African-American Pedestrians Targeted By Jacksonville Sheriff

African-American pedestrians are routinely profiled by Jacksonville Sheriff’s Department. Jacksonville investigative reporters — Benjamin Conarck, Topher Sanders and Kate Rabinowitz—investigated the discriminatory pedestrian ticketing practice in Jacksonville, Florida. . They found that the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office issues hundreds of pedestrian citations a year, and they used 28 separate pedestrian statutes as the basis for the citations. Most of us, including the writer had never heard of any of these laws. We all know the jaywalking and crossing against the light statutes, but we aren’t aware you can get a ticket for crossing on a yellow light, crossing the street at the wrong angle, walking on the right side of the road when there is no sidewalk, not walking on the sidewalk when one is available, not carrying identification (to name a few).
Tickets to pedestrians carry a whopping $65.00 fine. Worse than this, pedestrian tickets are issued disproportionately in African-American neighborhoods and to African-American citizens. For example, 78% of tickets for walking in the roadway were issued to blacks.
Law enforcement leaders cite the need to protect citizens from injury. Statistical analyses of traffic patterns, enforcement practices, and pedestrian injuries disproves this assertion.
Community activists suggest that pedestrian laws are used to detain, question, and search individuals that are seen as suspicious. One enforcement of pedestrian violations “briefly became an internet phenomenon.” Devonte Shipman video recorded an officer stopping him for jaywalking. Shipman stated that the officer told him he was “using the jaywalking citation in order to check him for weapons.”
In an ironic turn, the investigative team observed several cross walks, and they saw many uniformed police officers jaywalking. None of the officers ticketed themselves.