him on the ground until backup arrived.

The police charged him with one count of resisting arrest and resisting causing bodily injury. In Michigan and elsewhere, the fact finder in these so-called violent crimes scenarios will side with the police almost automatically, making it difficult to establish a defense. However, the police may in fact have violated proper protocols for restraining and calming the suspect. Here, they may arguably have prematurely confronted the man, and they may not have restrained him on the ground quickly and effectively enough to avoid further confrontation.  

Source: upnorthlive.com, "Man wanted for stalking arrested after allegedly kicking deputies, biting one", July 5, 2018

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