Earlier today, Bossip.com posted this video of Bobby Wingate, a Florida man who was punched in the face and tased by a police officer because he was walking on the wrong side of the road. As these stories go, Wingate spent the night in jail–because after the uncalled for beat down, he charged with resisting arrest on top of walking on the wrong side of the street–while the police officer was free. When the case went to trial, it was dismissed because there wasn’t enough evidence to convict him. Wingate is currently filing a lawsuit against the Jacksonville sheriff’s office but claims he is doing so as a matter of principle.
In general there is nothing encouraging about this situation and it is almost commonplace for us to expect that somewhere in America–especially if its in Florida as of late–a white police officer is using (read “abusing”) his authority against a black man. But there is a silver lining in this story. Though Wingate is filing a lawsuit, he offers a glimmer of hope through non-retributive justice. Of this he says, “If I ever see him again, and he needs my help for something, I’ll help him.” There is no eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth here, just some old-fashioned good will toward men. I am encouraged by Wingate’s outlook when he could be enraged given our current climate and I hope that others might find some level of encouragement. Indeed we wish that incidents such as this will decrease and that less perpetrators will go unpunished but, for now, let’s celebrate one man’s decision to find some good will to give to a man who thought to give none to him.