crosswalk
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While there may have been a time when crosswalks were used to help pedestrians cross the road, they are now being used as an excuse for police to extort, kidnap, kill, and cage anyone who may dare to question an officer’s authority. 21-year-old Devonte Shipman found out the hard way when he tried to cross the road this week in Jacksonville, Florida.

 After crossing the crosswalk on Rogero Road, Shipman was approached by Jacksonville Sheriff’s Deputy J. Bolen, and was told that he crossed illegally, and would have to pay a $65 fine. The sight of Shipman’s camera appeared to agitate the already upset young police officer, but photography is not a crime.

Bolen told Shipman he had committed three crimes: crossing the road without using the crosswalk, crossing while the signal displayed a “red hand,” and not having identification on him while being questioned. Shipman asked for a warning, instead of a citation, but was detained and threatened with arrest.

As the video is rolling, and Bolen is likely running Shipman’s name for outstanding warrants, another pedestrian can be seen jaywalking in the background. He crossed the road without being stopped or questioned by any of the six officers standing nearby.

After Shipman uploaded the encounter to his Facebook page, his story went viral. But it was the comments many of his friends were making that should be of interest to Jacksonville Police.

The questioning, detainment, and citation set fire to a number of comments alleging police officers of being racist, trying to meet a quota, and have nothing better to do than to harass people crossing the street. Many commented that there were many more serious crimes (rape, murder, kidnapping) taking place on a daily basis in Jacksonville, and the officer clearly should be going after hardened criminals.

Shipman told Action News Jacksonville that he feels he was being harassed “I’m going to fight it. Take it to court,” he said. “I feel like that was wrong on his end.”

The station’s Crime and Safety News expert, Ken Jefferson, stated there are more serious crimes taking place that should warrant the officer’s attention over the petty crime of jaywalking.

“It’s just way over the top. Let him go. Give him a warning and let him go. Because you’re most needed where…more serious crimes are occurring,” Jefferson said, noting that Bolen’s conduct “widens the divide between the police and the public.”

Shipman was fortunate. As The Free Thought Project has reported on numerous occasions, citizens have lost their lives in encounters with police while attempting to cross the road. A homeless man was shot and killed after a North Las Vegas police officer confronted him as he was trying to cross the road in March 2014.

In Boston, an off-duty police officer attacked and beat a man he nearly hit with his own car after the pedestrian attempted to cross the road in front of him in May 2016. And in California, a man was violently taken to the ground after an officer confronted him for jaywalking in April. The man questioned the officer’s manhood, yet offered no resistance when he was aggressively slammed to the ground.

What police all across the country don’t seem to understand or care about is the fact that the daily engagement, harassment, and ticketing of citizens—especially African Americans—leads to an almost irreparable distrust between the public and police. As has been reported, residents in Ferguson, Missouri, were subjected to a police department more focused on generating revenue than fighting crime. 90 percent of the department’s citations were directed at African Americans, resulting in a powder keg that exploded when Michael Brown was shot and killed.


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