Walking while black continues to be a crime in good ol’ America. Devonte Shipman of Jacksonville, Florida was issued a $62.50 fine for failing to obey a pedestrian control sign. Jacksonville Sherriff’s Officer JS Bolen doesn’t issue the ticket and let Shipman and his friend go on about their day. Bolen threatens Shipman with jail time for not carrying identification, which isn’t against the law. All over alleged jaywalking.
Shipman, 21, recorded the interaction and posted it to his Facebook page on June 20. As the video opens, Shipman asks the officer what he did wrong. “Take your camera and point it across there at the red hand,” Bolen demands before accusing Shipman and his friend of jaywalking. Bolen then informs Shipman that jaywalking is a $65 fine and he’s being legally detained. He orders Shipman to walk to his police car.
“That’s against the law right there,” Shipman tells Bolen. The more Shipman challenges the officer the more upset he becomes. “You look at me. If you don’t walk to that car I’m putting you in jail,” Bolen responds.
Shipman’s friend is acutely aware how fast this situation can escalate so he urges his friend to just walk to the police car. But Shipman feels the officer’s response is a bit excessive for jaywalking. Bolen continues to tell Shipman he’s about to put him in jail for “disobeying a direct order” and “resisting without.”
“Listen, I’m doing you a favor,” Bolen says before giving Shipman a final warning. He asks Shipman for his ID, but he doesn’t have it. “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.” But according to The Miami Herald, that’s not actually the law.
The Miami Herald quotes one of Shipman’s citations, 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.”
But Shipman wasn’t operating a motor vehicle. He was walking. Ultimately, Shipman was issued a $62.50 fine for failing to obey a pedestrian control sign and a $136 fine for driver’s license not carried/exhibited on demand. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office is reviewing the video, according to the Florida-Times Union. Bolen is not under current investigation.
A day in the life of a black man walking.