On Resisting Arrest
Several of my recent posts have been on the question of whether a specific law can be said to be to blame for outcomes like the Eric Garner situation or whether it is about the enforcement of those laws (and the behavior of the police).
To add some numbers to that debate we have the following from Vox: 5% of New York cops turn in 40% of "resisting arrest" cases which suggests rather heavily that choices made by individual police officers matter. And, let me stress, the numbers suggest that the vast majority of police officers are not being overly aggressive with the civilians population.
If one clicks through to the piece there is an animated graphic that shows that 60% of officers make no resisting arrest charges while 5% account for 40% of such cases and 15% account for 72% of such arrests. (This is based on a study of 2009 of 51,000 cases—and is something that warrants wider study).
Obviously violence is more likely to occur when a suspect is resisting arrest. However, if a small slice of the force is very frequently encountering suspects who are resisting arrest this raise of the question of whether a given officer might not be creating unnecessary confrontations.
Note: I am not stating that suspects never resist arrest or that officers never have to use force to subdue suspects. I am noting, however, that the numbers here indicate that some police officers appear more prone to confrontation. While some of this may be explainable by specific assignments, the large number of cases would seem to suggest otherwise.
Quite honestly, this is just another example where we need more systematic data collection regarding these issues.