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Thread: Biking While Black

  1. #1
    Veteran Member Madeline's Avatar
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    Biking While Black



    As Chicago police ramp up their ticketing of bicyclists, more than twice as many citations are being written in African-American communities than in white or Latino areas, a Tribune review of police statistics has found.

    The top 10 community areas for bike tickets from 2008 to Sept. 22, 2016, include seven that are majority African-American and three that are majority Latino. From the areas with the most tickets written to the least, they are Austin, North Lawndale, Humboldt Park, South Lawndale, Chicago Lawn, West Englewood, Roseland, West Garfield Park, New City and South Chicago.

    Not a single majority-white area ranked in the top 10, despite biking's popularity in white areas such as West Town and Lincoln Park.

    African-American cyclist Patric McCoy, 70, said he's experienced the heightened enforcement firsthand.

    McCoy had just left his Kenwood condo on a frigid January evening to go to dinner when he was stopped by two Chicago police officers in an unmarked car. The white officers told McCoy repeatedly that he could be ticketed for riding on the sidewalk and even arrested, and McCoy said he waited in the cold while they ran his driver's license to check for warrants. Eventually, they let him go without a ticket.

    McCoy, who said he was only on the sidewalk in front of his own building and a neighboring building and already off the bike when he was stopped, supports enforcing the rules but said it cannot be "arbitrary and capricious."

    "It's so unfair," said McCoy, a retired Environmental Protection Agency enforcement official. "It creates a situation where you get a dislike for the police because they're not doing what they should be doing. They're messing with you for nothing."

    Police say the citations are in the interests of public safety. African-American bike advocates say the higher number of tickets in some South and West side areas could be caused in part by the lack of bike infrastructure like protected bike lanes, leading cyclists to take to the sidewalk to avoid traffic on busy streets.

    But some bike advocates and an elected official expressed concern that police may be unfairly targeting cyclists in black communities while going easier on law-breaking cyclists in white areas. Blacks, Latinos and whites each make up about a third of the city's residents, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

    The differences in enforcement were stark — for example, between Jan. 1 and Sept. 22 of last year, 321 bike tickets were issued in the majority African-American, low-income area of Austin, compared with five in white, wealthy Lincoln Park. Austin, on the West Side, also ranked high for citations issued to motorists parking or standing in bike lanes, with 309 tickets in 2015, compared with 30 in Lincoln Park on the North Side, according to city Department of Finance figures, which keeps parking records.

    Enforcement for bike citations has shot up citywide in recent years — from 468 total tickets in 2010 to 3,301 in 2015, or about seven times higher. In the majority black area of North Lawndale — the increase was 23 times higher, from 8 to 185. The increase comes as the city encouraged biking, by providing more bike lanes and more Divvy rideshare stations, including in lower-income neighborhoods.

    The most common cyclist citation citywide was riding on the sidewalk, which is not permitted for riders 12 and older.

    "I don't know what possible rational explanation there could be for the police to write more bike infraction tickets in neighborhoods that have less — less money, less businesses, less bicycle infrastructure than in other communities," said Brendan Kevenides, a lawyer who specializes in bike cases. He referred to the issue as "biking while black."

    "There is definitely a perception in these neighborhoods that there are better things for the police to be doing," said Chris Willard, owner of Small Shop Cycles & Service in the South Side's Bronzeville neighborhood in the Douglas community area.

    Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said police are concerned with the safety of all Chicagoans.

    "Where bicyclist and vehicular safety has been an issue of concern, officers have been working with the community to enforce applicable traffic and safety laws," Guglielmi said.

    Ald. Chris Taliaferro, 29th, a former police sergeant whose ward includes part of Austin, said he has never gotten a complaint about people bicycling on the sidewalk.

    "I find that to be incredible, to have such a disparity like that," Taliaferro said. He wondered how many cyclists were stopped but not ticketed in Lincoln Park, compared with those stopped and ticketed in Austin.
    'Biking while black': Chicago minority areas see the most bike tickets - Chicago Tribune

    NOBODY over 12 is riding a bike in a poor neighborhood in Chicago except for essential travel. To work, school, the grocery, to see the doctor. These people are not "staying in shape" or enjoying a fun leisure activity. They also aren't committing crimes, as riding a bike is an asinine mode of transport for street criminals. Bike riders in poor neighborhoods are almost entirely positive, reducing air pollution and congestion, reducing demand for parking, and modeling healthy excercise.

    Others ARE committing crimes in these neighborhoods, and the cops need to be after them, not illegally harassing 70 year old men trying to go to dinner with friends.

    Fucking racist cops. I swear, I don't know how people condemned to be policed by such people maintain their sanity.
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  2. #2
    covfefe knight's Avatar
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    Just further evidence that the cops need to be cracked down on.
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  3. #3
    Veteran Member Madeline's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by knight View Post
    Just further evidence that the cops need to be cracked down on.
    I have had some dark thoughts along these lines. My prosecutors and cops here in Cleveland are so despicable, I feel like I'd get more justice if they were all in jail and all the prisoners let out.

    Which, in my calmer moments, I realize is unfair to what are doubtless hundreds of men and women trying to do as right as they can in a shit system.

  4. #4
    covfefe knight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Madeline View Post
    I have had some dark thoughts along these lines. My prosecutors and cops here in Cleveland are so despicable, I feel like I'd get more justice if they were all in jail and all the prisoners let out.

    Which, in my calmer moments, I realize is unfair to what are doubtless hundreds of men and women trying to do as right as they can in a shit system.
    I'm sure there are decent cops just trying to do well at a shitty job, but the bad ones bring them all down.
    Thanks from Madeline

  5. #5
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    Ms. Madeline,

    On the sidewalk, don't ride your bike
    If it's traffic ticket fines you don't like,

    Don't do it,

  6. #6
    The Un-Holy One The Man's Avatar
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    I was nervous around police a long time, when moved to Canada...

    I was a bad boy, back in Moscow. Hung out with an equally bad crowd, and we got up to all kinds of nasty shit, criminal shit, drugs, stolen property, lots and lots of assaulting other mostly equally bad folks, even an arson in my case (this dude, a sort of rival of mine, went and killed a stray cat that lived on my street, that he knew I liked very much... so I, in turn, went and tossed a Molotov cocktail into his fucking car one evening, because that the crazy SOB I was back then, as a teenager lol)

    In those peripheral neighborhoods in Moscow where I lived back then, a boy learns very quickly, often from hard experience: the police are NOT your friend

    The police are like all the gangs and organized criminal groups, but bigger and better armed. If they catch you and drag you into their place, its so they can beat a confession out of you, often to something you never actually did; or make you rat a buddy out for something; or just plain old shake you down for a bribe. Most people certainly in less affluent areas of Russia don't like or trust police, with good reasons... I know someone who was tortured so badly by police in jail he ended up in a wheelchair for the rest of his life. Another guy I went to school with, his older brother was beaten to death by cops during interrogation, probably they played the "Fifth Corner" game with him (they bring you into a square room, with four corners, a cop in each corner, and the cops start pushing and hitting you around, punching and kicking you, and your only chance for safety is to find the fifth corner, which there ain't none, and they just keep going, keep beating you, until you break and confess or whatever, or die, I guess; they keep this going as long as needed, sometimes a cop in a corner gets tired, so he leaves to rest, have lunch and such, another comes in and takes his place and the "game" goes on...)

    I even threw a brick at a cop once, when I saw him, in some back alley, beating the crap out of another friend of mine with his truncheon. Pretty sure I got the bastard too, right in the head, gave him a nice, bloody gash, and we ran away fro there together. My friend's dad owed this corrupt scumbag money, as it turned out...

    So, point is, by the time I came here, I fucking hated cops. It took my poor sister, who brought me here to live with her and her husband and their kids, months to get through to me, to get me to understand how different things are here, that Canadian police are not corrupt thugs, like back home; among other things. Other good people helped me too, teachers and counselors and some classmates at my wonderful new high school here. I became a whole new person here. Now living a life I could never have lived back in the old country. Very grateful to everyone...

    But still, people in police uniform make me nervous. Probably always will. Other people I've spoken to, who came here from nasty places with bad police understand me very much.

    It is sad, to me, that, apparently, US police is damn nearly as screwed up as Russian...
    Thanks from Madeline

  7. #7
    Veteran Member Madeline's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Man View Post
    I was nervous around police a long time, when moved to Canada...

    I was a bad boy, back in Moscow. Hung out with an equally bad crowd, and we got up to all kinds of nasty shit, criminal shit, drugs, stolen property, lots and lots of assaulting other mostly equally bad folks, even an arson in my case (this dude, a sort of rival of mine, went and killed a stray cat that lived on my street, that he knew I liked very much... so I, in turn, went and tossed a Molotov cocktail into his fucking car one evening, because that the crazy SOB I was back then, as a teenager lol)

    In those peripheral neighborhoods in Moscow where I lived back then, a boy learns very quickly, often from hard experience: the police are NOT your friend

    The police are like all the gangs and organized criminal groups, but bigger and better armed. If they catch you and drag you into their place, its so they can beat a confession out of you, often to something you never actually did; or make you rat a buddy out for something; or just plain old shake you down for a bribe. Most people certainly in less affluent areas of Russia don't like or trust police, with good reasons... I know someone who was tortured so badly by police in jail he ended up in a wheelchair for the rest of his life. Another guy I went to school with, his older brother was beaten to death by cops during interrogation, probably they played the "Fifth Corner" game with him (they bring you into a square room, with four corners, a cop in each corner, and the cops start pushing and hitting you around, punching and kicking you, and your only chance for safety is to find the fifth corner, which there ain't none, and they just keep going, keep beating you, until you break and confess or whatever, or die, I guess; they keep this going as long as needed, sometimes a cop in a corner gets tired, so he leaves to rest, have lunch and such, another comes in and takes his place and the "game" goes on...)

    I even threw a brick at a cop once, when I saw him, in some back alley, beating the crap out of another friend of mine with his truncheon. Pretty sure I got the bastard too, right in the head, gave him a nice, bloody gash, and we ran away fro there together. My friend's dad owed this corrupt scumbag money, as it turned out...

    So, point is, by the time I came here, I fucking hated cops. It took my poor sister, who brought me here to live with her and her husband and their kids, months to get through to me, to get me to understand how different things are here, that Canadian police are not corrupt thugs, like back home; among other things. Other good people helped me too, teachers and counselors and some classmates at my wonderful new high school here. I became a whole new person here. Now living a life I could never have lived back in the old country. Very grateful to everyone...

    But still, people in police uniform make me nervous. Probably always will. Other people I've spoken to, who came here from nasty places with bad police understand me very much.

    It is sad, to me, that, apparently, US police is damn nearly as screwed up as Russian...
    That's what life is like, for poor people here. It's wrong, wrong, wrong.

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