CLEVELAND (WJW) – Video released to the FOX 8 I-Team has led to new questions about packs of illegal dirt bikes with riders firing a gun at police, interfering with an ambulance and more.
A doctor visiting Cleveland even spoke out to the I-Team about what he witnessed.
All of those incidents involving dirt bikes and ATVs took place this past weekend.
The I-Team took calls from people upset about street takeovers on the east side of Cleveland, the west side of Cleveland and downtown.
Back in May, we saw a big police crackdown, but not this weekend. Security video captured a very long line of dirt bikes and ATVs rolling along Detroit and West Boulevard.
But, again, the I-Team learned of complaints from all over the city.
We found many residents wondering why they didn’t see police stepping up to break up the packs of riders on illegal bikes and ATVs.
One woman called 911 saying she needed officers right away.
“Police and lots of them. You guys, there is a whole bunch of these guys and these dirt bikes,” she said.
Meanwhile, we also spoke to Dr. Richard Misischia from Kentucky.
He said he came to visit Cleveland, and while walking back to his hotel, he found himself faced with an endless line of dirt bike riders doing whatever they wanted barreling through downtown and the Flats.
We asked him to describe his message to the city.
“This is a frightening thing,” he said. “The only word that I could think of, as the night went on, was pure chaos. This was intimidating.”
Police radio recordings also show an officer reporting, “They almost ran EMS off the road. That’s what medic 20 told me.”
At West 65th and Denison, police reported a dirt bike rider fired a gunshot at officers.
Later, one said on the police radio, “That red dirt bike that shot at them. He’s going to be armed with a 9mm. That’s what these casings are that we’re picking up.”
The I-Team also reviewed a dispatch report from a series of calls from citizens to report dirt bikes. But, the report shows, it took 25 minutes to get police to that scene. By then, the dirt bikes were gone.
Another officer also reported a driver had even alerted him to dirt bikes, saying on police radio,
“I was just flagged down by a driver.”
All this, but witnesses saw no police action.
City hall released a statement saying police were delayed getting to dirt bike calls Saturday since patrol cars in that area were tied up on “other priorities.”
The statement also said:
“The Cleveland Division of Police continues to receive and respond to calls for service for illegal street driving and riding. The division continues to develop and implement measures to stop this illegal and extremely dangerous activity. Multiple successful initiatives, including Operation Wheels Down and Operation S.T.O.P. have resulted in arrests, citations, weapons confiscations and towing of vehicles. Officers will continue to deploy enforcement efforts across the city of Cleveland and encourages residents to call in any tips.“
“Ensuring the safety of the citizens of the City of Cleveland is a top priority,” said Police Chief Wayne Drummond. “I strongly encourage everyone to take matters of safety seriously and to contact law enforcement to report crimes or with helpful information. Anonymous information can be provided by contacting Crimestoppers at 216-25-CRIME.”
In fact, the crackdown in May led to dirt bike and ATV riders getting indicted on felony charges.
But, what happened this weekend left so many local residents and even an out-of-town visitor feeling angry and scared.
“I started getting nervous something could’ve happened. Again, I didn’t see any police officers,” Dr. Misischia said.