What is a special unit doing to crack down on dirt bike takeovers in Cleveland? I-Team investigates

I-Team

CLEVELAND (WJW) – A FOX 8 I-Team investigation has exposed new questions about what’s being done to stop dirt bikes and ATV’s terrorizing Cleveland streets.

What the I-Team just got back from city hall shows why some in the community have given up hope of a crackdown.

The I-Team has previously reported officers doing nothing when the dirt bikes take over streets and even highways. In effect, patrol officers have orders to simply stand back. Police brass considers it too dangerous for officers in patrol cars to chase dirt bikes.

So, we asked what’s going on with a special unit created to target these riders. We filed a request asking how often that special unit is out and what it does.

Records show the dirt bike unit was out this year just seven times. Last year, it was out 10 times.

The unit went out 21 times in both 2018 and 2019.

The city records also tell wildly different stories about what police are doing with dirt bikes on the streets.

Weeks ago, the city told FOX 8 that police towed away just seven dirt bikes and ATVs in two and a half years.

Now, the city says the special police unit has towed 34 just this year.

So, which is it?

As we looked into this, we immediately thought of Dena Czupih, who recently called 911 while driving. She was terrified, surrounded by dirt bikes and says she was faced with a gun.

“Of course, I stopped when I noticed he had a gun on me, and I’m being held, sitting there and I was scared,” Czupih said.

Even the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor recently called out Cleveland Police for not stopping this.

The city records just released show the special unit has also seized guns, but in August, during a massive dirt bike takeover, that special unit was nowhere to be found.

Police video shows an officer being told not to go after a rider firing shots.

“Are we allowed to pursue?” he asked.

The answer came back on over police radio, “Are they shooting at anyone specifically? If the answer is no, the answer is no.”

Czupih is now fed up. She added more thoughts about the dirt bike riders and lack of enforcement, saying,
“I can’t break these laws that they’re breaking.”

She has a simple way of looking at those stats on the dirt bike enforcement unit.

“I don’t believe none of it,” she said.

We’ve asked Cleveland Police to explain whether they’ve seized just a handful of dirt bikes in two years or dozens this year.

We’ve also requested pictures of the bikes.

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