Monday, February 25, 2008


Don't ask me but in Baltimore I guess they've got a problem with dirt bikes. Police though know what to do...arrest seven year olds.

Baltimore police arrested a 7-year-old boy, handcuffed him, and then hauled him off to the station house where the mother claims they took his mug shot and fingerprints.

The youngster's offense? Sitting on a dirt bike on a public sidewalk.

"They scared me," Gerard Mungo Jr., age 7 (pictured here), told The Baltimore Examiner before breaking down in tears.

"They locked me up on the bench with one hand," he said.

Gerard's family members say the bike wasn't even running at the time, reports CBS station WJZ-TV. "They yanked me off the dirt bike," Gerard said.

With all the crime in the world, one would think that Baltimore cops had more to do then take on the children of the city.

Now a seven year old roaring down the street on a dirt bike I would agree would be a problem, but come on coppers couldn't this "situation" have been handled differently?

Dirt bike riding is illegal in the city and action had to be taken, I guess. But then is sitting on one riding one (Confession: when I was a little boy I used to sit in my family's 52 Chrysler and play like I was driving, but I was never busted for it...of course, I happen to be white unlike Gerard).

I will admit I do wonder exactly why a father bought his son a dirt bike in the first place.

Is there no common sense anymore?

Might not the cops have simply explained to the little fellow the dangers presented by an underage child riding on the road, take him home and talk to his parents?

Well the local NAACP rode in (not on dirt bikes I hope) to the rescue. Branch president Marvin “Doc” Cheatham told a crowd protesting the bust, “This has to be the issue that’ll wake us up. They’re at our children. Four men justified doing what they did. There’s a culture of white supremacy in the police department. It’s plain and simple that we’re saying we’re gonna pull the covers from over it, we’re gonna call it like it is, and if it starts from Hamm on down, you’re gonna have to go.” (I don't know who Hamm is, but he's got to go).

The police were not to be out done by the NAACP, however. After that rally they arrested the boy’s mother for "hindering an arrest." (Confession: I did get arrested for that once myself). Mom described her capture like this, “… the officer said ‘well who’s the mother of the seven-year-old?’ That’s when they pointed me out, and then he went outside and told the other officer, ‘Guess who we got inside: the mother of the seven-year-old little boy that was arrested for riding the dirt bike.’ That’s when he came in and he asked me to have a seat, so when I went to go pull up a chair he grabbed me by the back of my jacket and slammed me down in the chair, and told me that I’m under arrest, [that] I coming with him for hindering,” she said.

Oh, and by the way in case you wondered where Baltimore city dirt bike owners go to ride their contraptions legally - out of the city and into Baltimore County where it's legal.

"The kids in the city don't have nowhere to ride so they come down here," said Baltimore County resident Herb Warwick. "We've called the police on them numerous times but they can't catch them. It's very annoying when you hear these things buzzing up and down the road in the dark."

And you know what? I just discovered all this took place LAST March.

Can't say the OD isn't on top of things.

City wants dirt bikes ‘immobilized’

Baltimore dirt bike owners may be forced to lock up their vehicles, or face seizures by police.

A bill to be introduced at tonight’s City Council meeting would require residents who own dirt bikes and unregistered motorcycles — illegal to operate but not own in the city— to “immobilize” them.

The bill, sponsored by the Dixon administration, would make it illegal not to have either an ignition lock or wheel clamp on dirt bikes to prevent the vehicle from being ridden.

The measure would allow police to seize any of the vehicles not properly secured, Dixon spokesman Sterling Clifford said.

“The bill will require them to be immobile while they are in the city. It gives us another tool for addressing dirt bikes,” he said.

The bill also would prevent owners from repurchasing seized dirt bikes, a restriction sponsors said was necessary to keep drug dealers from buying the bikes back.

“What typically happens when the police seize these bikes [particularly from drug runners] is that the people who forfeited the bikes show up at auction and just buy it right back. This law outlaws that practice,” said Shaun Adamec, spokesman for City Council President Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, who also supports the bill.

Dirt bikes have been a source of controversy in Baltimore, with police and city leaders labeling them as hazards operated by reckless teens.

Last year, 7-year-old Gerard Mungo Jr. was arrested for allegedly sitting on a dirt bike. The arrest embroiled the police department in controversy and raised questions about the legality of sitting on a dirt bike with the ignition off. Gerard was released without being charged.

In the wake of the controversy, City Councilman Jack Young, D-District 12, proposed building a city-owned dirt bike park, a proposal the administration rebuffed.

“I think in order for us to control all this illegal riding, we need to be stricter,” Young said. “I support the idea.”

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