DC’s New APO Law Gives Defendants A Fighting Chance
- 29 Mar
Until recently, the District of Columbia’s Assault on a Police Officer (APO) statute was broadly applied to include, not only physical assault, but also resisting, opposing, impeding, intimidating, or interfering with a police officer. Raising your voice to an officer, wiggling while being handcuffed, or refusing to move because you believe the police stopped you unlawfully—these have all been reason enough to land you in legal trouble. Essentially, any behavior other than complete submission and silence could lead to an APO arrest.
An investigation conducted by WAMU 88.5 and the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University revealed that from 2012 to 2014 the District charged APO nearly three times as much as other cities with the same size population. It also revealed that approximately two-thirds of the people arrested for APO were not charged with another crime.