Trek Bicycles Declines To Divest From NYPD Despite ‘Abhorrent’ Use of Bikes Against Protesters
The company that sells bicycles to the NYPD has refused activists’ demands that it divest from its relationship with a brutal department — even after NYPD cops were caught on camera last month using bikes to brutalize peaceful protesters.
Trek Bikes admitted in a statement issued to Streetsblog on Tuesday that its bikes were being used by police “in ways that are abhorrent and vastly different from their intended use.” But the statement suggested that now that everyone has seen the evidence of misuse of bikes, society can move forward for positive change — with the company’s product front and center:
For over 25 years, we have seen police on bikes, out of cruisers and offices, building relationships in the neighborhoods they serve. The past two weeks has turned the view of police on bikes from a community asset to a liability. A positive outcome of the recent protests is that we are starting to see real police reform being discussed at local and national levels. We believe bikes can play a positive role by continuing to get officers out of cars and armored trucks and into the community where trust can be built.
The company also announced six reforms it pledged to initiate because “black, African American, and other people of color throughout this country do not have the same opportunities that white people have.” The company says it will:
- Create 1,000 cycling industry jobs for people of color.
- Bring bikes, jobs, and stores to underserved communities.
- Establish a $1-million “Community Investment Fund.”
- Create a more diverse future for competitive cycling.
- Create a more inclusive Trek culture.
- Encourage activism by Trek employees through “paid time off to volunteer for non-profits that build our communities.”
The announcement came after cycling and social justice advocates demanded the company stop selling bikes to the NYPD after multiple instances of New York’s so-called Finest misusing the company’s bikes.
“Join me in reminding [the president of Trek Bikes] that cops are using his bikes as weapons against protesters and he should stop selling bikes to cops,” said Jessie Singer of Transportation Alternatives.
join me in reminding @JBTrek08 that cops are using his bikes as weapons against protesters and he should stop selling bikes to cops
— Jessie Singer (@jessiesingernyc) June 5, 2020
Cops most recently shoved their Trek bicycles into a group of New Yorkers protesting against police brutality, in response to the killing of George Floyd, a black man, by a white Minneapolis police officer on May 25.
“LOOK AT HOW THIS NYPD OFFICER IS USING HIS BIKE TO COMBAT PROTESTERS!!! THIS IS INHUMANE. HE IS USING HIS BIKE AS A WEAPON,” Baby Paw posted to Twitter.
LOOK AT HOW THIS NYPD OFFICER IS USING HIS BIKE TO COMBAT PROTESTERS!!! THIS IS INHUMANE. HE IS USING HIS BIKE AS A WEAPON. THIS FROM TODAY @ UNION SQUARE. pic.twitter.com/xhW2S3oEHH
— BABY PAW (@CMONMYBOY) May 29, 2020
Police have also used their bikes to create a wall through which protesters must not cross, and cops in other cities have similarly used their wheels as weapons against protestors.
— Julianne Cuba (@Julcuba) May 29, 2020
Holy fuck. You guys need to check out this video of the protest in Seattle yesterday. This SPD officer *trips over his own bike*, and then uses it as an excuse to violently attack and arrest a protester 10 feet away from him (who was moving backwards, obeying orders). Appalling. pic.twitter.com/sHU389ieGH
— Spek (@spekulation) December 9, 2019
New York bike advocates doubled down on calls to Trek to divest from the NYPD after Fuji Bikes announced on June 5 that it would stop selling to police departments nationwide because the company has seen its “bicycles used in violent tactics” that it “did not intend to or design them to be used for.”
“Fuji agreed to stop selling bikes to cops. @TrekBikes said nah we’re good with police brutality,” said Singer.
— Jessie Singer (@jessiesingernyc) June 6, 2020
And as of Wednesday, more than 4,900 people have signed onto a petition demanding the bike industry, including Trek, divest entirely from police contracts.
“Although Trek Bikes have been the most visible in police bike brutality, we know that the bike industry on a whole is complicit in this racist system of policing,” the petition reads. “From local shops to bikes, helmets, lights, and lock manufacturers, -Trek, Haro, Bell, Kryptonite, Bosch, USA Cycling, and more – have all played a major part in supporting and upholding violence, oppression and racism in our industry.”
The NYPD declined to comment.