General Assembly looks at proposal to change resisting arrest laws

Posted at 11:51 PM, Feb 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-02 23:51:50-05

Richmond, Va. --- A proposal before the General Assembly could change the definition of resisting arrest. Some police officers say it would make their jobs easier, but there are concerns over constitutional rights.

Right now, the law says a person can only be charged with resisting arrest if they're caught "running from" or "fleeing" police, WTVR reports. There's a push to change the allow to allow officers to charge people with resisting arrest if they don't let themselves be physically taken into custody.

Some police officers, including members of the Virginia Beach Benevolent Association Local 34, recently went to Richmond to advocate for a bill that would address the issue. "A better understandings of the elements could decrease the number of physical confrontations between suspects and officers," VBBA President Brian Luciano wrote in a statement to NewsChannel 3.

The ACLU is voicing concerns about whether the law would be a concern to constitutional rights. "You can imagine someone engaging in civil disobedience just doesn't want to lift their arms. Under this bill, that would be a crime in Virginia," said Rob Poggenklass, an attorney.

The bill is still being discussed in the General Assembly.