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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Authorities arrested dozens and confiscated bikes during a ride the group says was meant to protest gun violence in South Florida.
Throughout the area, there were at least 30 arrests, 10 citations and 74 vehicles impounded.
While some of those participating in the ride were faced with the law, others blatantly ignored it while authorities trailed behind them. It’s something that has caused some frustration among drivers and law enforcement.
Deputy Director of the Miami-Dade Police Department Juan Perez said he was disgusted.
“Honestly, I’m ashamed as a citizen of Miami-Dade county. Forget about my job and profession. I’m ashamed that Miami-Dade and Broward and South Florida in general, we have to be discussing this again,” said Perez.
“The guys are the biggest idiots in the world. This has nothing to do with Martin Luther King Jr. This is just breaking the law. Guns down bikes up-what does it have to do with anything,” said local Jorge Crespo.
“If MLK was alive and that represented him. Would he say, ‘awesome, great guys, way to show how much you love me.’ That’s not the point at all. That’s ignorant,” said Garrett Stephens who is against the ride.
“It’s crazy they can put extra officers on the payroll for dirt bikes but they can’t put them in a bad neighborhood,” said local James Stuart. “The dirt bikes not doing anything to the community. It’s the guns.”
On Tuesday morning,bikers bailed their rides out of the tow yard-picking up dirt bikes and ATVs hauled off by police in what is now considered a dangerous MLK Day tradition.
Others were placed behind bars.
Authorities arrested Kamari Gardner, 18, after they say he was riding in the “Bikes Up, Guns Down” rally using a stolen motorcycle.
According to his arrest report, the group was riding around the city of Hollywood – some running red lights, popping wheelies and others driving in the opposite direction of traffic prompting police to follow them onto I-95.
During that time, officers said Gardner pulled over, away from the group and onto the side shoulder. That’s when officers made contact with him and checked the VIN number of the bike revealing it had been reported stolen from Miami Gardens back in 2014.
Gardner was arrested on charges of grand theft, operating a vehicle without a valid license, failure to register a motor vehicle and failure to have an endorsement on his driver’s license.
The riders made their way through parts of Broward and Miami-Dade for the ride dubbed #BikesUpGunsDown and #MLKRideOut. Authorities in each area followed suit.
They said they were not stopping those committing traffic violations since it was not a felony. They said if they tried to stop them and the riders gave chase, it would make situation worse.
While they didn’t chase them, many riders were ticketed and towed when they stopped for gas.
“Two officers jumped out of vehicle with their guns out. They hit the lights and jumped on the car with their guns out,” said Stuart.
Despite the $200 tow bill, some of the riders -many from out of town – said they’ll be back to pop wheelies again next year.
“We’ll be back. Catch y’all next year, same time, same place,” said one rider.
But police said they’ll be ready. They are not giving details of the operation, but told CBS4’s Ted Scouten they already have a plan for next year.
“We will partner up with our local law enforcement for next year’s activities. We just finished a meeting right now, a frank discussion,” said Perez.