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Chicago Police Still Targeting Black Cyclists

A year after a report showed a giant discrepancy in enforcement of bike regulation between white and black riders, data the Chicago Police Department continues to target black bikers.
March 4, 2018, 5am PST | Casey Brazeal | @northandclark
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A year ago, Mary Wisniewski, reporting in the Chicago Tribune, exposed big inequities in how black and white cyclists are treated. "She found that in 2017 roughly 56 percent of the bike citations were written in majority-African-American neighborhoods, with only about 24 percent written in Latino communities, and a mere 18 percent issued in majority-white neighborhoods," John Greenfield writes for Streetsblog.

A year later the numbers show the CPD hasn't done anything to curb this inequity. "Oboi Reed, the former head of the bike equity group, Slow Roll Chicago, who currently leads the mobility justice organization Equiticity, is briefly quoted in the Tribune piece, stating that he believes the bike ticketing provides an excuse for stop-and-frisk policing." Reed sees the ticketing practice persisting, because that's how some in the CPD want it to be. "Solving the problem of unfair bike ticketing practices seems like a relatively simple matter – commanders should be able to order their officers to ease up on ticketing in parts of town that are currently getting a disproportionate number of tickets," Greenfield writes.

The city continues to face complaints about bias in its policing, facing protests after the shooting of Laquan McDonald and against a $95 million dollar Police Training Center. With threatened school closures and other looming financial issues, city services are coming under increasing scrutiny, particularly those related to the police. Unequal enforcement means unequal justice. In an environment where the Chicago Police Department has limited resources, the unequal enforcement of bike regulations makes poor use of them.

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Published on Monday, February 12, 2018 in Streetsblog Chicago
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