Eighty-five percent of people who are ticketed for jaywalking in the city are men, and 65 percent are Black. Activists say that’s reason enough to take those penalties off the books.
JACOB KITTISTAD: Well, we’re going to look both ways on the side of the street here. Not seeing any cars going now. We’re going to cross the street. We are now jaywalking.
You can get a ticket for this, so why do some people want to stop those tickets? Well, those same people say that there’s an enforcement disparity. According to PD’s numbers, 85% of the people who receive those tickets are men. And here’s the racial breakdown, 65% of ticket getters? Those people are Black.
This is where people need, should and must cross the street in theory. So right now, is this considered jaywalking?
MICHAEL KELLEY: Probably would be, since we’re not walking in a crosswalk.
JACOB KITTISTAD: Even if we’re not holding up vehicles. Michael Kelley with the group Bike Walk KC is behind the push to reverse the rule, which he views as an entryway to overpolicing, searches and seizures.
MICHAEL KELLEY: The jaywalking tickets have disproportionately been given to Black residents on our streets. Even if you’re doing everything right, you still have to keep an eye out because there’s that potential that you– you might get pulled over for something trivial like jaywalking. There are so many parts of our community where people would be in violation of the law, even if they wanted to be following it.
JACOB KITTISTAD: Another nonprofit looking at infrastructure partnered on the proposal. Andrea Clark with KC Healthy Kids gave testimony on the illusion of safety. Where you live, do you have sidewalks where you’re at? Or I mean, have you been thinking a lot about–
ANDREA CLARK: We do. A couple of blocks away for me is affordable senior housing and so you’ll see folks with walkers, wheelchairs on the street, because the sidewalks are too bumpy. The idea that this improves pedestrian safety in some way, it just doesn’t make sense when you look at the data of where pedestrians are really in danger versus the areas where these policies are being implemented.
JACOB KITTISTAD: Do you feel like most people even realize that they may have been breaking the law or breaking this ordinance daily?
MICHAEL KELLEY: No. No and I think that that also speaks to why it’s– it’s sort of outgrown its use.