Lake City Vision Impaired Veteran Seeks Relief After
Unlawful Detainment and Subsequent Arrest
On October 31, 2022, James Hodges, a legally blind Lake City resident, was walking home from jury duty when he was unlawfully harassed, detained, searched, and arrested by Officer Jayme Gohde and Sergeant Randall Harrison of the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO).
At the time of the encounter, Mr. Hodges had his navigational aide folded up and secured in his back pocket. He doesn’t often use it on known streets, as it makes him a target at times. Officer Gohde erroneously and egregiously believed the navigational aid to be a pistol. Despite learning Mr. Hodges was unarmed, Officer Gohde and Sergeant Harrison continued to detain and harass Mr. Hodges.
Officer Gohde and Sergeant Harrison placed Mr. Hodges in handcuffs and conducted an illegal search by reaching into Mr. Hodge’s pocket and taking his identification. The body cam footage speaks volumes.
Following Mr. Hodges’ request for badge and ID numbers, Sergeant Harrison, acting maliciously and with ill intent, threw his arms up in the air and said, “You know what, put him in jail for resisting.”
This is not the first incident involving constitutional violations of Lake City citizens by Officer Jayme Gohde and the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office. Officer Gohde also used excessive force during the unlawful detainment and arrest of Lake City resident Martinezz Bowman in 2020. Both incidents demonstrate the systemic lack of training and supervision that permeates the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office.
Mr. Hodges has retained attorney John Phillips. A notice of intent to sue is being filed and Mr. Hodges is requesting a federal investigation of Columbia County Sheriff’s Office.