#WalkingWhileBlack: Video Shows Fla. Cop Threatening to Jail Black Man for Crossing the Street, Not Having ID

Breanna Edwards | The Root

A young black man in Jacksonville, Fla., was harassed by a local sheriff’s officer after he was allegedly caught in the horrific act of jaywalking without a license.


According to the Miami Herald, Jacksonville Sheriff’s Officer J.S. Bolen stopped 21-year-old Devonte Shipman and one of Shipman’s friends for jaywalking, all while attempting to intimidate the duo with threats of jail for crossing the street illegally and walking without identification.

Shipman posted to his Facebook page a video taken of the June 20 incident, which shows Bolen ordering the young man to walk to his patrol vehicle for crossing the street outside of the crosswalk and not waiting for the signal.

“If you don’t, I’m going to put you in jail. So go to my car,” Bolen says in the video while also accusing Shipman of “resisting without violence.”

Shipman continues to question Bolen calmly, attempting to assert his rights in a respectful manner. The 21-year-old can be heard telling the officer that he’s not resisting or disobeying orders before he eventually walks over to Bolen’s car with the officer.

When Bolen asks if Shipman has any ID on him, Shipman says that he does not. That’s when Bolen continues to threaten him, saying that he could detain him for “up to seven hours” until authorities can verify his ID … even though Shipman readily gives up his name and date of birth when asked.

“Three cop cars, all because we crossed the motherfucking street, though,” Shipman says in the video. “We crossed the street. That’s all we did.”

“There’s no way I was disrespectful or anything to make this man react the way he did, period,” Shipman told the Florida Times-Union.

In the end, Shipman was given a citation for failing to obey a walk signal, which comes with a $62.50 fine, and one for not having a license, which means a $136 fine, the Herald reports. Shipman’s friend was not cited.

According to the Times-Union, the sheriff’s office cited Florida Statute 322.15(1) as to why Shipman was given a citation. That statute mandates that “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.”

However, Shipman clearly wasn’t operating a vehicle at the time of the incident, just his legs.

According to the Times-Union, the sheriff’s office is reviewing the video of the incident, but Bolen is not currently under investigation.

Shipman said he recorded the incident because he wasn’t sure what was going to happen to him.

“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.”

Shipman says that he has no intention of paying either of the fines and that he and Bolen have already spoke about meeting in court.

“He was like, ‘I hope you take that option to take it to court,’” Shipman said, “‘because I promise you I’m going to be there.’”

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