Two Florida police officers are under investigation for arresting a blind man with a cane for crossing a street despite a crosswalk indicator telling him to wait. This has come to the fore after a video of the incident went viral.
They stopped James Jim Hodges when they saw a metal object, the cane, they thought was a weapon in his back pocket. Hodges says he is a legally blind man and carries a foldable metal cane to help him walk.
The policemen placed the 61-year-old in handcuffs as he refused to identify himself. Hodges repeatedly says that he owes the cops nothing as he had not committed any crime.
Blind man Charged for Resisting Arrest
However, they didn't heed his pleas and slapped the blind man with a charge of resisting arrest without violence. According to the arrest affidavit, an officer identified as Deputy Jayme Gohde asked Hodges what was in his pocket. "It's a navigational aid, what's the problem, are you a tyrant?" Hodges says. "Yeah, I am actually," the officer replied and asked for his name and date of birth.
Hodges refused to give his personal details or ID card to the police and kept insisting that he had done nothing wrong. He said he hasn't committed any crimes and has given the officers no reason to think he has. Hodges then whips out his cane and waves it in front of the officer. "You don't have to be a d*** to me," Gohde says. "Well you're being one to me," Hodges says back.
The heated exchange of words continued and Officer Gohde informed her supervisor about the incident. Hodges tells the officers that now that they know that he doesn't have a weapon, there is no problem. But they handcuff him. Hodges maintains his innocence but to no avail. The supervising deputy tells him that he would be put in jail for resisting arrest.
Incident Being Probed
Sheriff Mark Hunter is troubled by the incident. He said if policy violations are sustained at the conclusion of the investigation, they will take appropriate action. The law enforcement agency said it would probe the incident and post its findings on its Facebook page.
The incident has garnered over 80,000 views on YouTube.