Jacksonville, Florida, Sheriff’s Officer J.S. Bolen threatened to jail Devonte Shipman, an African-American man, during a recent jaywalking incident (video below).
On June 21, Shipman tok to Facebook to post a video of the incident, in which Bolen tells Shipman he is being detained for crossing the street outside the crosswalk and against the signal.
Bolen ordered Shipman to walk over to his squad car. Then continued: "You are being legally detained. If you don’t, you will have disobeyed a direct order, I'll put you in jail. So go to my car."
When Shipman politely questioned the stop, Bolen repeatedly threatened to put him in jail for not walking to the squad car. Shipman assured Bolen he was not resisting, and walked to the squad car.
When Shipman could not produce his driver's license, Bolen decided to cite him for that, noted The Miami Herald: "That’s another infraction. In the state of Florida, you have to have an ID card on you identifying who you are. I can detain you for seven hours until I figure out who you are."
Florida Statute 322.15 states that people must have their driver's license in "immediate possession at all times when operating a motor vehicle," though does not mention pedestrians.
Bolen told Shipman, "There was two cars that were coming through the intersection that had to slow down. They had the right of way, not you."
As the scene continued, another person jaywalked, but was not cited.
The Florida Times-Union notes that Bolen cited Shipman for not having a license and for failing to obey a walk signal.
The sheriff’s office is not currently investigating Bolen, but said it is reviewing the video.
Shipman told The Florida Times-Union that the signal was still blinking when he and his friend began walking across the street and stopped halfway through.
According to Shipman, the officer flagged them down from his squad car, but Shipman did not approach the officer's vehicle because he didn't know why he was being stopped.
Shipman recalled that he started filming after Bolen got out of his squad car.
"There’s no way I was disrespectful or anything to make this man react the way he did, period," Shipman told The Florida Times-Union.
Shipman recalled that he acted as calm as possible because he was afraid the stop might turn violent. "If you look at the video, if you pay attention to his body language, he’s grabbing his hands like he wanted to do something to me. I didn't escalate the situation. I was trying to figure out what I did wrong."
Diallo Sekou, a black activist who is running for a city council position, said, "It’s walking while black. This is Jim Crow when it comes to these laws and ordinances in the city."
Shipman does not intend to pay his two citations, and added that Bolen hoped to see him in court: "He was like, 'I hope you take that option to take it to court. Because I promise you I’m going to be there.'"