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Black People Are 2.5 Times More Likely To Be Arrested Than Others In Tampa

A few weeks back we brought you a story which highlighted the way police in Tampa, Florida use bicycle tickets to harass, search, and arrest African-Americans. Now, it appears that this issue only scratches the surface of unfair police practices in the city…


As the Department of Justice prepares to review the Tampa Police Department’s bicycle and vehicle enforcement program, new numbers obtained by 10 Investigates indicate the agency’s aggressive policies are putting more black men and women behind bars than any other racial group.

Even though African-Americans make up just 26% of Tampa’s population according to recent Census estimates, 54% of all TPD arrests in 2013 were of black men and women. The rate was unmatched by any other medium or large law enforcement agency in Greater Tampa Bay.

TPD credits its zero-tolerance approach for a drastic drop in crime rates over the past decade. The agency reports crimes per 100,000 residents has dropped from 11,150 in 2002 to 3,108 in 2013.

“If you commit a crime (in Tampa), no matter what your color is, you’re likely going to jail,” said Tampa Police Captain Ronald McMullen. “Arrests are high, but the crime rate’s low. So this is an extremely safe place to live.”

Despite the agency’s moderate size, TPD made more arrests in 2013 than any other Florida law enforcement agency. Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office is twice as big, but made 29% fewer arrests.

For every 1,000 white residents in 2013, Tampa police made 85 arrests. For every 1,000 black residents that year, TPD made 241 arrests, nearly 2.5 times the rate of Tampa Bay’s next-highest agency, St. Petersburg PD.

Florida. SMH.

Image via Shutterstock



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