Police made six felony arrests and one misdemeanor arrest on Martin Luther King Jr. day during the annual Bikes Up, Guns Down ride, in which hundreds of dirtbike and ATV riders took to the streets of Pembroke Park, Hollywood, and the Miami metropolitan area, as reported by ABC Local 10 Now News. The intent of the ride is to promote unity and condemn violence, though law enforcement saw the event as an invitation to make multiple arrests for moving traffic violations, such as running red lights, doing wheelies, speeding, reckless driving, tailgating, and going the wrong way down the street. Police made arrests by following at a distance and getting license plate numbers, then making arrests later, as opposed to pursuing the bikes and ATVs at close distance with lights flashing. Police also seized 20 mini bikes, which are not authorized to drive on the road.
Ethical Justifications for Event Do Not Result in Charges Being Dropped
The goal of the ride is to bring people together, advocate for civil rights, and to discourage gun violence. According to one of the riders, “We’re not trying to justify the illegal but this is something that we love and do as one. Some people like cars, some people like music, we like dirt bikes and four-wheelers and we just come together to ride. We know it’s illegal but it’s not going to stop and it’s just going to keep getting bigger,” as reported by Miami CBS. For some, riding and performing highly impressive maneuvers is a point of pride, and provides an outlet for those impoverished by police brutality, gang violence, and generational poverty. While the excuse of advancing civil rights or condemning gun violence is not a legal justification for breaking the law or having your charges dropped, in such mass-participation events such as Wheels/Bikes Up, Guns Down, law enforcement often gets confused about who was violating the law and who was riding or driving lawfully. Sometimes rash decisions are made, and in the confusion innocent riders or drivers are arrested and even tackled to the ground in the process.
Defense Against Serious Traffic Violations
When an individual is arrested for illegal four-wheel or dirt bike riding among a group of others, the following questions must be asked of law enforcement:
- Specifically what laws were violated that resulted in reckless driving?
- What was used to identify the rider/driver?
- What evidence, such as video footage, of the defendant breaking the law exists?
- Could the illegal riding or driving have been performed by another party?
- Did police brutality occur during the arrest? Was such force necessary or even provoked?
A West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Lawyer is Here to Help
We defend clients who are facing charges of reckless driving, careless driving, speeding, DUI, and all other felony and misdemeanor offenses. Whether you were riding solo or in a group, you need the legal assistance of an experienced West Palm Beach criminal defense lawyer immediately. Call the Skier Law Firm today.