Thursday, February 7, 2019

Biking While Black In Tampa

Between Jan. 1, 2014 and Aug. 30, 2015, Tampa police documented 9,121 bicycle stops. Though black people make up about a quarter of the city's population, they accounted for 7 out of every 10 bike stops. Among those stopped, black bicyclists were more likely to get a ticket than white bicyclists. 

**This disparity disappeared after the Times investigation, researchers said, when Tampa police mandated that all bike stops be documented as "street checks."** According to a report by the Department of Justice's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, the Tampa Police Department policy of writing tickets to black bicyclists didn't reduce crime, stop bicycle crashes, or curb bicycle theft. All it did was "burden" black bicyclists. "Though these stops were intended to reduce problems in areas with high crime rates, which were mostly black, the disproportionate citing of African-American bicyclists was unfair and, even if not intended as harassment, often perceived as such," COPS office director Ronald Davis wrote in the 72-page report. HERE

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