Contempt of Cop

The Statesman is reporting today that three UT football players were arrested on Sixth Street for “failure to obey a lawful order.” If you’re thinking that sounds like a military crime or something out of an Orwellian dystopia, think again. 

Although there is no such crime in the Texas Penal Code, there actually is a City of Austin Ordinance that states that a person commits a criminal offense if he “knowingly fails or refuses to comply with an order or direction of a peace officer that is given by a visible or audible signal” (see Austin City CodesOrdinance 9-4-51).

In my mind, this amounts to Contempt of Cop rather than a legitimate offense because it essentially authorizes Austin police officers to arrest anyone that questions their authority. I’m reminded of APD’s abuse of the Public Intoxication law.