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DC Looks To Combat ‘Roving Bands Of Illegal Dirtbikers’

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The District of Columbia Council is going after lawless dirt bike and ATV riders in the city with new legislation that would have them put in jail.

At a Wednesday legislative meeting, D.C. Councilman Kenyan McDuffie introduced a bill that will give police the authority to tow any dirt bike parked on public property and put the rider in jail.

“Currently our laws just do not serve as a sufficient deterrent to the use of these machines,” McDuffie said in a statement. “Dirt bikes and ATVs are not appropriate for use on our roads, are dangerous, and have been used completely irresponsibly on sidewalks and in packs to intimidate pedestrians and drivers.”

Just last month, the wife of a D.C. police officer was the victim of a drive-by attack from teenagers illegally riding around on dirt bikes and ATVs.

The woman was standing in her front yard when she said a group of around 12 teens on dirt bikes came racing down her street. When she yelled at the scofflaws to slow down, they turned their bikes around and tried to run the woman over.

The outlaw dirt bikers can be seen in videos all over YouTube doing dangerous stunts and evading police.

In May, a young reporter in D.C. was killed in a drive-by shooting in which the shooter zoomed by on an illegal dirt bike.

The woman, Charnice Milton, was waiting at a bus stop when the intended target of the shooting grabbed her and used her as a human shield.

After shooting Milton, the teenager took off on the dirtbike and was never identified by police. Milton, shot in the chest, later died in the hospital.

D.C. Police Union Treasurer Gregg Pemberton said police in the city are doing all that they can to apprehend the “roving bands of ATVs and dirt bikes,” but the courts are not doing their part to enforce penalties.

“Our officers are doing great work in apprehending illegal ATV and dirt bike riders with the resources they have and within MPD rules for pursuing suspects,” Pemberton said in a statement. “However, when suspects are arrested, the OAG and DC Superior Court Judges have not been enforcing penalties that are strict enough to deter this behavior.”

Between Jan. 1, 2014 and May 31, 2015 D.C. police officers made 147 arrests of illegal dirt bike riders. Of those arrests, over a third had the charges immediately dropped, another third had charges dismissed through a diversion program and of the remaining third, just 33 of the 147 people arrested were found guilty.

“Of the 33 defendants who were found guilty, DC Superior Court Judges doled out 371 days in jail, averaging about 12 days in jail per defendant,” Pemberton said. “The interesting thing was this: All 371 days of jail time issued were also suspended.”

According to Pemberton, a number of the defendants were multiple offenders, and at least five had been arrested more than once for the same offense, though none of them saw increased penalties.

The new legislation introduced by McDuffie looks to change this. For a first offense, the perpetrator can be fined $250 and get 30 days in jail. With a second violation, the individual will lose their license for six months, be fined $500 and could face 90 days in jail. Any further violations will result in a one year license suspension, $1,000 fine and 180 days in jail.

“This bill will go a long way to serve as a warning to those who are thinking about using dirt bikes and ATVs on our streets, and also provide MPD with the ability to tow parked dirt bikes and ATVs,” McDuffie said.

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Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.