An Alabama All-American linebacker who now plays for the Baltimore Ravens was arrested recently in Decatur after allegedly riling a crowd where police were attempting to break up a fight and then reportedly struggling to resist arrest.
Our Birmingham criminal defense lawyers understand he is facing misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
We know that police encounters can sometimes be aggravating, confusing, chaotic and even downright frightening. However, the better you are able to keep your cool in these situations the easier it may be to later have your attorney reduce the charges. Depending on the circumstances, being polite might help you walk away with no charges at all.
Resisting arrest, for example, will almost never go well for you. Even if you are able to break free in the immediate, police will usually catch up, and you will likely be charged with fleeing and eluding police, a Class A misdemeanor under Alabama Code Section 13A-10-52, punishable by up to a year in jail. However, if any officer or innocent bystander is injured in the course of your fleeing, you may be charged with a Class C felony, punishable by a minimum of 2 years in prison. If you used a firearm in the course of this action at all, you would face a minimum of 10 years behind bars, and a maximum of 20 years.
So again, staying calm can be key.
Apparently, the defendant in this situation did not do that.
According to NBC Sports, officers had been called into investigate reports of a large crowd disturbance at a park at around 7:30 p.m. They did not see a fight, but soon after their arrival, they heard someone begin chanting “(expletive) the police!” as they were working to try to control the restless crowd.
The officers said it appeared the individual doing this was attempting to further rile the crowd. After singling out the source of these statements, the officers moved in to arrest him on a charge of disorderly conduct. However, he reportedly jerked away, struggled with officers and attempted to pull officers further into the crowd, which was becoming increasingly angrier.
Officers were able to finally secure the suspect, at which time they recognized who he was, as he has had a number of previous encounters for mostly minor offenses. At the time of this incident, the suspect was out on bond for improper window tint and providing false information to an officer.
He was also convicted last year on assault and gun charges, though those were later dropped on appeal.
We hope in the future he can keep his focus on his football.
In the meantime, here are some tips for how to handle police encounters:
- Be respectful. This will often go a long way with officers, especially if the incident they are investigating is minor. If you are asked to move or sit down, do so without complaint. You don’t want to give the officer a reason to arrest you if they don’t already have one.
- Provide your name and address when asked, and be polite about it. You are not required to provide your Social Security number, the names of friends or family or any other personal information.
- Be clear but polite when you say that you are declining to answer any questions until you have had the opportunity to consult with an attorney – regardless of whether you are under arrest or not. If police have initiated an interrogation, they must stop at this point.
- Do not say anything else after you make this request. Doing so will be an indication that you wish to waive your right to remain silent. Don’t make small talk. Don’t joke. Don’t say anything at all.
- Call your attorney as soon as possible.