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Arrested for Walking While Black?

Bobby Wingate

A Black Jacksonville, Florida man is suing the local police department after he was reportedly punched in the face, Tasered, and arrested — all for "walking on the wrong side of the road."

Bobby Wingate was walking to an appointment along Oliver Street in the neighborhood of Arlington when a JSO Police Officer pulled up and asked him to stop. Wingate explained that he was running late, prompting the officer to cite him for "walking on the wrong side of the road."

Court papers show that the officer then punched Wingate in the face and "engaged his Taser." Fearing for his safety, Wingate phoned 911 for help, and explained his situation to the dispatcher. "The conduct that is outlined in the transcript and the 9-1-1 call is not only breathtaking, it's outrageous, it's disgraceful," Wingate's lawyer, Andrew Bonderud, told First Coast News.

Bonderud believes Wingate was a victim of racial discrimination, and his claim is buttressed by the fact that, during Wingate's trial, the officer said he "wasn't sure what side of the road Wingate was on." The judge subsequently ruled that the evidence didn't support the case against Wingate and dropped all charges.

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