In re T.T.E., ___ N.C. App. ___, 818 S.E.2d 324 (Jul. 17, 2018)

rev’d in part on other grounds, ___ N.C. ___, 831 S.E.2d 293 (Aug. 16, 2019)

There was insufficient evidence to support an adjudication of delinquency resisting a public officer. A school resource officer testified that he saw the juvenile throw a chair in the cafeteria. After throwing the chair, the juvenile ran out of the cafeteria. The officer followed and without calling out to the juvenile, grabbed him from behind. The juvenile initially cursed when the officer caught him and then told the officer that he was playing with his brother. There was insufficient evidence of resisting an officer. The officer testified that he never told the juvenile to stop before he grabbed him. In fact he testified that he “kind of, snuck up on him” and then grabbed him. On these facts the juvenile did not know or have reasonable grounds to believe that the victim was a public officer until after the officer stopped him. There is also no evidence that the juvenile resisted, delayed, or obstructed the officer in discharging or attempting to discharge a duty once he realized that an officer had grabbed him. He did not hit, fight, or physically engage with the officer. While the State focused on the fact that the juvenile yelled “no” and cursed when the officer grabbed him, his language does not rise to the level of resisting an officer, particularly as the statements appear to have been made when he was grabbed and before he knew who was grabbing him. Additionally, saying “no” and cursing does not show that the juvenile acted willfully and unlawfully, without justification or excuse. Most people would have a similar reaction grabbed from behind by an unknown person.

There was dissenting opinion in this case.