A pair of Florida deputies are being questioned after they arrested a man who is legally blind because they mistook the folded cane in his back pocket for a gun.
According to First Coast News, on October 31 a 61-year-old man named James Hodges was stopped by deputies from the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office when he was walking home from the courthouse.
We’re glad you stopped by. Just what are you carrying around in your pocket? In the film, a female deputy can be heard saying, “I just saw you walking.”
It’s a tool for getting around. What exactly is the issue? So, you’re saying that I’m a dictator? Here is Hodges’s response.
She responds, “Yeah, I am, actually.”
Hodges refuses to provide the deputy his name and birth date because he claims she has no justification for asking for it.
Do you want to be handcuffed now? the deputy asks.
What do you think is going on? he queries.
The deputy claims, “You appeared to have a gun in your back pocket.” I’m going to check your form to make sure you’re holding it right.
The suspect then produces the stick and shows it to the deputy, who suggests it may seem like a weapon.
She thought you could be armed,” the deputy explains.
They put Hodges in handcuffs and appear to take his driver’s license out of his pocket, but he responds, “But now she’s verified that I am not armed.”
Hodges claims to be legally blind when he is questioned about why he was excused from jury duty.
As in, “Why weren’t you utilizing your stick?” An officer suggests that you don’t always need to brandish your stick.
Not always, Hodges says, before asking the female deputy for her badge number.
As in, “Hey, you know what? An officer can then be heard saying, “Put him in jail for resisting.”
According to Action News Jax, Hodges was arrested on charges of passive resistance to arrest.
According to a statement released by the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, “Sheriff Hunter is upset by what he has seen in the video, and the problem is being addressed.”
When this matter was brought to our attention on November 3, 2022, an internal inquiry was launched. Policy infractions will result in disciplinary action if the inquiry reveals that they were willful.
Hodges said to First Coast News that he has received community support since the event.