Community Spoke Doesn't Want Police Help

The bike repair co-op experienced a burglary this week, but they've said police involvement is "at odds with our established points of unity."

The Community Spoke! bike shop experienced a burglary this past week forcing them to close. Though the organization has made efforts to tell the public via their blog and social media channels, they say they do not want police assistance in locating the missing items.

"We feel that the police will interfere with our mission to provide a free and important service to those who decide to use it," says a post on the co-op's website. "To us this is more important than recovering our stolen property or “bringing those responsible to justice.”

Here's more from the post:

"What service can the police provide? Do we actually want the police to target, question, and harass the youth of color of Jamaica Plain on behalf of the Spoke? Would that really help us build a community? Is punishing the people responsible what we want? Is TCS! still a safer space if there is a police presence? Questions like these must be asked when dealing with an event where a crime has been committed. It is, of course, a visceral reaction to call the police, but this could have dire consequences for the folks we serve. We’ve been taught to think that someone who chooses not to deal with the police is guilty of a crime or is hiding something. We need to shed this kind of thinking and understand that communities belong to the people that exist within them. We do not want to fracture the relationships we’ve built through suspicion, aggression, racism, and all the other things the police stand for. The concept of true justice extends far beyond the realm of law."

Representatives of The Community Spoke! emailed Jamaica Plain Patch noting they would like the incident to be referred to as a "burglary" as opposed to a "robbery."

AJ November 16, 2012 at 02:25 PM
What a beautiful example of local self-government. Justice for the crime committed cannot fail to come as a result of this adherence to the principles of a strong, healthy community. Cheers to your moral courage TCS!.
Whit November 16, 2012 at 05:26 PM
Where did I put that barf bag?
Phoenix Boulay November 16, 2012 at 06:07 PM
There is a lively discussion of this on Boston Biker: http://bostonbiker.org/2012/11/14/community-spoke-has-almost-everything-stolen/
Ajax November 16, 2012 at 09:57 PM
Racist! They do not want the police to harass the youth of color of Jamaica Plain on behalf of the Spoke? What if they were white youth? Then would it be ok? Who cares about skin color? Crime is crime. It ought to be punished. By not getting the police involved they send a message to the local youth that crime will be tolerated. And the criminals are loose to steal even more. I don't want these thieves running around stealing my bike. TCS is really letting us down by not pursuing this. I no longer feel sorry for them.
Jake Bison November 16, 2012 at 11:01 PM
Hey Ajax, 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.
Eric November 16, 2012 at 11:17 PM
I would like to attend this 5 hour GA, please to discuss how to create an efficient answer to the "extremely inefficient injustice system" by "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[...]outside the logic of the racist and extremely inefficient injustice system."
Jake Bison November 16, 2012 at 11:36 PM
How interesting! I'd like to attend basking in my white privilege and not taking things seriously because the entire world is structured violently around my guaranteed comfort please.
Jake Bison November 16, 2012 at 11:38 PM
Also I intend to call the police immediately at everyone else's expense if I cannot attend this!
adam brew November 17, 2012 at 12:00 AM
When, pray tell, have you ever seen or heard of a stolen bicycle being returned by the BPD? I for one have recovered more stolen bikes personally than i have heard of instances where the police do their job. I believe your hatred towards anything even remotely considered liberal drives you to comment negatively on matters such as these, as i have noticed with your comments on other articles posted to this site. Your no culture warrior, Ajax. And no-one here or anywhere else is reading your comments as thoughtful responses worth consideration. -Adam
Stephanie Pershinga November 17, 2012 at 12:27 AM
LOL your Occupy rhetoric will not save you here, Eric.
Twisty November 17, 2012 at 12:37 AM
Sorry bro, you're missing the point. The key here is that the racist BPD will more than likely target youth of color--regardless of who actually did it. Saying "who cares about skin color" within the context of a society that doles out privileges and protections on such a basis is both pointless and ignorant. YOU are the one being racist.
Ajax November 17, 2012 at 01:01 AM
I never realized that investigated crime was racist. One more thing to add to the long list of once innocent activities that is now racist. I guess I am racist for not realizing that investigating/prosecuting crime is racist. Anyways, maybe if I can now dissolve my local neighborhood watch program (racist, I guess because it targets youth of color as I am told) I can cleanse myself of my sin.
Ajax November 17, 2012 at 01:09 AM
I disagree. I think the BPD will take your complaints more seriously by the nature of how awful the crime was. When I first read the story of the crime, I was shocked that someone would stoop so low to rob a place like this. It made me very upset that thieves without any morals were living in our community. So the BPD cares more about the spoke because the owners are white? Thats awfully high and mighty of you. You guys are all so out to lunch with this white supremacist thing. For crying out loud we have a two-term black president!
Stephanie Pershinga November 17, 2012 at 01:14 AM
Hi Ajax. Nobody owns TCS! It's a collective. It belongs to the community. Hence the point. Okay, maybe it's "high and mighty" of us to look at history and make deductions based on the documented policies and behaviors of BPS officers, which have historically reaped bias towards white folks in gentrifying communities. That seems reasonable. Duh. I seriously love that though, telling us that us noticing racism and giving it visibility essentially makes us racist. Classic. Let's not talk about it and it doesn't exist.
Jake Bison November 17, 2012 at 06:07 AM
Ajax, you are right. We have a Black president, so it must not matter that 1. There are more Black people in prison right now than we enslaved in 1850 (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/12/michelle-alexander-more-black-men-in-prison-slaves-1850_n_1007368.html). 2. In 2011, NY Police stopped and frisked Black men without reason more times than there are Black men in NYC, or that some were caught on top calling the people they were frisking "mutts" and "animals" and threatening to plant evidence on them (http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012/05/10/481589/nypd-stop-and-frisk-young-black-men/). 3. In the US Police killed a Black person EVERY FORTY HOURS (http://www.blackyouthproject.com/2012/07/every-40-hours-a-black-person-is-killed-by-the-police/). 4. The Boston Police Union published an explicitly racist newsletter for years until exposed (http://truth-out.org/news/item/10829). Taking this and so much else into consideration (this list could go on for hours), I have to admit, you are right, we are out to lunch.
Ajax November 17, 2012 at 01:48 PM
I fully intend to mock the liberal who cried racism. I had a black friend in college who got a C on a biochemistry test. You know what his explanation was for why he did so poorly? Because the professor was racist. I'm so sick of people telling me how racist everything is. Now I can't even have the police investigate crime and go after criminals in my community because its racist. And according to Stephanie, being colorblind is making me racist. huh? Whats next? I can't go to the dentist to get my teeth whitened? Sorry Steph, but wanting criminals that make my neighborhood unsafe off the streets does not make me racist.
Stephanie Pershinga November 17, 2012 at 05:55 PM
You had me at, "I had a black friend...". What an original intro! You're right - clearly you're not racist. White dude claims racism doesn't pervade the lives of people of color... where have I heard this before?
Pat Roberts November 17, 2012 at 09:32 PM
Stealing is stealing. The skin color of the person stealing doesn't matter; what they do matters. If a person of color steals from another person of color, is that okay because the stealing person is not white? The primary victims in low-income communities of color are the other people (of color) who live there--do you know that? No normal person wants there to be crime in their neighborhood, and that includes people of all colors and all races. That's why our JP crime watches have been so successful--all neighbors watch out to thwart the bad guys, not just the white neighbors. This group that won't work with the police makes it less safe for all persons in their neighborhood, because their actions will embolden the criminals. If they live in a neighborhood of mixed races, then their refusal endangers their neighbors of color. Pretty mixed up priorities, or a lack of understanding of how people in the real world live.
Stephanie Pershinga November 17, 2012 at 09:39 PM
Bob from JP November 18, 2012 at 03:48 AM
Hey Jake you should go live in Venezuela where your socialist ideals are in full swing. I hear it's really nice there this time of year and as a bonus we won't have to read your nonsensical verbal diarrhea that you spew here. The U.S. isn't going to turn into a socialist collective anytime soon because there aren't enough idiots out there to think that it would be a good idea. Deal with it.
Stephanie Pershinga November 18, 2012 at 04:36 AM
Bob, you're a little late for the red scare.
Maura November 18, 2012 at 01:35 PM
How about we not have F bombs dropped all over the place and that folks stop calling each other names? A little common courtesy would be nice.
Bret Silverberg November 18, 2012 at 03:00 PM
Comments involving swears or personal attacks will be deleted. Opinions are fine, but please keep it clean.
Maura November 19, 2012 at 12:39 AM
Bret I would consider the comment above by Stephanie Pershinga "OMG PAT ROBERTS IS ON THE THREAD LOL" to be a personal attack. Has Pat no right to be here? (I don't know wither of these folks.) What are your thoughts on that? Thanks. Maura
Brian L November 20, 2012 at 01:27 PM
The police are always misguided and useless until you NEED THEM.
Heavy D Up In The Limousine November 23, 2012 at 04:05 AM
Does this guy not realize that JP was one of the most violent areas in all of New England just 20-30 years ago? And that it was largely the actions of the BPD that allowed this whole neighborhood to thrive (and yes, gentrify) in the way it has? And that the police broke up an enormous drug ring operating out of JP recently, and that JP gangs have been feuding and tearing apart the Jackson/Hyde neighborhoods for years? That three people were murdered in Same Old Place a year ago? And this guy thinks the police are the bad guys, and that oiling bike chains for free is the answer to society's woes? Dude...the police risk their lives every day keeping law abiding citizens of all races in this city safe and sound. And believe it or not, most people of color actually appreciate it when criminals are arrested and prevented from ruining their neighborhoods. I work with minority families every day, and what they actually hate (seems crazy, but it's true!) is when police do nothing and allow crime to flourish and ruin their neighborhoods. Idiot.
Bob from JP November 23, 2012 at 08:13 PM
Best post on here that I've read in a very long time. Amazing what a little common sense can do..... +1


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