Tuesday, April 26, 2016

ACLU Reacts to Department of Justice Report on Racial Impact of Tampa Bicycle Stops

CONTACT:  ACLU of Florida Media Office, media@aclufl.org, (786) 363-2737

TALLAHASSEE, FL –  The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) has released a report on its investigation into racially disparate bicycle citations issued by the Tampa Police Department.

The report found that the Tampa Police Department’s bicycle stop program “burdened Black bicyclists by disproportionately stopping them,” but “did not produce a community benefit in terms of bicycle safety, bicycle theft, or crime generally” in Tampa.

Responding to the release of the report, ACLU of Florida staff attorney Adam Tebrugge stated:

“We are grateful for the DOJ COPS review which validates what the ACLU and Tampa’s Black community have said all along: that the Tampa Police Department’s bicycle stops disproportionately targeted poor Black communities, stigmatizing young Black people with no benefit toward disrupting and preventing serious crimes.

"Parents and young people impacted by this policy have been saying for years that, whatever their intent, the Tampa Police Department bicycle stop program failed to promote public safety and unjustifiably targeted and stigmatized Black youth.

“The report outlines several recommendations and goals going forward which will improve relations between the community and the police department tasked with protecting it that were broken down by the bicycle stop program. We are especially pleased with the recommendations about increasing public transparency and collecting and reporting data on police stops. We look forward to working with city leaders and the community to ensure that these recommendations are implemented in a way that fosters mutual trust and respect between citizens and police.”