843.02 Resisting officer without violence to his or her person.—Whoever shall resist, obstruct, or oppose any officer as defined in s. 943.10(1), (2), (3), (6), (7), (8), or (9); member of the Florida Commission on Offender Review or any administrative aide or supervisor employed by the commission; county probation officer; parole and probation supervisor; personnel or representative of the Department of Law Enforcement; or other person legally authorized to execute process in the execution of legal process or in the lawful execution of any legal duty, without offering or doing violence to the person of the officer, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
Resisting or opposing without violence is incredibly vague and allows for prosecutors to stack on additional charges (which add pressure for defendants to accept plea agreements). What constitutes resisting can apparently be as little as tensing an arm or moving as restraints are being applied. That creates a dangerously fluid and subjective basis for criminal charge, even a misdemeanor.
The most serious charge is the third-degree felony which can lead to up to five years in prison. Yet, the police charges refer ambiguously to “officers observed the defendant enticing the crowd with music from speakers.”
Enticing with music? That seems a pretty dangerous foundation for a serious criminal offense of rioting. Washington made this point, though he seemed to admit to breaking he curfew in an interview where he declared “I’m sorry for breaking curfew. I didn’t start no riot. At the end, I feel like somebody had to get in trouble and since I had the speaker and the big problems were gone, they locked me up.”
I have to agree with Washington on the basis of the riot charges. If the police have evidence of Washington’s rioting, they should produce that evidence. Playing music certainly can breach the peace and gather a crowd. It is not an element to the crime of rioting in my view.
Here are the provisions:
870.01 Affrays and riots.—(1) All persons guilty of an affray shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.(2) All persons guilty of a riot, or of inciting or encouraging a riot, shall be guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
870.02 Unlawful assemblies.—If three or more persons meet together to commit a breach of the peace, or to do any other unlawful act, each of them shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.870.03 Riots and routs.—If any persons unlawfully assembled demolish, pull down or destroy, or begin to demolish, pull down or destroy, any dwelling house or other building, or any ship or vessel, each of them shall be guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.