Civil Liberties

In Which Observing a Traffic Stop = Resisting Arrest


Salisbury, North Carolina:

The resisting-arrest conviction last week of Felicia Gibson has left a lot of people wondering. Can a person be charged with resisting arrest while observing a traffic stop from his or her own front porch?

Salisbury Police Officer Mark Hunter thought so, and last week District Court Judge Beth Dixon agreed. Because Gibson did not at first comply when the officer told her and others to go inside, the judge found Gibson guilty of resisting, delaying or obstructing an officer.

Gibson wasn't the only one watching the stop, and wasn't the only one who refused to go inside. So why was she arrested and not the others? This might have had something to do with it:

She was the only one holding up a cell-phone video camera.

You have to wonder if Officer Hunter is fit for police work if he's so easily distracted that merely observing him from a distance qualifies as obstructing him from performing his duties.