BikeCo., the North American distributor for Fuji Bicycles, have issued a statement declaring that the sale of Fuji bikes to police forces has been suspended following numerous incidents in which bikes have been weaponised against protestors around the USA.
Protests have erupted in the country and in other cities around the world after George Floyd was killed by police officers in Minneapolis, Minnesota in late May. Derek Chauvin, the officer who knelt on Floyd's neck for over eight minutes, has since been charged with second-degree murder, and tbree other officers who were also kneeling on the 46-year-old, have been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder.
Around the United States, police have met the protests – against police brutality and systemic racism, and for justice for Floyd – with countless incidents of violence against largely unarmed civilian protestors. Coverage of the protests has caught on camera police firing rubber bullets and using tear gas and pepper spray against protestors, and in some cases even driving cars into crowds.
Additionally, there have been numerous incidents of police officers using their bicycles to beat back protestors. BikeCo. have stated that the tactics used by police forces has been "unacceptable" and far from their intended purpose.
"Fuji’s core values have always been rooted in supporting communities and organizations that are making real change at home and abroad," read a statement from the company on Instagram.
"To hear that there are instances where bicycles have been used as a weapon against those who are vulnerable, those speaking out against the unjust treatment of people of color, and those standing alongside them advocating change, has deeply upset our community, our company and the heart of the Fuji brand. We support many diverse organizations and athletes--not for marketing stories, but because we truly want to make a difference in our community. To have these efforts overshadowed by cases of violence with bicycles is unacceptable.
"We have seen instances in the last week where police have used bicycles in violent tactics, which we did not intend or design our bicycles for. We had always viewed the use of our bicycles by police, fire, security and EMS as one of the better forms of community outreach. Community police on bikes can better connect with and understand the neighbourhood, facilitating positive relationships between law enforcement and the citizens they are sworn to serve and protect.
In the statement, BikeCo. went on to say that they are opening a dialogue with police departments over the use of Fuji bikes, with sales to the police halted until real changes are made.
"In an effort to make real change, we are beginning a dialogue with police departments nationwide to address how bikes are used in police activity and to ensure that police’s on-bike training reinforces that bicycles are not a weapon against our community. At this time, we are suspending the sale of Fuji police bikes until a conversation with these departments has occurred and we are confident that real change is being made.
"We also must stand together against the mistreatment and abuse of the Black and Brown community. We will continue to look within our company and our core values to do better because our Fuji family deserves better. We stand with you and look forward to doing our part to do better. – BikeCo,LLC: North American distributor of Fuji Bicycles."
Bicycles manufactured by other companies, including Trek and Volcanic, are visible in videos of police using violence against unarmed protestors. Earlier this week, Trek president John Burke addressed systemic racism and police violence in a blog entitled 'When justice is not enough' though, did not mention police usage of Trek Bikes during the protests.
Where to donate
These funds are set up to help protesters, the families of victims, and black businesses and charities around the United States and internationally. If you're able, consider setting up a recurring donation to one of the organizations below, to help provide sustained support beyond this moment.
Campaign Zero - Launched by Black Lives Matter activists, Campaign Zero is a national organization that works with law-makers at every level to end police brutality and systemic racism through thoroughly researched policy solutions.
Reclaim the Block - Founded in 2015, this group organizes the local Minneapolis community and city council to redirect funding away from the police department and into other initiatives that promote health and safety.
Black Lives Matter resources - The Black Lives Matter website linked here includes a comprehensive list of places to donate: To victims, protesters, black businesses, legal defense funds, and small and large fundraisers supporting black communities and the Black Lives Matter movement.
The Marshall Project - Nonprofit journalism "that seeks to create and sustain a sense of national urgency about the U.S. criminal justice system."
NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund - This is one of America's biggest legal organizations fighting for racial justice. Much of their efforts are focused on litigation, education, and advocacy.
Bail funds - An organized list of places to donate if you wish to contribute to bail funds going to arrested protesters in Minneapolis, Atlanta, New York, and many other cities. ActBlue will allow you to easily split a donation to many funds, but keep in mind the organization takes its own transaction fee.
Coming to terms with the events of this past week isn't easy. The violence and anger is, at times, almost incomprehensible. As we all struggle to cope and understand how we can make a difference, we've found some videos, books, and articles to be helpful. We've sought to include a mix of educational materials that provide context and expand understanding.
7 Virtual Mental Health Resources Supporting Black People Right Now - For readers who need emotional support, writer Jesse Sparks has compiled a list of virtual mental health resources serving the black community. Also see Black Girls Smile's list of resources.
Bad Form Review's reading list - Books on systemic racism in America, the Black Lives Matter movement, social justice, and more, with links to independent bookstores.
For our white friends desiring to be allies - Courtney Ariel's article is a great outline for white people who want to help lift up others without inadvertently making the conversation about them.
Anti-Racism Resources for White People - An exhaustive list of anti-racism media including movies to watch, essays to read, and people to follow to further educate yourself.
The Case for Reparations - A deeply reported article by Ta-Nehisi Coates that uses personal stories to explain the damage caused by centuries of racist government policy.
What does the demand to "defund police" mean? What about "prison abolition?"
You probably won't hear mainstream politicians discussing these ideas, but you may see them on protest signs. If these demands are new to you, abolitionist @jaybeware briefly explains them in a Twitter thread which provides links to books and essays that expand on the topics. Also see the book 'Are Prisons Obsolete?' by Angela Davis.
If you plan to join a physical protest, here are some useful links to make sure you have everything you need to stay safe.
What to bring to a peaceful protest - Vice's guide on what to take with you to a protest.
Protect your protest - An in-depth plan for keeping yourself and others safe during a protest.
How to Cop-Proof Your Phone Before Heading to a Protest - Gizmodo's how-to on protecting your phone data.
ACLU Know your rights - Everything you need to know about your rights as a protestor and what to do if you're detained by the police.
WATCH: I was recording when the first clash between police & protestors broke out in Atlanta. @cbs46 #cbs46 #news #GeorgeFloydprotest pic.twitter.com/hrDBk1PlryMay 29, 2020
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/xhW2S3oEHHMay 29, 2020
A biker gang brutally beat these protesters in Philly today. pic.twitter.com/r1TzXrOpNWJune 5, 2020