CLEVELAND (WJW) — The FOX 8 I-Team uncovered video of hundreds of riders on illegal dirt bikes and ATVs tying up traffic and even firing gunshots.
And, that led us to ask where was the Cleveland police special unit created to crack down on dirt bikes?
The street takeover happened Sunday evening. An incredibly long line of riders cruised from the eastern suburbs to the west side of Cleveland.
Cameras monitored by a west side citizens group captured chaos.
The bikes blew red lights, rolled down both sides of the street, and the riders even flashed guns and fired shots.
One video clip captured more than a dozen shots in just a few seconds.
All of this left drivers terrorized.
On one 911 call, a dispatcher asks, “What city?”
And, before the caller can respond, all you hear is a dirt bike engine revving loudly. The caller then says, “Oh my God! I need the police.”
On Cleveland police radio recordings, a dispatcher calls out, “Blocking traffic, and caller heard five, six shots fired.”
Later, a supervisor says, “Now, we have two calls of shots fired with an additional call of people waving guns in the group.”
Long ago, Cleveland police brass told patrol officers they were not allowed to chase the dirt bikes. The chief said he had safety concerns about officers in cars trying to chase dirt bikes.
So, the officers end up watching the riders break the same traffic laws that get you a ticket.
Cleveland police have a special unit to go after these riders. So, again, we asked, where was that unit?
In a statement, Cleveland Police spokesperson Sgt. Jennifer Ciaccia said, “…there was another safety initiative over the weekend which the traffic unit was assisting on. There were numerous calls for service and responses by police to the dirt bike riders disturbing. We continue to encourage motorists to report illegal riding to law enforcement.”
Police radio recordings show officers wondered about the special unit, too.
One asked, “By any chance, is the (police) chopper up in connection with this?”
A dispatcher answered, “Chopper is not up.”
One driver delayed by the dirt bikes shot some video from his car, and he called on police to do something.
He told the I-Team, “Whatever they can do. One way or another, they’re not trying to curb it. They’re just letting it happen.”
Meantime, the Ohio State Highway Patrol arrested one dirt bike rider.
Cleveland Heights police also made an arrest. Cleveland Heights police video shows the suspect had a stash of marijuana, thousands of dollars, and an ATV.
An officer told the suspect, “You’re not going anywhere.”
The suspect then said, “Drove the U-Haul down. I just bought it. Got the bill of sale in my U-Haul.”
That suspect said he came here from Detroit.
As for the gunfire, law enforcement sources say some of it seemed random, and some of it was meant to intimidate specific drivers.
A FOX 8 photographer slowed down a video clip and, at one point, counted 230 dirt bikes together.
A massive crowd of the riders took over the streets, some fired guns, and almost all of them, then, simply went on their way.