MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The fourth annual “Wheels Up, Guns Down” riding event resulted in three dozen arrests in Miami-Dade and Broward along with the confiscation of more than 100 dirt bikes, motorcycles, and ATVs.
Chopper4 was over a police impound at Downtown Towing Tuesday morning. They estimate some 60 confiscated bikes and 4 wheelers were there.
Elyja Rivera was fuming while wearing a ‘cops versus bikes’ sweatshirt. He was turned away from getting his bike back – on hold until police complete their investigation
“They trapped us in with tasers drawn,” said Rivera.
It is illegal to drive ATVs and dirt bikes on paved streets. He said their street ‘legal motorcycles were seized.
“We’re not running from them. We’re not doing anything illegal. Ten to 12 cop cars swarmed us, tasers out, one had their gun out,” said Rivera.
The arrests began over the weekend and continued through the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. The ride is meant to send a message of putting an end to gun violence. That message, however, has been overshadowed by the reckless riders, speeding, performing dangerous stunts, and driving on the wrong side of the road with police officers giving chase both on the ground and in the air.
Miami-Dade Police Director Juan Perez said that message has been overshadowed by the reckless riders.
“Their message, the intended message, which they used to have, when they first started, putting guns down, anti-violence, that message is gone. Because what people are seeing is the chaos on the streets and havoc that’s being created,” he said. “We were trying out best to minimize these dangers out of the streets, we were trying our best to prevent these riders from taking over the streets, but obviously we were overwhelmed.
While law enforcement stressed public safety, the riders blamed the cops for creating a dangerous situation.
“The police bringing their little helicopters out and all that extra, you know, that caused drama because people get scared. People panic. People don’t want to go to jail for it, so they go fast,” said one masked rider.
Most of the riders were from out of town, according to law enforcement. Unlike previous years, they stayed off major highways like I-95 and the Turnpike.
Before the event, the Miami-Dade police department said there would be zero tolerance for the reckless, dangerous behavior. Monday night they announced that they had made a total of 17 arrests, had written 26 traffic citations and had confiscated 75 vehicles.
In Broward, the sheriff’s office made 14 arrests, issued 34 citations and seized 12 vehicles. In Hollywood, there were five arrests and 11 vehicle seizures.
One rider from Boston didn’t want his name being used in this report. He spent Tuesday picking up his bike that Hollywood police confiscated along with eight others. Police said the bikes were in a stolen trailer.
When the owner of the trailer was asked if he was here to send a message, he replied that he was here, “Just to ride. Send a message, yeah. I respect everybody’s message. That’s what they’re riding for.”
He never made it onto the street becuase his dirt bike was impounded before the ride. But he tells us he does the same stunts we see on the road. When asked about the safety concerns, he said drivers really needed to take care.
“People see a pack of 1000 bikes coming down the road, they should probably hit the brakes. What are you going to do, people are going to ride. People are going to come back next year, do the same s**t. It is what it is,” he said.