Editorial: We Must Decriminalize Jaywalking

Publication: Sacramento Bee

In April 2017, Nandi Cain Jr., who is Black, was beaten by a Sacramento police officer. Following a verbal altercation, Officer Anthony Figueroa threw Cain to the ground and punched him repeatedly.

Cain’s alleged offense? Jaywalking. 

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Jaywalking laws provide yet another avenue for the racial biases of law enforcement to cause harm. A law proposed by San Francisco Assemblyman Phil Ting would finally decriminalize jaywalking and give people the freedom to walk safely in their neighborhoods.

“This is common behavior that has been criminalized,” Ting said. “What may seem like a very simple situation — a traffic stop or people just crossing the street — can sometimes (yield) dire consequences.”