Miami Beach vigilante biker gets driver charged with felony assault

Ken Bereski is the Howard Beale of Miami cyclists. The slim IT consultant was mad as hell about nearly getting killed time and again, so he decided to take revenge by strapping digital cameras to his red Raleigh.

In April, he got results: Prosecutors used film from Bereski's bike cams to charge a driver with felony assault for allegedly trying to run him off the road. Unfortunately for Bereski — and Magic City cyclists — a Miami-Dade Circuit Court judge decided the film wasn't enough and tossed the case Monday. "This is a negative blow to road safety in Miami," Bereski laments. "The message from this judge is that people can run over cyclists and no one gives a shit."

Bereski's Zapruder moment came in early April when he was cycling south on Alton Road. Video shot from just above his back tire shows a black SUV cruise inches away from his bike before squealing around and honking.

At the next stoplight, Bereski asks the driver to be more careful. The man leaps from his SUV. Bereski says the motorist berated him in Spanish and balled up his fists before getting back in his gas-guzzler.

A little over a minute into the video, the SUV again passes Bereski. This time, the cyclist says, the driver swerved into him and nearly sent him flying. "There's no doubt in my mind this was an intentional act of assault," Bereski says.

At the next light, the cyclist flagged down a cop. At first, the officer told Bereski there wasn't much he could do — until the cameras were mentioned. "I actually saw his eyes light up," he says.

After running the SUV's tag, police found that the driver, 41-year-old Ernesto Alvarez Perez, was out on bond on a felony check-forgery charge. They arrested him and charged him with aggravated assault.

But Judge Jorge Cueto told prosecutors the tape doesn't show an assault. "[Cueto] said the incident was my fault for not riding far enough to the right," Bereski says. "Essentially, he's telling me to ride in the parking lane... which is illegal."

On Monday, prosecutors dropped the charge. (The check-forging charges were dropped last month.) The driver's attorney didn't return a call to comment about the case.

Bereski says he's disappointed, but he won't stop filming while he bikes. "I told prosecutors that I didn't want to send anyone to jail," he says. "I just want to make the roads safer."

 
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8 comments
Grog
Grog

Bikes need to stay off the road. There are bike trails which you can ride on. Roads are for cars and you do not have the right a way.

Indc
Indc

This just helps to reinforce the notion of Florida as a useless, backwards, third-world appendage of The United States.

azlefty
azlefty

Folks it's Florida, do like I used to do in AZ. When riding have conspicuously strapped onto your left hip a handgun. It was amazing they would get closer and closer , see the holstered gun and amazingly turn into safe and courteous drivers, never had to present it.

Bikelawyer
Bikelawyer

Who writes these headlines... "Vigilante biker" makes it sound like the cyclist whacked the car driver after the cops refused to act... rather, the cyclist generated proof of the crime, handed it over to police, and got his chops busted by the judge....

Claude Cantin
Claude Cantin

Maybe we should show him the story of the Ohio Supreme Court Judge that was Killed recently By a car that ran over him on his bike without Stopping

-C
-C

Why not sue the driver for tortious assault and seek punitive damages?

Ts_1307
Ts_1307

Amazing. So glad this is out there. I am proud of this story. I have so much to say about this issue

Mark Brewster
Mark Brewster

OK, so this 'judge' believes that if you are not conducting yourself in a 100% legal manner IN HIS EYES, you get what you deserve when someone assaults you? Well, well, well, glad I don't live THERE.......

Now everybody knows why we live in a nation that feels the need to build more PRISONS -- we the people, through our surrogates in authority, are PROMOTING CRIMINALITY!

 
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