Civil Rights

DOJ to review city's ticketing of black bicyclists

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A Florida city’s bicycle-ticketing practices will be reviewed by the U.S. Department of Justice, following a newspaper investigation that found nearly 79 percent of those ticketed are black.

Mayor Bob Buckhorn said in a Wednesday statement that the DOJ’s review of Tampa bicycle tickets is at the request of Tampa’s police chief, reports the Tampa Bay Times.

“Their expertise and objectivity will bring clarity to us and to the community and may help evolve our current strategies,” the mayor said.

The newspaper recently published a lengthy article about the city’s ticketing of bicyclists, which reported that the majority of those ticketed are black. It also stated that Tampa issues more tickets to bicyclists than Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando and St. Petersburg combined. Many of those ticketed are both black and low-income; some individuals have gotten multiple tickets in a single day.

The city has for years stopped bicyclists for relatively minor infractions, in an effort to gather information that could discover or prevent more serious crimes.

Related coverage:

Tampa Bay Times: “Are Tampa police violating civil rights law with bicycle stops?”

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