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Jaywalking video provokes ‘walking while black’ controversy in Florida

By Katie Mettler,

A white officer’s threats to arrest a black man for last week in Florida are being called an abuse of power.

The incident, which was recorded and has now gone viral. shows Jacksonville sheriff’s deputy J.S. Bolen detaining 21-year-old Devonte Shipman.

Shipman lives in the Arlington neighborhood of Jacksonville, on the city’s east side, and had just crossed the road last Tuesday with a friend when the officer drove up and beckoned the men toward his department cruiser, reported the Florida Times-Union. The officer told the men they had illegally walked against the crossing signal directions.

At first, Shipman declined to approach the cruiser because he didn’t understand why the officer was stopping him, he told the newspaper. When Bolen got out of the car, Shipman said he began recording.

“What was it that we did wrong, officer?” Shipman asks in the video.

“You crossed,” Bolen says while walking briskly toward Shipman. “Take your camera and point it across there at the red hand. That is a crosswalk.”


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