Volunteer bike repair effort shuts down early when most of its equipment is stolen

Community Spoke in Jamaica Plain reports:

Tools, parts, and bikes were stolen. Please keep an eye out for a brown/copper colored ANT cycle truck with a 20″ front wheel and a very large front basket and an older steel turquoise Miyata mountain bike with an Xtracycle conversion kit. These are very recognizable bikes, and we use them to transport our tools and mobile workshop supplies to do free bike repair away from the shop. If you have heard anything about our tools or bikes, please email us at thecommunityspoke@gmail.com or call Alex at (910) 547-4843.



Free tagging: 


But what's the deal with not

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But what's the deal with not calling the police? You know, the people who find stuff that other people steal.


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Good catch. Here's the quote from the above article:

"One thing that we would like to make clear is that we are not involving the police in this matter. Please do not contact the police. If you are questioned about this, please do not provide any information. This is for the benefit of the community, and for the house. Thank you for your cooperation, and please contact us with any questions, comments or concerns. Thank you."

Some community!

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How exactly is not alerting the local authorities to a crime which occurred in the community a benefit to that same community? I expect they'll be handing out "don't snitch" shirts soon? I'm glad this business isn't in my neighborhood!

(Makes one slightly suspicious of an attempted insurance scam...)

In my experience, the BPD is,

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In my experience, the BPD is, at best, indifferent to the needs of cyclists, and they are often openly hostile. I can completely understand not wanting to deal with them.

There is a difference

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There's a difference between not expecting much from them, and actively encouraging non-cooperation with the police. The language here clearly falls into the latter category.

the language here falls into

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the language here falls into the category of, "police are bound to target youth of color, as it has been documented that they do, if we ask for their assistance". Duh.


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Hey, bike repair guys. Grow up. Call the police. And if you don't want the police snooping around your house, then maybe you should reconsider what it is you do in your house that you think would give the police cause to arrest you.

I think the implication is

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I think the implication is that there might be things other than free bike repairs going on in the house.

Aww get over yourselves,

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Aww get over yourselves, whiners. Getting in a snit when people choose NOT to get in a snit and call the cops? They're choosing to take a lowkey approach and keep their free bike repair space open and welcoming. The cops in JP are not welcoming to (and often actively target!) a lot of kids, and especially the kids of color who are the main people who go to the Spoke. Good for them for deciding they'd rather take a temporary hit than bring in police and destroy the work they're trying to do.

Their note on the matter.

You can find their explanation of their non-involvement with the police here: http://thecommunityspoke.org/?p=148 .If you're a fan of hyperbolic statements about social justice, you'll love it.

I am glad that such a service exists in our community, but I strongly disagree with their approach to this. It's rare enough to have stolen bikes recovered with police involvement, and it seems highly unlikely at best that a "call us if you see something" policy will actually produce any effect. Perhaps most frustrating is the fact that with no police report I, as a bike shop employee, have no legal evidence to go on if one of these bikes comes into my shop. Short of saying "I know that's stolen, either leave it here, or beat it," my hands are pretty much tied.

Their entire attitude is disheartening

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They state they don't want to be a divisive engine in the community, but all they are really doing is casting aspersions on the police, as if they have no mode other than violent thuggery, and no place in the community. Here's my response: the police are every bit as much members of your community as your shop, your employees, and the thieves who you so misguidedly think give one single fuck for your community.

Those who cover up theft by not allowing the police to investigate contribute to the perpetuation of crime. Plain and simple. I'm sorry some of you had bad experiences in the past, but painting all police with the brush of violence and corruption, and excluding them from your community is as grave a sin as any other sort of prejudice.

This is a repost of something

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This is a repost of something I posted already in response to another thread:

I think you are missing the point. You are suggesting that justice should be colorblind. OK, great, but its not. We live in a racist culture and have a racist legal system. The BPD have shown themselves to be a racist organization again and again. The recent exposition of explicit racism in the BPD Union newsletter (by the Phoenix earlier this year) is only one small example on a much larger pile of evidence to this point
I speak as a white person and a person who lives at the house that the Spoke is run out of, but as someone not directly involved with the Spoke. We recognize that the police will take our complaints more seriously because we are white, and that they may very well use it as an opportunity to harass and detain youth of color, who are painted as inherently criminal by our white supremacist culture. We are not interested in this.
I also speak as a prison abolitionist, knowing that others at my house and in the Spoke are too. We are interested in potentially holding community meetings, looking at restorative justice examples that have worked in other places, and talking to our friends and neighbors about how to move forward with this outside the logic of the racist and extremely inefficient criminal injustice system. We know that punishment and imprisonment don’t work and are fundamentally unjust and we want to create alternatives. If you aren’t on board with that, and you want to retract your cherished sympathy, good riddance.


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I like how you think the police would give two flying fucks about your bikes/tools enough to go out and harass the black kids in JP if you would involve them.

The power in involving the police on a case like this is that if they ever find your stuff when they bust the thieves for some other reason, at least you'd get your stuff back.

However, taking the matter into your own hands (no matter what crunchy granola way you think is best to handle it) is actually probably the fastest way for the cops to get involved where you didn't want them.

For people preaching

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For people preaching tolerance of and opposition of stereotypes of others in all aspects of life they seem to have no problem being intolerant of and stereotyping police officers.

We are not afraid. If we

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We are not afraid. If we were, we would not have published a statement and made it public. We are aware that this move may make us more visible as a radical community, but we have agreed on the values upon which our space must function. The police have been to our home to question us. We are simply uninterested in cooperating with them on this matter. We will not be accomplices to threats towards young people in their own neighborhood. We are aware of well-documented racism in Boston law enforcement policy (see, for instance, the heinous police newsletters recently published in the Phoenix). We are aware that, as a network, we have immense privilege relative to many of our neighbors in a gentrifying community.

I am a member of the house which provides a space for the bike shop, though I am not a member of The Community Spoke! itself. We stand together in solidarity against the abuses of our "criminal justice system", which is beyond repair in its targeting of already marginalized populations, like young people of color, to preserve the comfort of those who have never had to experience violence at the hand of law enforcement.

Of course, it doesn't surprise us that folks would find our lack of police involvement suspicious, for the very same reasons that we stand by our decision to abstain.