Georgia jails are brimming over with inmates and part of that seems to be because the Atlanta Police Department reportedly insists on arresting civilians for jaywalking. In fact, according to WSB-TV, Atlanta’s law enforcement teams issued about 266 tickets for obstructing the roadway, which is a form of jaywalking, and many of those who received tickets were reportedly thrown behind bars.
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The news outlet spoke to Johnetta Williams, who wanted to cross a street in northeast Atlanta, but instead of walking to an intersection, she took her chances walking across the middle.
Unfortunately, Williams paid a hefty price for her poor judgment in front of a policeman: According to Williams, the officer said, “Oh, you’re going to walk in front of me like that?” Williams said, “I’m confused, I’m not really thinking about him, so I was like, Yeah, It’s a red light.”
And as soon as Williams made her statement, the officer allegedly told her to stop dead in her tracks and then “rushed towards her,” slapping a pair of handcuffs on her wrists. The officer then informed Williams, “Well, you’re about to go to jail for violating Georgia’s jaywalking laws.”
It seems jaywalking in Atlanta has been an ongoing issue that sometimes involves ruffian tactics employed by the city’s law enforcers.
One of the city’s most-infamous jaywalking arrests involved British historian Felipe Fernandez-Armesto who made news back in 2007, when he was reportedly knocked down and arrested while in Atlanta attending a convention. According to the 56-year-old author of more than 20 books and Oxford professor, the situation involving his arresting officer intensified when he began questioning the law enforcer. “When I questioned who he was, he said something to the effect of ‘when I give you an order, you obey it,”’ Fernandez-Armesto said. “I asked him what his authority was because I didn’t see a badge. Where I’m from, you don’t associate young gentlemen in bomber jackets with the police. But he was extremely upset I had questioned his bona fides.”
Fernandez-Armesto claims the officer lost his patience with him particularly when he could not produce proper ID because his green card was back at his hotel.
It was after Fernandez-Armesto failed to produce ID that the officer allegedly kicked his legs from under him and held him down.
Two other officers helped hold Fernandez-Armesto down as he was arrested. The illustrious scholar suffered a gash on his forehead and a bruise on his wrist as he tried to break his fall, and even though he was reportedly injured, he was forced to spend the next eight hours behind bars.
Fernandez-Armesto appeared the next morning in traffic court, “throwing myself on the mercy of the judge.” Charges were eventually dropped and he was released. Fernandez-Armesto stated, “I think it was quite clear to everyone that this entire matter had gotten completely out of hand,” he said. Upon his release, the professor also quipped, “I must say I didn’t get to experience the Southern hospitality I’d heard so much about.”