Florida police officer fines black man, threatens him with jail over jaywalking
A young African-American man is stopped for jaywalking. A white law enforcement officer sternly orders him to the police car, threatens to put him in jail, and tells him he needs to have identification on him at all times — and tickets him for not carrying his ID.
Miami Beach, 1962? No, Jacksonville, 2017.
Such was the encounter between Jacksonville Sheriff’s Officer J.S. Bolen and Devonte Shipman last week.
Bolen accused Shipman, 21, and a pal of jaywalking. And, as the video posted June 20 to Shipman’s Facebook’s page showed, such behavior would not be tolerated on Bolen’s watch.
The video opens with Shipman asking what he did wrong. Bolen tells Shipman: “Take your camera and point it across there at the red hand,” and then says that Shipman and his friend crossed against the light.
“My bad,” Shipman says to Bolen, who tells him that jaywalking is a $65 fine and orders him to the police car. Shipman, at first, refuses. Bolen then threatens: “I’m about to put you in jail” for resisting an officer without violence.
As Shipman walks toward the car, Bolen asks for his identification. Shipman says he doesn’t have it and Bolen snaps, “That’s another infraction. In the state of Florida, you have to have an ID card on you identifying who you are or I can detain you for seven hours until I figure out who you are.”
That’s not the law, however.
One of Bolen’s citations says Shipman violated Florida Statute 322.15, which states, “Every licensee shall have his or her driver license, which must be fully legible with no portion of such license faded, altered, mutilated, or defaced, in his or her immediate possession at all times when operating a motor vehicle and shall present or submit the same upon the demand of a law enforcement officer or an authorized representative of the department.”
Shipman wasn’t operating a motor vehicle, though. He was operating his feet.
Bolen gave Shipman a citation for failing to obey a pedestrian control signal, a $62.50 fine, and drivers license not carried/exhibited on demand (322.15), a $136 fine.
According to the Florida Times-Union, the JSO is reviewing the video, but Officer Bolen isn’t under investigation at this time.