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Tampa Police Dept. to host community forums this week in wake of Justice Dept. report on bike citation policy

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Following a Justice Department’s report on the Tampa Police Department’s controversial policy on citing bicyclists, the TPD announced that they would hold three community listening sessions  to get there feedback. Those meetings take place this week, with the first meeting scheduled for later this evening. Here’s the schedule:

Tuesday, June 7, 2016
6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Hillsborough Community CollegeDale Mabry Campus, Student Services Auditorium
4001 West Tampa Bay Boulevard, Tampa 33614
Parking in Lot #1

Wednesday, June 8, 2016
6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Springhill Community Center
1000 East Eskimo Avenue, Tampa 33604

Thursday, June 9, 2016
6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Middleton High SchoolAuditorium
4801 North 22nd Street, Tampa 33610

The DOJ released their 82-page report in late April. It said that the agency’s policy of stopping and citing black bicyclists was not discriminatory.

It did, however, state that the TPD’s bicycle enforcement policy did not produce a community benefit in terms of bicycle safety, bicycle theft, or crime generally. And it said that the policy “did burden individual bicyclists, particularly Black bicyclists in high crime areas of Tampa.”

The report was released slightly over a year after the TPD’s disproportionate rates toward citing black bicyclists for infractions was made public in an expose by Tampa Bay Times reporters Alexandra Zayas and Kameel Stanley. That story reported that the TPD had written more bike tickets from 2012-2014 than the police departments of the cities of St. Petersburg, Miami, Jacksonville and Orlando combined, and that eight of 10 were black. That’s despite the fact that blacks made up just 26 percent of the city’s population.

The TPD said that the reason for the high level of citations was threefold: 1) To improve bicycle safety; 2) to reduce bicycle theft, and 3) to prevent crimes in high-crime areas using the stops are part of a proactive police strategy.

Police Chief Eric Ward told the Tampa City Council after the report was issued that he intended to hold such forums, one of a series of recommendations listed at the conclusion of the DOJ’s report.

Those meetings begin on Tuesday night.







Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at

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