Jaywalking while Black is an offense worthy of harassment, tasing and arrest, according to the Stockton police. That's exactly what officers in the Northern California town did when they saw a 16-year-old walking in a bus lane.
VICE News reports that bystanders saw nine officers swarm the teenager when he didn't respond to orders to move out of the bus lane, instead continuing to walk to the waiting bus. Bystander Edgar Avendaño, who recorded video of the incident, said the officer grabbed the teen’s arm in attempt to stop him and then pulled out his baton after the teen “took off the cop’s hand off his arm.” The footage shows the cops pushing the teen up against a brick wall and pinning his legs down with a baton. When the teen tried to push the baton away from his legs, the officers swung it at his face.
“It’s a f**cking kid!” a bystander yells. “Get off him, he’s been jaywalking. Leave him alone, he didn’t do anything wrong.”
The teen reportedly suffered an injured jaw and is seen sobbing because of the use of force by the officers.
Stockton police later shared their version of events. “For safety reasons, the officer told the young man to get on the sidewalk,” officer Joseph Silva said. “After the teenager refused to comply and used obscene language, the officer went over and a there was a scuffle.”
Police said the officer was wearing a body camera, but the device was knocked off during the initial confrontation.
The measures by police certainly seem excessive, considering jaywalking is not even a misdemeanor under California law. It's an infraction with carries a maximum fine of $191. “Anytime an officer uses force there’s an automatic administrative review,” Silva says.