The term “contempt of cop” is being used to describe arrests where police feel their actions are being interfered with or someone is resisting arrest. A recent study in Los Angeles County is said to indicate no racial disparity in this type of arrest, despite feelings to the contrary by community members.
According to the LA Times, the study looked at arrests in the county from 2007. The findings were that there was no greater racial disparity among “contempt of cop” arrests than any other type of arrests. The head of the study admits, however, that the entire criminal justice system “falls more heavily on blacks.”
There were several “possible areas for concern”, according to the Times piece. For instance—force was used on far more cases involving minorities than whites. Force was used in 32% of African American arrests and only 19% of whites. Latinos were subjects of force in 26% of the cases.
In Lancaster, arrests of “contempt of cop” were made against blacks 64% of the time, while they only make up 17% of the population in that particular county and 42% of arrests there overall. The Sherriff sees no problem, however, and states the department is “ahead of all law enforcement in terms of these situations.”
It seems that being “ahead of all law enforcement” in an area that is so obviously broken doesn’t necessarily mean there isn’t any problem, but perhaps just less of a problem. Despite having less of a problem than other law enforcement, the County is far from race neutral and police practices are not non-discriminatory.
Arrests of “contempt of cop” are largely a result of officer frustration—stemming from an inability to “control” a situation. Another big problem with these arrests is that 48% of the people arrested are never charged. So, if the persecutor decides there’s not enough evidence for a criminal case, is there really enough reason for the arrest to happen in the first place?
The answer is debatable.
When you are arrested for a charge like interfering with law enforcement or even disorderly conduct, you may wonder what exactly it was that you did wrong. It could be that you thought you were standing up for yourself and maybe you feel like you were unfairly targeted.
Unfortunately, even if you’re up against something as “minor” as disturbing the peace, you could be facing some months behind bars. Having a qualified and experienced criminal defense attorney on your side to defend your actions and your rights can make a huge difference.