That said, you can arrest someone for bullshit reasons legally. Bullshit means minor and perhaps to prove a point, but it's not illegal. And sometimes people need to spend the night in jail whether because they're threatened their mother, squatting on a stranger's stoop, or ignore an officer's lawful order to desist from criminal behavior (but behavior you don't have probable cause to arrest them for). The charge can be loitering (Baltimore's go-to), disorderly conduct (NYC's go-to), disturbing the peace, trespassing, failure to obey, open container. Or any even more minor violation (littering, jaywalking, spitting, cursing, it doesn't matter, as long as it's on the books) combined with "failure to provide identification." (It's much harder to arrest somebody who does carry ID, because you can't play the BS-ticket-you-don't-have-ID game.)
Such minor arrests do not and should not be prosecuted. The argument that arrests are bad because charges are dropped is absurd. As I wrote:
Along with bureaucratic BS (prosecutors march to a much different drummer than cops), the standard for conviction is "beyond a reasonable doubt." The standard for arrest is "probable cause" (which isn't even "more likely true than false." So of course good legal arrests will be dropped.What I don't get is so many illegal searches and arrests could be done legally, if the officer was clever and knew how to write. But where the report goes wrong is assuming that arrests and searches are evil because an officer didn't articulate good cause in the arrest report. Much of the DOJ describes is just bad writing. That or officers not giving a damn about wasting time on a report for some BS arrest that is, in fact, abated by arrest. Cops' inability to write is a major problem. But they some cops don't learn good writing skills in high-school. There's no language or writing test to become a police officer. Maybe there should be.
On top of that, most low-level offenses are abated by arrest. You don't actually prosecute people for loitering and trespassing on a stoop. A loitering arrest isn't bad because it's not prosecuted. It's never prosecuted. And for such minor offenses, officer have pretty low motivation to write a good report, since it really just doesn't matter.