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Jacksonville man cited for walking down the wrong side of the road?

11:13 AM, Sep 13, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Walking down the road, minding his own business, one First Coast man says he was assaulted by a Police Officer and thrown in jail for no reason.

When he was tried for the crime, a judge threw out the case half way through the trial.  

Bobby Wingate said the incident occurred on Oliver Street in Arlington.

The last time Wingate walked down the road, he said he called 9-1-1 to protect himself from the police.

"He parked his car right up here near this curve," he said as he pointed.  

On a 9-1-1 recording of that night Wingate can be heard saying, "He said do I really want to fight him? I haven't done anything wrong."

"The conduct that is outlined in the transcript and the 9-1-1 call is not only breathtaking, it's outrageous, it's disgraceful," said Andrew Bonderud, Wingate's civil attorney.

Bonderud said his client was a target of racial discrimination.

According to court papers uncovered by First Coast News at the federal courthouse, Wingate was walking down the road in December when a JSO Police Officer stopped him and asked to talk.

When he told the officer he was running late for an appointment, the officer cited him for walking on the wrong side of the road.

According to court papers the officer then hit Wingate in the face and engaged his Taser. That's when Wingate called 9-1-1.

Wingate spent a night in jail, and the State Attorney's Office took the case to trial.

He was charged with resisting arrest without violence, and walking down the wrong side of the road.

But in court, the officer testified he wasn't sure what side of the road Wingate was on.

Before the defense could even present its case, the judge ruled that there was not nearly enough evidence to proceed and dropped the charges and the case against Wingate.

"This case is also about misconduct. Misconduct that you would never expect from the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office," said Bonderud.

JSO would not comment on the case because Wingate has filed a lawsuit against the department.

Wingate says the lawsuit is a matter of principal, but he's not holding a grudge against the officer.

"If I ever see him again, and he needs my help for something, I'll help him," said Wingate.

The JSO Officer allegedly involved in this incident has not been the subject of an internal investigation.

Wingate says he's not just looking for money from this case, but for a public apology from the department as well.

No trial date has been set in this case.

First Coast News

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