A Black man took legal action against the White sheriff’s deputy who arrested him in 2017 after he declined to show the officer his ID.
George Wingate filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday (July 31) that named S.A. Fulford, a Stafford County, Virginia sheriff’s deputy, as a defendant, WTTG-TV reported. It alleged that the officer violated his constitutional protections against unreasonable search, seizure and arrest.
“Mr. Wingate was aware of his rights. He was also aware that he was an African-American man being wrongfully required to identify himself to a white deputy who had confirmed to him that he had done nothing wrong and was not suspected of having done anything wrong,” Wingate’s lawyer, Victor Glasberg, said.
Fulford pulled up behind Wingate’s vehicle on April 14, 2017, after Wingate parked his car at the side of the road to investigate the cause of a check engine light on his dashboard, Galsberg stated. Wingate declined the deputy’s offer for assistance. Things escalated when Wingate refused to show the law enforcement officer his ID.
“Am I free to go?” Wingate asked, after the officer confirmed that he was not being detained.
“No. You’re not free to go until you identify yourself to me,” Fulford is heard saying on the dash cam video.
Wingate ran away after a second deputy arrived at the scene and pressed him for ID. They ultimately arrested him for failure to provide ID, obstruction of justice and resisting arrest. However, a judge dismissed the charges.
“This is a very modest and happily non-lethal example of overreaching police behavior without justification aimed at young Black males,” Glasberg said.
Wingate’s suit alleged false imprisonment, malicious prosecution and false arrest. He seeks unspecified damages.
Here’s the dash camera video of the encounter: