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ATV Gangs Back To Terrorizing DC Streets After Police Crackdown

(WJLA/Screenshot)

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Steve Birr Vice Reporter
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A mob of ATVs and dirt bikes illegally rampaged through roadways in Southeast Washington, D.C., after a brief lull in activity following a massive police crack down.

A gang of 50 to 60 riders of various ATVs and dirt bikes tore through Martin Luther King and Malcolm X Avenues in southwest D.C. in a flagrant demonstration that the riders do not care about the laws barring them from public roadways. Recently, an ATV travelling at a high speed veered into oncoming traffic and suffered a head-on collision with a car, killing the ATV passenger and sending the driver to a shock trauma center, reports WJLA.

Despite the danger posed by ATVs to drivers and pedestrians, the riders say they do not care about the impact of their actions. (RELATED: DC Proposes Banning Gasoline Sales To ATV Riders After String Of Incidents)

“They can’t catch us, sorry, they can’t,” Kameron Thomas, one of the ATV riders, told WJLA. “We’re keeping it rough.”

The group met up at a local gas station before taking to the streets to speed and perform various stunts on their off-road vehicles. They blocked regular car traffic and frustrated local residents who are at their limit with the ongoing problem. Some local community leaders have been quick to blame the police over the seeming lack of action. Police policy prevents officers from pursuing the vehicles because of the safety risks to pedestrians and officers, reports FOX5.

“This is a clear violation of the law and we are actively working to identify each of the riders,” Dustin Sternbeck, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), wrote in a statement Monday. “Thus far in 2016, MPD has made 39 arrests for operating an all-terrain vehicle on a public roadway. We have a total of 42 warrants pending. We will continue to identify these riders, seek warrants for their arrest, and seize these illegal vehicles when it is safe to do so.”

The MPD launched an effort to stop illegal ATV riders in April, releasing photos of various vehicles involved in crimes and persons of interests. Authorities asked residents for any information on the riders, and have arrested over 100 people and seized roughly 400 vehicles since they began a targeted operation a year ago.

“We will pursue relentlessly these illegal ATVs and dirt bikes and move forward with their destruction,” Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier said in April. “We have tourists and children and residents that are being impacted by this and that’s just unacceptable. We are not going to put people’s lives at stake.”

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