JACKSONVILLE (CBSMiami) — A sheriff’s officer was caught on video threatening to take a man to jail after jaywalking in Florida.
Devonte Shipman, 21, started recording on a cellphone shortly after the Jacksonville officer stopped him last week. Community activists believe it happened because Shipman was “walking while black.”
An internal sheriff’s department review is underway.
The video begins with the officer sternly telling Shipman and his friend why he stopped them.
“One, you weren’t in the crosswalk. Two, there was a red sign,” said Officer J.S. Bolen.
Moments later, Officer Bolen threatened to arrest both of them if they don’t walk over to his patrol car.
OFFICER BOLEN: “I’m about to put you in jail.”
SHIPMAN: “For what?”
OFFICER BOLEN: “Disobeying a direct order.”
SHIPMAN: “That’s not disobeying a direct order.”
OFFICER BOLEN: “Resisting without”
SHIPMAN: “That’s not resisting”
OFFICER BOLEN: “Walk to my car.”
SHIPMAN: “That is not resisting officer. That is not resisting officer.”
OFFICER BOLEN: “Listen to me. I am doing you a favor. I am not telling you again.”
Shipman said he was walking inside of the crosswalk lines. He admits he never saw whether the crosswalk light indicated he could cross legally.
“There was two cars that were coming through the intersection that had to slow down. They had the right of way, not you,” said Officer Bolen in the video.
When asked what made Shipman want to take a video of the exchange, he said, “You’ve got police shootings and killings from officers in black communities. I feel like I needed to be safe to record it, in case something did happen.”
He believes race may have had something to do with it but not all.
“Not entirely. I just feel like it happened because I was singled out,” said Shipman.
Since February, the Jacksonville Sheriff has been using state grant money to target jaywalking on four specific streets – part of an effort to reduce traffic deaths. Shipman was ticketed about a mile from one of those streets. He was also cited for not having his driver’s license.
“In the state of Florida, you have to have an ID card on you identifying who you are,” said Officer Bolen during the encounter.
Not quite, according to Florida law. That statute quoted by the officer applies to drivers not pedestrians.
Attorney Michael Gottlieb – who has defended police in court – says Officer Bolen was overzealous. He also thinks shipman’s cell phone and attitude added to the tension.
“You’re already videoing it. We can see the officer’s attitude. Take it to court. Show the judge. The right thing will happen in court,” said Gottlieb.
The officer does not mention race in the video.
When called to give his side of the story, Officer Bolen did not call back.
Shipman is planning to contest his tickets totaling $198 in court, and in video the officer told him, “I really hope you take that option because I promise you, I will be there.”