Tuesday, September 29, 2015

"Operation Rabbit" Attempts to Crack Down on Cleveland Dirt Bikers

Posted By on Tue, Sep 29, 2015 at 12:22 PM

  • Vanice Alexander / Cleveland Scene
A law enforcement partnership between the Cleveland Division of Police and the Ohio State Highway Patrol is attempting to crack down on the swarms of dirt bikers and ATV riders on Cleveland streets.

Channel 19 joined "Operation Rabbit" last weekend and saw the police action firsthand, though other than witnessing a collision when a dirt bike riding on the wrong side of the street drove into an OHSP cruiser, there wasn't much to report.

CPPA Prez Steve Loomis suggested that officers' hands were tied because of a restrictive pursuit policy (updated after the Russell/Williams debacle of 2012) which forbids them from engaging with riders "in any way shape or form." 

Officers continue to be taunted, Loomis said, because the riders know that they won't be pursued. Loomis called on Mayor Jackson and Safety Director McGrath to "step up" and provide support to police.

Councilman Zack Reed agreed with Loomis for the most part, and though his attention has recently been monopolized by the spate of shootings in his ward, he didn't mince words when he was asked about the Wheelie Kings' activities: 

"They're obnoxious, they're arrogant. They're just no good players rolling up and down our communities," he said.

Cleveland Police spokespeople have not yet responded to Scene's request about the results of Operation Rabbit; how many dirt bikes and ATVs were taken off the street, for example, and whether or not there were any arrests. 

Scene spent some time with the Mt. Pleasant Wheelie Kings this spring. Read our feature story and check out photos here. 

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