Weekly Urban News Update
June 5, 2020
In This Update: 
Official City Statistics in Minneapolis Show Racial Disparity in Use of Force by Police
Protesters in Rio de Janeiro Demonstrate Against Police Violence in Brazil and the United States
Thousands of Parisians Demonstrate Against Racism in France and the United States
Workers Left Stranded After Los Angeles Suspends Metro Service During Protests
Hundreds of Poor Colombians Face Evictions During National Lockdowns
This Week in Photos
In the News And Around the Web
Official City Statistics in Minneapolis Show Racial Disparity in Use of Force By Police
Official city statistics in Minneapolis show that police officers use force against black people at a rate of seven times more than against white people. The racial disparity in use of force tactics underlies the mass demonstration that broke out in Minneapolis and across the United States since the death of George Floyd, a 46-year old black man who died in police custody. Numbers show that though 20% of Minneapolis is black, 60% of police recorded use of force incidents occurred with a person of color. David Bicking, a former member of the Minneapolis civilian police review authority, says that though the city data likely understates the true number of times force is used, it still helps to understand the protests. He notes: "This has been years and years in the making. George Floyd was just the spark."

Read more here.
Protesters in Rio de Janeiro Demonstrate Against Police Violence
Protesters in Rio de Janeiro demonstrated at the governor's palace last weekend, following the death of Joan Pedro Matos Pinto, a 14-year old black youth, who was shot in the back by police inside his aunt's home last Sunday. Recorded incidents of police violence in Brazilian favelas disproportionately affect people of color. In the first part of 2019, 80% of the 885 civilians killed by police were black or brown. Protesters, who plan to march again this coming Sunday, are responding more broadly to a surge in incidents since the start of quarantine. In April alone, police killed 177 people in Rio, a 43% increase from April 2019. Since the middle of March, police operations in the favelas also increased by 27.9% and the number of civilians killed in operations increased 57.9%. 

Read more here.
Thousands of Parisians Demonstrate Against Racism in France and the United States
On Tuesday, thousands gathered in Paris to protest racism in France and the United States following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Protesters paid homage to Floyd and to Adama Traore, a French black man of Malian origin who died in police custody in 2016. Conflicting medical reports since then have led to a prolonged investigation over Traore's death. The lawyer for the police officers involved in the Traore arrests said that deaths of Floyd and Traore have "nothing to do with each other." But, critics say police violence in working-class suburbs with large minority populations is a major problem that has only worsened during the pandemic. Protester Xavier Dintimille says: "This happened in the United States, but it happens in France, it happens everywhere."

Read more here.
Workers Left Stranded After Los Angeles Suspended Metro Service During Protests
Large numbers of essential workers in Los Angeles were left stranded last weekend when the city suspended bus and metro service during demonstrations against police violence, then used metro buses to detain protesters.  Metro says they closed service to protect transit employees, but Brian Bown, a member of Metro's citizens advisory council says: "You can't tell me you're cutting service to protect your drivers, and then turn around and put the drivers in the middle of all of it by transporting protesters." City Councilman Mike Bonin also noted: "It's not lost on me that a lot of essential workers who got stranded were black and Latino." On Sunday morning, Metro apologized to riders who were stranded and offered a refund to anyone who used Uber, Lyft, or a taxi to get home after the shutdown.

Read more here.
Hundreds of Poor Colombians Face Eviction During National Lockdown
Colombian police have attempted to evict hundreds of poor Colombians from their homes in Ciudad Bolivar, a shantytown of Bogota, during the national lockdown to prevent transmission of COVID-19. Authorities say that residents illegally built their homes on already titled land, but critics protest that the evictions come at a time in which the virus and pandemics make it difficult for many to make ends meet. Poor infrastructure and distance from city services have rendered residents especially vulnerable to both the virus and economic effects of a lockdown. Community leader Tatiana Hernandez explains: "Lifting the quarantine means death and disease, we know that, and we don't want that. But we need a quarantine with dignity with food and a roof over our heads."

Read more here.
This Week in Photos
  • Mass Demonstrations Protest Racism and Police Violence: Protests have taken place around the country over the past 10 nights.
  • Lockdown in Dhaka Where Social Distancing is an Illusion:  Photographer Noor Alam has documented life in neighborhoods of the Bangladeshi capital where people cannot afford to stay at home.
  • The Helpful Guide to Nowhere:  Italian artist Giacomo Costa's body of work depicts eerie, futuristic cities.
In The News and Around the Web
  • As Its Coronavirus Cases Increase, India Proceeds with Reopening: India announced plans to further ease its national lockdown despite a record number of cases in the country and rising numbers in major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, and Ahmadabad. 
  • Hundreds Left Stranded in Kampala After Public Transportation Reopened:  On the first day public transportation reopened since lockdown, a shortage of buses and mini-bus vans and government regulations left workers stranded.
  • Five Die in Latest Ebola Outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo:  The DRC is now also facing COVID-19 and the world's largest measles outbreak. The country has reported approximately 4,000 cases of coronavirus so far and 370,000 measles cases since 2019.
  • Protests and Undervaluing Black Assets in Cities:  Undervalued black assets may explain the willingness of some protesters to light fires to buildings and businesses.

Protesters in New York City on Thursday.
 (Chang W. Lee/The New York Times)
 (Getty Images)
Pictured on the left: protests outside the governor's house in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. 
On the right: protests outside the Tribunal de Paris in Paris, France.
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