Ignoring Police Officer's Demand for Identification in New York

In People v. Offen, 96 Misc 2d 147, 408 N.Y.S.2d 914 (New York City Crim Ct 1978),the defendant was informed by a police officer that he was about to receive a summons for littering. In addition to ignoring the officer's demand for identification and uttering an expletive, the defendant proceeded to walk away across the sidewalk, reenter his store and lock the door. The court determined "as a matter of law that fleeing' from an officer prior to arrest is not obstructing governmental administration" (Offen at 150). Moreover, the court concluded that refusing to open a door to police officers does not support such charge. "Were the law otherwise, it would follow that whenever any barrier is placed in the path of process and/or arrest, this class A misdemeanor (obstructing) could be added" (id.). In sum defendant, a shopkeeper, cursed at a police officer who announced that he was going to issue the defendant a summons for littering. Defendant returned to his store, closed and locked the door and rebuffed police officers' numerous requests to open it. 96 Misc 2d at 149, 408 N.Y.S.2d at 915. The court concluded that this refusal did not violate 195.05. "It is no crime to refuse to open a door to police officers," although the defendant of course assumes the risk that such a refusal might result in additional rights, duties or actions by the officers. 96 Misc 2d at 150, 408 N.Y.S.2d at 915.