Detroit, MI — Walking across the street in a manner not fit for the police state can often end in serious injury or death — not necessarily because of a car running you over either. The enforcement of jaywalking laws in this country have gone to the extreme and a new settlement out of Detroit shows just how far cops are willing to go to "protect" people from crossing the street in the wrong way.
A Detroit man has learned the hard way how any contact with the police can turn into a freedom and potentially life-threatening situation. Police contacts with citizens for things such as a broken tail light, window tint, and loud music can and sometimes turns into a serious life or death situation. Jaywalking is no exception.
As we’ve consistently reported police often use the victimless crime of jaywalking to escalate use of force against citizens. Steele Hughes, 27, walked across the street in June 2017 after he and his fiancé left Fishbone’s restaurant in Greektown.
I shouldn’t have jaywalked. I can acknowledge that...[but] The officers shouldn’t have touched me. I shouldn’t have been arrested. I shouldn’t have been arrested for 72 hours.
Instead of citation, Hughes was violently taken to the ground, kidnapped, and caged, but not for a short period of time. He was held in jail for 72 hours and was later never charged with any crime.
The takedown and arrest was captured on surveillance video. Hughes was walking across the street with his fiancé towards the parking garage where they’d left their vehicle. A gang of cops then came up from behind, grabbed Hughes, threw him violently to the ground, placed him in handcuffs, and hauled him off to jail.
The young man had never been arrested before, never had his mug shot taken, and never spent so much as an hour in jail prior to being violently arrested for jaywalking.
According to the police reports Hughes was swearing at the officers and threatening them. The reports even stated Hughes was not taken down at all but simply lost his balance. All of those accusations were manufactured falsities according to Hughes and the video.
I would have no reason to attack three armed officers in downtown Detroit after a date night.
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When asked by reporters if he was armed with anything Hughes responded.
I had a carryout (bag). I had some crawfish and rice.”
As the video shows, dozens of other people were walking across the street as well. But for some reason, police targeted Hughes.
District Attorney Kym Worthy, who has long been critical of police tactics, refused to charge Hughes with jaywalking. His arrest was therefore deemed unlawful by his attorney and a lawsuit was filed.
Hughes sued and won a $45,000 settlement funded by Detroit taxpayers. Hughes recently spoke to the press saying the incident has left indelible marks on his life.
As The Free Thought Project has reported, a study on the cases in which pedestrians received tickets for jaywalking or “crossing the street improperly” found that most individuals were ticketed in error because the officers did not know the law.
While some law enforcement agencies admitted that their officers used crosswalk tickets as a way to stop and question people they suspected of criminal activity, it should also be noted that several of the officers who attempt to issue the tickets, or to find out more information about the individuals they believed were suspects, have also been accused of excessive force.
Examples include a man who was tackled to the ground and beaten by police in Millville, New Jersey; a man who was beaten, stripped naked and mocked by police in Del Paso Heights, California; and a teenager who was tackled and choked to the ground by police in Fresno, California. All of these cases have one thing in common—the safety of the subject who was allegedly crossing the street improperly was used as an excuse by officers who then threatened the subject’s safety by using excessive force.