aNewDomain — Jaywalking is not a crime everywhere, but it is a misdemeanor in much of the United States. For such a trivial crime, it’s amazing how easy it is to find videos of police overreacting, or seemingly overreacting, to the perpetrators of jaywalking.
Our columnist and political cartoonist Ted Rall was just fired by The Los Angeles Times after the LAPD questioned his account of being thrown to a wall and handcuffed by an LA cop in the course of getting ticketed for jaywalking back in 2001. Read Rall’s story of how his editors used a static-filled police-provided tape to prove he lied about the incident and fired him as a result.
Most of the confrontations begin when the pedestrian does not immediately respond to the police officer’s request to halt and provide identification.
This is, after all, just jaywalking. A safety violation akin to not wearing your seatbelt. Imagine if people were getting tased for that. Unthinkable, right?
Here’s a roundup of some unfortunate jaywalking arrests.
Source: RT America
An Arizona police officer resigned in February 2015 after an internal review concluded he used excessive force in the jaywalking arrest of Arizona State University Professor Ersula Ore in the video above. Prof. Ore was apparently walking in the street because of construction involving a sidewalk when the officer stopped her. Like many pedestrians, Prof. Ore seemed confused as to why the police demanded her identification for such a trivial crime. In the ensuing scuffle, the officer threw Prof. Ore to the ground. She has filed a $2 million legal claim against the officer and the police department.
In some of the cases, the pedestrian does not appear to have even seen, heard or understood the policeman. In one of the most disturbing videos below, you’ll see New York police drag an elderly man to the ground, even though he apparently only spoke Spanish.
A distinguished history professor from England was thrown to the ground by Atlanta police and spent 8 hours in jail after he jaywalked across an Atlanta street. Nabbing the wayward prof. was so important to Atlanta cops that five of them tackled him, leaving a gash on his forehead. The crime was so uninteresting to Atlanta prosecutors that they dropped the charges. The BBC immediately published a warning to British citizens on how to cross streets in the U.S.
Here’s a video of the professor discussing his experiences at the hands of the police:
Source: HNN History
A young jogger was tackled by police in Austin, Texas after she continued to run away. The woman wore headphones and apparently didn’t hear the police. She was handcuffed and dragged away screaming.
The Austin police chief responded to complaints about the woman’s arrest by peculiarly noting that at least the police hadn’t raped the woman:
Source: Young Turks
Here’s a short video of a woman in Los Angeles who has been handcuffed for jaywalking. We do not know the circumstances that caused the police officer to handcuff the woman who appears to be homeless:
Here’s a long story about one woman’s difficulties in fighting her jaywalking ticket in Los Angeles. In short, she spent all day at the court in order to reduce a $197 ticket down to $195. Jaywalking tickets in LA are now $250.
Source: Kat Lafata
Here’s a video of a man being tasered by police in Florida for not rapidly producing identification as the result of an apparent jaywalking. The police now are using the video as a training film for the proper use of the taser.
Viewer warning: The video contains disturbing images and sounds of a man being repeatedly tasered by police.
Source: Young Turks
Here’s a video of a bloody 84-year-old man injured while resisting police during a ticket for jaywalking:
Source: YTube Newz Now
Here’s more on pedestrians jailed for jaywalking:
Source: Unvertech News
The numbers of videos of police using tremendous force to give citizens jaywalking tickets is mindblowing.
There doesn’t seem to be a statistic for the number of jaywalking tickets written in the U.S. each year. Most of the tickets may well be legitimate, and most policemen are likely very conscientious. But there’s something troubling about the contemporary uses of jaywalking tickets.
A study of jaywalking tickets in Vancouver showed that some 2,735 jaywalking tickets were written in a four-year period, and 75 percent of those tickets were written in poor neighborhoods.
So, a law written to protect pedestrians from themselves has in some instances morphed into a way to compel the public, especially the poor, to demonstrate their subservience to the police.
What an odd, odd world.
Photos and credits:
Police brutality warning sign (cover);”Warning for police brutality” by liftarn – Open Clip Art Library image’s page. Licensed under CC0 via Wikimedia Commons. Prof. Ore jaywalking arrest video, RT America. Prof Felipe Fernandez-Armesto discussing his jaywalking arrest, HNN History. Story on Austin jogger arrest, Young Turks. Handcuffed in LA for jaywalking, StreetWise LA. Story about trying to fight a jaywalking ticket, Kat Lafata. Video of man tased for jaywalking, Young Turks. Pedestrians jailed for jaywalking, Unvertech News, 84-year-old man beaten during jaywalking arrest, YTube Newz Now.