Former Jacksonville Jaguar, Ernest Wilford, has entered a plea of no contest to a count of Resisting an Officer Without Violence. Wilford was arrested on January 14th after being asked to leave the Ritz Bar in Jacksonville Beach. The Ritz is watched constantly by the Jacksonville Beach Police Department. They have officers standing by and watching that two block radius of bars and restaurants. According to police reports, Wilford was at the Ritz at 1:20 in the morning. After refusing to leave the bar, the bouncers got Jacksonville Beach Police involved. The officer asked Wilford to leave and after refusing the officer’s request, the officer put his hands on Wilford. Wilford attempted to pull away from the police, turned and pushed the officer in the chest with both hands moving him backwards four feet. The police deployed their Taser and gave Wilford two stuns because he would not submit. Once on the ground, they say Wilford continued to refuse to be handcuffed. The officer deployed another stun and he still refused. After the officer gave Wilford one knee strike to his right shoulder, the police finally handcuffed him.
After being arrested for Trespassing and Resisting an Officer Without Violence, Wilford was taken to the Jacksonville Beach Police Department before being transported to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Pretrial Detention Facility. It is standard for someone arrested in Jacksonville Beach to be transported to the jail in Jacksonville because Jacksonville Beach does not have a jail, just a holding area. If you are arrested at any of the beaches in Jacksonville, including Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach, and Jacksonville Beach, you will be taken to downtown Jacksonville to be processed, put in a jail cell, and taken before a Jacksonville judge. Your criminal case will be handled in Jacksonville.
Wilford entered his plea of no contest to the charge of Resisting an Officer Without Violence, which is a first degree misdemeanor. A first degree misdemeanor is punishable by up to one year in jail. Wilford has to pay court costs and the judge withheld adjudication. That means that he was not convicted of the crime. The Trespassing charge was dropped by Jacksonville prosecutors.
The State Attorney’s Office made a point to explain why they did not place Wilford in the Pretrial Diversion Program. The Pretrial Diversion Program, also referred to as PTI, is for first-time offenders who commit non-violent crimes in Jacksonville, such as petty theft or passing worthless checks. They elected to not place Wilford in that program because he did something to the police.