In yet another example of the discrimination and racism African Americans regularly experience in the United States, a young African-American man was ticketed in Jacksonville, Florida, for something really petty.
Devonte Shipman was fined for alleged jaywalking after he crossed a crosswalk on a red-hand along with his friend.
The 21-year-old was on Rogero Road when Jacksonville Sheriff’s Deputy J. Bolen threatened to arrest him, citing three laws — some of which don’t even exist.
Shipman started recording his argument with Bolen. The video started off with Shipman asking the officer what he had done wrong.
“Take your camera and point it across there at the red hand,” Bolen lashed out.
He then continued mentioning the crime Shipman and his friend allegedly committed.
“My bad,” Shipman said, when Bolen informed him jaywalking was a $65 fine and asked him to get into the police car. Shipman refused at first, this is when the officer out of nowhere threatened to jail him.
“I’m about to put you in jail,” he exclaimed. When Shipman asked him the reason, he said that Shipman will be jailed for resisting an officer, which was clearly not the case as Shipman was simply asking the officer about his mistake.
When the young man decided to walk with the officer to his car, Bolen said, “I am doing you a favor,” before asking for his identification.
Shipman did not have it on him.
“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,” Bolen snapped at him.
However, that is not the law, according to Florida Statute 322.15, which carries a $136 fine, “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.”
This law is for drivers, while Shipman and his friend were on foot.
Bolen also issued another $62.50 fine for failure to obey a pedestrian control signal.
Shipman later told the Times-Union that he lived at a walking distance from where the officer stopped him. He insisted that the signal was still blinking while they crossed. “There’s no way I was disrespectful or anything to make this man react the way he did, period,” he said.
The young man also mentioned that he recorded the video out of the fear that something violent might happen.
“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 explained. “I didn’t escalate the situation. I was trying to figure out what I did wrong.”
Incidents of racism in America are surging every day, particularly haunting people of color. When on one hand a cop who shot an African-American man in front of his fiancé and daughter is set free, and on the other, another black man was threatened being jailed for committing a petty mistake, altercations like these only add up to the hopeless situation.
Everyone, especially law enforcement agencies, need to take notice of this discrimination. They are supposed to protect everyone, regardless of their race, just like they are supposed to treat everyone equally, regardless of their color.