On Monday, Dijon Kizzee, a Black man, was riding his bike when he was stopped by two deputies in Los Angeles for violating some still unidentified provision of the vehicle code. While he was moving away from the two officers, at least 18 shots were fired at Dijon and he was killed at the scene. Dijon’s murder is only the latest of uncountably many tragic cases of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) being murdered by the police.
As with driving while Black, walking while Black, riding transit while Black, and just simply existing while Black, the dangers faced when biking while Black is beyond dispute. Black people are several times more likely than whites to be stopped by police while biking and are many times more likely to be killed in an interaction with police. And while much of the nation’s focus has recently been on the lethal manifestations of policing, we must not forget about the countless other ways in which the criminal justice system and prison industrial complex violently destroy the lives of innumerably many people, overwhelmingly BIPOC, every single day.
It has unfortunately been common for individuals and organizations within the active transportation space to call for increased enforcement and policing to make conditions safer for cyclists, pedestrians, and users of public transit. Such a position disregards the safety and voices of members of BIPOC communities, for whom the police are known to significantly decrease safety. It is because of this that The Street Trust firmly believes that increased policing and enforcement are antithetical to our mission of making walking, biking, and public transit safe for everyone. We continue to stand with PAALF, Don’t Shoot Portland, and the many other individuals and organizations who are calling for the immediate and significant defunding of police forces in Portland, throughout the country, and around the world.
What Can I Do?
We recently asked our supporters to join us in calling for TriMet to sever its ties with the many public and private police forces that patrol our public transit services. Trimet subsequently announced that they would reduce its police contracts to eliminate six positions and allocate $1.8 million to community-based public safety approaches. Trimet is now asking the public for feedback on how policing affects riders. We encourage you to take the survey and let them know that police and “security” personnel do not make transit safer for everyone.
Rest in power Dijon Kizzee, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Titi Gulley, Tamir Rice, Tony McDade, Michael Brown, Terence Crutcher, Eric Garner, Oscar Grant, Freddie Gray, Botham Jean, and the countless other BIPOC individuals, known and unknown, who have been murdered and otherwise brutalized by the police and other manifestations of white supremacy in the United States and around the globe.