The NYPD wants to take away your right to vote if you don’t obey them. It sounds extreme, but the recent push from the New York City Police Department to reclassify “resisting arrest” as a felony amounts to just that.
On Wednesday, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton had the audacity to urge state legislators to increasing the penalty for resisting arrest from a misdemeanor to a felony.
He argued that this is necessary, because New Yorkers need to be reeducated so they can “get around this idea that you can resist arrest. You can’t.”
But police routinely slap the “resisting arrest” charge on anyone and everyone they don’t like. Some of our reporters have documented this at an array of protests we have covered. The Beavercreek, Ohio police even backed a police SUV cruiser into an elderly woman and then brutally twisted her arm, bent her over a second cruiser and continuously yelled “stop resisting” like a mantra, even though dozens were witnessing and filming the compliant woman who never once offered the least bit of resistance to the officers.
Law enforcement expert and retired University of Nebraska-Omaha criminal justice professor, Sam Walker, explained the situation to local WNYC as follows:
Reclassifying resisting arrest as a felony would mean depriving those convicted of this charge of the right to vote.“There’s a widespread pattern in American policing where resisting arrest charges are used to sort of cover – and that phrase is used – the officer’s use of force,” said Walker, the accountability expert from the University of Nebraska. “Why did the officer use force? Well, the person was resisting arrest.”
The United States is one of the strictest nations in the world when it comes to denying voting rights to those who have felony convictions. Nearly 6 million people in the United States have been denied the right to vote in some of the most recent elections, due to felony disenfranchisement. That means if you have too much of a certain leaf in your possession, you can’t vote any longer. If you bounce a check for $501 then you can’t vote any longer. But bounce one for $499 and you’re good, you can still vote. Now, if you are slapped with the dubious “resisting arrest” charge – which is often about as vague and undefinable as the charge of “disorderly conduct,” then the NYPD would also see you stripped of your right to vote.
Some of the New Yorkers who the NYPD would have reclassified as felons, and stripped of their voting rights, are people like Chaumtoli Huq, the former general counsel to NYC Public Advocate Letitia James, was charged with resisting arrest, all for simply waiting for her family outside of the Times Square Ruby Tuesday’s restaurant. The NYPD’s proposal would prohibit her from voting.
Jahmil-El Cuffee, is another example who found himself charged with resisting arrest for nothing more than having his head stomped on by police, due to allegedly having rolled a joint. The NYPD want to take away his right to vote too.
Denise Stewart, was charged too after cops threw her half-naked into her apartment lobby. She “resisted” because they had the wrong apartment. She was completely innocent and was “resisting” being thrown naked into a public setting, as she had done nothing wrong whatsoever. The NYPD say that she should not be allowed to vote any longer.
Santiago Hernandez, was charged with resisting arrest due to being unconstitutionally “stopped-and-frisked” due to racial profiling. This “resistance” was simply a matter of Hernandez trying to survive being assaulted. “One kicks me, he steps back. Another one comes to punch me and he steps back…They were taking turns on me like a gang,” Hernandez explained to local reporters.
Eric Garner too would have been charged with resisting arrest, and deprived of his voting rights, if he had not been killed by Officer Daniel Pantaleo first.
(Article by Moreh B.D.K.)