Columbia County Sheriff’s Office investigates after body camera video shows blind veteran’s arrest

Sheriff Mark Hunter says he is troubled by the video and is addressing the matter
Published: Nov. 7, 2022 at 12:49 PM EST
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LAKE CITY, Fla. (WCJB) - Columbia County Sheriff’s Office officials say they are investigating after a video of deputies arresting a blind veteran with a walking cane went viral online.

According to the arrest report, deputies approached James Hodges, 61, on Halloween around 8 a.m. after he crossed the street in Lake City. The deputy noticed a silver object in the man’s back pocket that the deputy assumed was a gun. It was later understood to be a folded walking cane.

When deputies questioned Hodges, who says he is legally blind, he indicated the object was a mobility device. He then pulled the folded cane out of his pocket to show it to the deputy.

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The deputy continued to question the man and ask for his I.D. which Hodges declined. That’s when another deputy stepped in to place him in handcuffs.

Body camera video of the incident has garnered millions of views on social media.

A man was charged with resisting an officer after a deputy mistook his cane for a gun

Hodges was booked into the Columbia County Jail on the charge of resisting an officer. According to jail records, he spent more than 24 hours behind bars before being released.

Officials with the department say Sheriff Mark Hunter is troubled by the video and is addressing the matter. Officials also say an administrative investigation started on Nov. 3.

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The sheriff’s office posted on Facebook the following:

“We are aware of the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office body camera video involving the arrest of Mr. James Hodges on October 31, 2022. Sheriff Hunter is troubled by what he has seen in the video and the matter is being addressed. An administrative investigation was initiated on November 3, 2022 when the incident was brought to our attention. If policy violations are sustained at the conclusion of that investigation, appropriate action will be taken. While we understand the frustration and concern associated with this event, please know we are working to resolve this matter as quickly as possible.”

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