Riding dirt bikes and ATVs on the highway is not a great idea, especially if you're popping wheelies on busy Florida roads where drivers weave in and out of traffic and are regularly involved in accidents.
But it's also a bad look when a police officer loudly wishes death upon those bike riders. Yet that's exactly what happened over Memorial Day weekend. In a video clip New Times obtained, a Miami Beach Police officer following a group of dirt bike and ATV riders across the Julia Tuttle Causeway hops onto his intercom and tells them: "I hope you all fucking crash and die."
Someone else can be heard stating, "Come
In response, MBPD spokesperson Ernesto Rodriguez says that an "internal affairs investigation will be launched to investigate what may have been said."
Typically, police are barred from pursuing riders on motorcycles, dirt bikes, or ATVs because a high-speed chase could easily kill them. In this instance, Rodriguez says, the armada of cops riding behind the bikers was not "chasing" them; instead, the department considers the incident a low-speed "escort." Earlier in the footage, officers
"Officers were tasked with escorting the reckless operators out of our city as quickly and safely as possible," Rodriguez says.
The Instagram account Dade County Riderz appears to have posted first-person clips from the same ride yesterday:
The footage doesn't show how any of the so-called escorts began or how the bikers wound up on the Tuttle Causeway. There's increased police presence every year during Urban Beach Week (a response that critics such as the NAACP claim is racially biased), and 2018 was no different: Beach PD said that, as of Monday morning, 111 people had been arrested, including 35 for misdemeanor marijuana charges.
In fact, a motorcyclist died on the Rickenbacker Causeway this past weekend. According to footage WSVN obtained, the riders say they were being chased by an MPD officer before the fatal crash. One other woman was critically injured during the ordeal. WSVN included footage of an MPD cruiser chasing at least one motorcycle over the causeway, but it's unclear who was being pursued.
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Police officers are typically discouraged from chasing suspects unless the circumstances are dire, because high-speed chases can often turn deadly. A 2015 USA Today investigation found that high-speed police pursuits have killed more than 5,000 innocent bystanders since 1979.
In November 2015, undercover Miami officers engaged in a risky high-speed pursuit that caused a gruesome, fatal crash. The 21-year-old driver died, and a 44-year-old bystander was clipped by the fleeing car, dragged underneath the wreckage, and later died after his legs were severed. The bystander's family sued MPD in June 2017. Though one civil
Update: After this story was published, the Miami Police Department stated in a news release that it has no knowledge of any officers chasing the rider who died this past weekend.
"At this time, the Miami Police Department does not have knowledge or information of any Miami Police officer or any other agency in pursuit of the said motorcycle, or any other motorcycle, in the area at the time of the crash," the statement reads. "The Miami Police encourages any person with additional information that might aid in our investigation to contact our Traffic Homicide Unit at 305-605-6525."