66-year-old believes he was targeted by the color of his skin.
By Toi Creel
A 66-year-old black man was given a nearly $200 ticket for walking across the street.
Richard Milton of Culver City, California was recently fined $198 by two officers for jaywalking. After late fees including civil assessments given when he couldn’t pay, Milton was left with a bill of $500.
The veteran was on his way back from a medical appointment and simply wanted to catch the bus. He told Crime Report he looked both ways before he crossed the street, but that didn’t stop two officers from turning on their flashing lights and issuing the citation.
“It was embarrassing to be stopped in public and treated like I had just committed a serious crime,” Milton told the Crime Report.
Milton’s story is one that is modeled by several men and women of color across the region. According to statistics from the California Racial Identity and Profiling Act analyzed by the California Bicycle Coalition, while Black people only make up 9 percent of the population, 31 percent of jaywalking citations are given to African American individuals.
In response to experiences like Milton and others, several are showing their support for the Freedom to Walk Act, Assembly Bill 1238 which would repeal California’s jaywalking laws. Written by state Assemblymember Phil Ting, a Democrat from San Francisco, the bill would legalize crossing the street at places other than a crosswalk or walk cycle of a traffic signal as long as its done in a commonsense, safe way.
The bill was passed by the Senate in June, but does have to undergo amendments before being made into law.