Department of Justice Findings on Discriminatory Bicycle Stops by TPD
A Department of Justice investigation into the stops and citations to black bicycle riders found there was no evidence to suggest that the racial disparities were based on discriminatory practices by the Tampa Police Department.
During May 2015, Former Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor requested an analysis in response to allegations of racial disparities in stops and ticketing of bicycle riders.
“I commend former Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor for requesting this analysis. It takes courageous leadership to open yourself and your department to intense scrutiny,” said Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services Director Ronald Davis. “I’d also like to thank Chief Eric Ward and the men and women of the Tampa Police Department for their full cooperation and commitment to this process.
The key findings of the federal report indicate:
The data revealed that there were racial disparities in stops and ticketing of bicycle riders by the TPD. In fact, 73 percent of riders stopped between January 1, 2014 and August 30, 2015 were black and 26 percent were white, while the estimated population of bicycle riders during the assessment period was 40 percent black and 49 percent white.
The TPD’s justification for the implementation of this bicycle stop program was not validated by the data. The stops did not reduce crime or result in any measurable impact on public safety in Tampa, nor did the stops result in significant recoveries of stolen bicycles. The bicycle stop program did, however, negatively impact community and police relations.
While there were racial disparities in the data uncovered during the assessment, there was no evidence to suggest that the racial disparities were based on discriminatory practices or racial animus by the TPD.