In Perth Amboy, New Jersey, officers have come under criticism after seizing a group of teenagers’ bikes and arresting one of them for an alleged licensing violation. Video of the incident went viral on Twitter on Tuesday (April 20).
“This is Perth Amboy, NJ. Are the police really arresting kids over bike registrations? Does it really require this many officers to address whatever situation this is?” The executive director of the ACLU of Nj, Amol Sinha, posted on Twitter. “Police CANNOT continue to be our response to EVERYTHING.”
The teens are seen riding BMX-style bicycles and popping wheelies in the road in several clips from the full 17-minute video posted on YouTube on Saturday (April 17). In one scene, cops stopping a group of about six bikers, accusing them of blocking incoming traffic. According to the officers, teens need a license tag for their bicycles, required by the city ordinance in Perth Amboy.
One officer tells the group, “You guys are supposed to have licenses and all that kind of stuff.” “Guys, the rules aren’t made by us. When there are 30 or 40 of you in one place, it creates a problem for people driving.”
The cop stated several times that he would not seize the teens’ bikes but would instead issue a verbal warning. However, the video cuts to a department Sergeant ordering the other officers to seize the motorcycles. After he gave it up to his bicycle, the cops handcuffed and detained one Black teenager.
The detained teen can be overheard saying that he is not from Perth Amboy, implying that they were unaware of the city’s licensing rules. These kids were not from Perth-Amboy and had mistakenly crossed state lines, as one Reddit user pointed out. North Jersey’s town and county lines are backed up against each other, and unless you’re familiar with the area, you won’t know when you’ve crossed into a different town or county.
According to the YouTube video, the four bikes were later returned to the teenagers, and the arrested teen was released. It’s unclear whether the teenager was charged with any violations.
The arresting officer can be heard telling the group that they must ride their bikes on the sidewalk in another video. However, NJ points out that riding bikes on sidewalks is prohibited in the area where the teens were. The same cop also claimed that the cops were not required to return the group’s bicycles, which was false. Any seized bike must be returned after “payment of any fine imposed or upon any final adjudication,” as per the municipal ordinance.
Others remarked on the numerous cop cars and officers who did respond to the incident, On social media.
One Twitter user wrote, ” So, if you live in Perth Amboy, NJ, you need a *license* to ride a bike… and have to renew it annually? The lengths cops and cities go to in order to come up with reasons to harass black people (and make money while doing it) is wild.”
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