WATCH: Florida cop threatens to jail black man for jaywalking

A man committing the most ordinary of offenses gets threatened with jail

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published June 27, 2017 9:37AM (EDT)

 (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)
(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

Yet another viral video is casting an unflattering light on police officers and their interactions with members of the African-American community.

In the video from Jacksonville, Florida, Officer J.S. Bolen is seen threatening 21-year-old Devonte Shipman with jail time for jaywalking. Bolen specifically accuses Shipman of "disobeying a direct order" and "resisting without violence" and gave him two citations, one for failing to obey a walk signal and the other for not having a form of ID on him.

Shipman was joined by a friend who, though detained, was not cited.

According to the Jacksonville Times-Union, Shipman claimed that Bolen instructed them to come over to his car because they had crossed the street despite the walk signal saying they couldn't do so. Shipman argued that the signal had been blinking when he started crossing. The officer got out of the car when Shipman declined to come over.

In the recording, Bolen tells Shipman he will be detained for walking outside the crosswalk and violating the signal, telling him that if he doesn't wait by his police car, "I’m going to put you in jail."

The video shows Shipman questioning Bolen as to why he is in trouble with the law and emphasizing that he is not resisting. Bolen responds by getting angrier and angrier at Shipman. He eventually claims that he can detain Shipman for "up to seven hours" because he doesn't have an ID card, even though the statute cited by the sheriff does not apply to pedestrians.

"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," Shipman told the Times-Union. "I didn’t escalate the situation. I was trying to figure out what I did wrong."


By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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