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Jaywalking? Hope You Don’t Get Stopped By Any of These Cops [video roundup]

cops harass jaywalkers
Written by Tom Ewing

The LAPD claimed that Ted Rall lied when he said that cops manhandled him for jaywalking. But look at these videos. Jaywalkers risk injury by cops … video roundup. Violence, language, viewer discretion advised.

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:

Source: StreetWiseLA

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.

For aNewDomain, I’m Tom Ewing.

Photos and credits:

Police brutality warning sign (cover);”Warning for police brutality” by liftarnOpen 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.

About the author

Tom Ewing

Based in San Francisco, Tom Ewing leads our legal coverage here at aNewDomain.net. He also is a commercial lawyer specializing in intellectual property and the founder of avancept.com. IAM Magazine has named Tom one of the world’s top 250 IP strategists each year since 2009. Email him at Tom@aNewDomain.net. He's +Tom Ewing on Google+

  • alrui

    These low IQ cops deserve 0 respect whatsoever, they are simply revenuers PERIOD!

  • SteveD

    Here’s a tip: if you want to fight the ticket, fight it in court…or don’t jaywalk to begin with. If you comply with the officer’s instructions, 99% of the time you will not be harassed. If his/her instructions are illegal or improper, you take it up with the proper police channels and/or you locally elected officials who have oversight.
    Keep in mind – he police do not write the laws. If they are capturing revenue, it is because they are being told to do so. They do not collect a commission on the tickets they hand out. I’ve seen far far more instances of people being stupid and dangerous where I wish a cop had been around than I have seen any police harassment.

  • derlehrer

    These videos do not exonerate Ted Rall. As a matter of fact, two of these clips have Cenk Uygur admitting that he was caught jaywalking in Los Angeles, and was not handcuffed, nor did he receive a citation. I’ve listened to Rall’s audio tape, and I’m unconvinced that his story is legitimate.

    • No, they don’t exonerate me.
      First, the burden of proof is on the LAPD and their messengers the LA Times to prove that their audiotape disproves my account. Which, with 20 seconds of partial speech on a 7-minute recording, falls wayyyy below the standard of beyond a reasonable doubt.
      Second, what difference does it make that Cenk Uygur actually jaywalked, and I didn’t? Point is, both cops handcuffed for that charge.

      • derlehrer

        Which “both cops”? Point is, two of the tapes that supposedly prove rampant handcuffing, etc. are inclusive of Uygur’s denial that it happens all the time — that was supposed to be the point, no?
        Additionally, this is a “court of public opinion” (like Bill Cosby’s) rather than a court of law. Preponderance of the evidence is sufficient. Apparently, that preponderance was enough to convince the editor — and me.

        • This is one of those fascinating things where different people look at the same thing and conclude, based on their experiences, two entirely different things.

          • derlehrer

            Not having been there at the time, I can reach a conclusion based upon only the evidence presented. True, my conclusion is led in a certain direction based upon my life experiences, which in my case lend credence to the LAPD. I think it would be interesting to have a bit more information, specifically with regard to the final disposition of the legal aspects regarding the citation: What happened in court?

          • I can sort of understand that. (The “sort of” comes from the fact that I can’t imagine anyone having positive experiences with the LAPD, at least not repeatedly.)
            It was a misdemeanor, and I had a clean criminal record (still do), so I fought it in court. I can’t remember if I hired a lawyer or what, but I remember having help navigating the bureaucracy. The offense was either dismissed entirely, or reduced to a mere violation without a criminal record (in which case I may have paid a fine?). I’m the kind of person that, once a matter is behind me, I tend to move on and forget the details.

          • derlehrer

            “… I tend to move on and forget the details.”
            Good idea. But a little late at this point.

          • Don’t take this the wrong way, but the haters are about to be made to look, and possibly feel, very foolish.

          • derlehrer

            GOOD LUCK! (In all seriousness.) 🙂