Man records his heated debate with officer over crosswalk citation
Jacksonville Sheriff's Office reviewing viral Facebook video
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is reviewing a viral Facebook video showing one of its police officers and a citizen in a heated debate over a ticket.
Devonte Shipman said the officer "abused his power" after issuing him a citation for illegally crossing in a crosswalk.
The 21-year-old said he was crossing the intersection of Arlington and Lillian roads Tuesday when an officer stopped him and his friend.
"I guess the red hand was up, but I didn't see cars. As we grew up in school being taught, 'Look left and right and then we can cross.' So that's what I did," Shipman told News4Jax on Monday.
Shipman recorded his interaction with the officer on cellphone video. In the beginning, Shipman can be heard asking, "What did we do wrong, officer?"
In response, the officer said, "You crossed. Take out your camera and point it over there. One, you were not in the crosswalk. Two, there was a red sign and you both crossed. That's a $65 ticket apiece. Get to my car."
Shipman was issued two citations -- one for failure to obey a pedestrian control signal, and the other for failure to show a driver's license.
"If that was such a big controversy, what about the other more serious crimes? What's more important -- crossing the street or unsolved murders?" Shipman said.
According to News4Jax crime and safety analyst Gil Smith, both citations were issued legally.
"He was not in the wrong in writing the citation because it was legally written," Smith said.
The video has gone viral, and had been viewed more than 467,000 times on Facebook as of Monday night. Many of the comments on the video speak specifically to the interaction and the seriousness of the violation.
During the 3½-minute video, the following interaction can be heard:
Officer: "You look at me. If you don't walk to that car, I'm putting you in jail."
Shipman: "For crossing the street, officer? Can I just get a warning, officer?"
Officer: "Walk to my car. I'm going to put you in jail."
Although the officer was in the right, Smith said he would have opted for giving a warning, instead of writing the ticket.
"That would be an opportunity for good community relations. Just give him a warning, 'Hey, you illegally crossed here. I could write you a citation, but I'm not,'" Smith said.
News4Jax has chosen not to name the officer, but has requested his employee file.
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