A video posted to social media shows a D.C. police officer lunging from his bicycle to try to stop a rider on an all-terrain vehicle. Police are asking for the public’s help in identifying the ATV riders.
It is illegal to ride ATVs in most area jurisdictions, and the District has been trying to crack down on riders. Most police jurisdictions encourage officers not to get involved in a high-speed chase of ATV riders out of concern for the safety of officers and the public.
In the video, some riders on ATVs can be heard laughing as they lead police on a slow chase through the city. The incident happened Sunday along the 14th Street corridor in Northwest Washington.
At one point in the video, an officer on a bicycle comes close to an ATV and jumps off as he tries to reach for the rider, but he misses and falls to the ground. A police cruiser following him and the ATV stops. D.C. police said the officer on the bike suffered minor injuries.
Karimah Bilal, a spokeswoman for D.C. police, said in an email that the District’s “no chase policy” on ATVs and dirt bikes “was not violated.”
Bilal said the officer on the bike and officers in a cruiser were “following” the ATV riders, “which is typical of what we do in this type of incident.”
“They were going at a slow rate, and their emergency lights were not activated,” she said. “They were not chasing. They were just following them, standard protocol.”
The video was posted on Reddit, and WUSA 9 was among the first to report on the incident. D.C. police said there had been no arrests.
In a statement, D.C. police said “the illegal activity of the ATV riders consistently places the public in danger and exhibits immature behavior.” Authorities said they have looked at the video and are using it as part of their investigation.
Police said they were asking for the public’s help to identify those involved. They also said they have received “countless tips” and want to “bring these individuals to justice.”
Dirt bikes and ATVs in the District and Baltimore have long drawn concern from residents and police.
In the summer, more than 100 riders drove through the H Street corridor in Northeast Washington and the streets of National Harbor in Prince George’s County. Helicopters followed the group as it rode through traffic and onto sidewalks for roughly half an hour.
A month after that incident, D.C. police held an event where it destroyed more than 60 ATVs and dirt bikes that had been seized or abandoned. They were crushed and taken to a scrap yard.