Resisting conviction affirmed for man who refused to show his hands

A man convicted of resisting law enforcement after refusing to remove his hands from his pockets did not persuade the Indiana Court of Appeals that there was insufficient evidence to support his conviction.

As New Castle police officer Brandy Pierce was driving around town, she noticed a man who appeared to sway and stumble as he was walking down the street. When Pierce passed him, Charles Tyson turned around and walked the other direction, but turned back the way he had been walking once Pierce’s patrol car passed the intersection.

When Pierce returned and approached, she smelled an odor of alcohol and marijuana from Tyson, who was “uncooperative, refusing to stop, continuously having his hands in his pockets, backing away” and telling Pierce he had done nothing wrong. When the situation escalated, Pierce ordered Tyson to remove his hands from his pockets after noticing they were full and to keep his hands where she could see them. If he didn’t comply, she warned, she would deploy her taser.

When Tyson ignored her, Pierce administered the taser two separate times because he once again became belligerent. Tyson was then handcuffed.

Tyson was charged with Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement, Class B misdemeanor public intoxication and Class C misdemeanor possession of paraphernalia. Following a bench trial, he was found guilty only of resisting law enforcement.

Tyson appealed, arguing there was insufficient evidence to sustain his resisting conviction. But the appellate court affirmed in Charles R. Tyson v. State of Indiana, 19A-CR-1813, concluding his case was different from the case Tyson had cited in support of his argument, Spangler v. State, 607 N.E.2d 720, 724 (Ind. 1993).

“While the Spangler court noted that the element of resistance was satisfied, Spangler’s action did not amount to forcible resistance,” Judge Patricia Riley wrote. “However, unlike the situation in Spangler, Tyson did not merely walk away; rather, Tyson’s refusal to take his hands out of his pockets, which clearly contained items, amounted to a threatening gesture presenting an imminent danger of bodily injury to Officer Pierce.”

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