Several arrests have been made leading up to the "wheels up, guns down” MLK ride-out in South Florida Monday, with Miami-Dade police breaking up a group of about 50 ATV and dirt bike riders at a Sunoco gas station Sunday, authorities said.
A large group of riders hit the streets in Miami-Dade Monday afternoon and were quickly confronted by Florida Highway Patrol troopers on the Gratigny Expressway in northwest Miami-Dade. The riders then turned around and drove the wrong way on the expressway before exiting.
On Sunday, officers made at least one arrest at the gas station on Northwest 183rd Street and 22nd Avenue in Miami-Dade, officials said. They also recovered at least one off-road vehicle during the takedown.
In total, Miami-Dade police made five arrests and recovered 20 off-road vehicles on Sunday, as officers heighten security efforts in advance of the ride-out. Since Saturday, officers issued 29 citations and towed more than 35 ATVs and dirt bikes, according to a post on the department's Instagram page.
Another felony arrest was reported in Miami-Dade on Monday, while an NBC 6 reporter saw at least five riders arrested Monday afternoon in Broward.
Law enforcement agencies in Broward, Miami-Dade and across the state are instituting a "no-tolerance" approach in anticipation of the event. Proponents say the event is a rally against gun violence, while community leaders and police departments say it’s a public hazard.
"They’re basically hijacking this name and using it as an excuse to create havoc in the community," one police official said.
Surveillance footage from over the weekend shows a police officer breaking up another group of ATV riders at a Miami Gardens gas station. Video captures the police officer chasing away the riders, while one rider opens the police cruiser’s door. Another man runs toward the vehicle and starts jumping up and down on the back of the car.
Miami-Dade police say the riders are a danger to themselves and commuters around them. Riding an off-road vehicle such as a dirt bike or ATV is illegal on paved roads.
On Instagram, Miami-Dade police warned against driving the illegal vehicles on busy intersections and roadways.
"Do NOT drive unauthorized vehicles on roadways. The reckless use of off-road vehicles is dangerous to drivers/pedestrians!" the department wrote.
Story courtesy of our news partner at NBC Miami.