For sherb: Does a citizen have to obey a police command
So, the video of the jaywalker that got taken down by a Seattle cop is making the rounds.
The cop tells the guy that if he doesn't get on the ground, the cop will make him, which he did (solid arm drag to take the back and then trip with the outside leg). It looks like the cop then gets mount and beats on him (probably totally unnecessary).
Citizens are typically required to obey lawful commands. That varies from state to state, and-important caveat here-the command has to be lawful. So for instance, if you want to pat search someone for weapons, you have to have a lawful basis for doing so. If the initial encounter is unlawful, then no, a citizen is not legally bound to follow the officer's commands. But that's easier said than done and won't prevent a trip to the county lockup. Your case for an unlawful detention is case best made in court, not on the street. I would never counsel someone to resist at the time and assert your rights at the scene. First off, you probably don't know your rights as well as you think you do and you risk catching an assault or obstruction charge for your trouble. Better practice is to comply and assert your rights later.
Is Jaywalking a criminal offense in California? (I think the incident occurred in Sacramento). It very well could be, or it could be an infraction, or a non-arrestable misdemeanor. See, that's where you get the variation. I don't know. I think the officer probably had the right to scratch him a ticket, but beyond that its unclear what authority the officer had.