DORAL, FLA. (WSVN) - The Miami-Dade Police Department is warning those who choose to participate in the “Wheels Up, Guns Down” demonstration may face hefty fines or even jail time.
In a conference held at the MDPD headquarters in Doral on Thursday, department officials urged South Floridians to not take part in the event on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
The unofficial event encourages participants to ride ATVs, dirt bikes and other vehicles that are not street-legal on busy roadways as an anti-gun violence and civil rights movement.
“They can’t stop us,” said one rider. “There’s too many of us.”
“I came down here from Kentucky,” said another rider. “I come to represent.”
The demonstration has occurred in previous years, and police are once again warning against it.
A lot of the riders have caused crashes and made driving conditions dangerous for those on the street.
7News cameras have previously captured riders driving on the freeway and against traffic on one-way roads. Some bikers were even caught kicking a car before driving away.
In 2019, over a dozen were arrested and their bikes were confiscated by authorities.
Authorities are hoping the costly fees of the tickets and jail time will deter riders from participating.
“It could get very expensive,” said MDPD Division Chief Hector Llevat. “You could go anywhere from traffic citations to having the vehicles towed and seized, which is going to cost an additional expense. Depending on the violation, it could even lead to arrest, which is another costly endeavor.”
MDPD officials also want to remind the public that the “Wheels Up, Guns Down” demonstration is an unsanctioned event and is not endorsed by any law enforcement agency in South Florida.
“What we really want to avoid is having to go to some family and tell them that their loved one is either critically injured or dead,” said Llevat.
The Broward Sheriff’s Office hosted a media conference regarding the demonstration later Thursday afternoon.
“No one will hijack this holiday,” said BSO Sheriff Gregory Tony.
Officers are trying to get ahead of the problem. Several officers will be stationed at sites where riders have gathered in the past.
“We will have units in place, deputy sheriffs, police officers and troopers at those locations,” said BSO Maj. Jeff Morse.
Officials said they expect to see an increase in illegal road activity and advise commuters to be vigilant.
“We’re just here trying to ride and have fun,” said one biker. “We ’bout that bike life, and that’s it.”
Officials advise drivers that may find their vehicles completely surrounded by riders to come to a complete stop and allow them to pass before continuing on their journey.
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