D.C.

Motorbike riders file lawsuit against DC police

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WASHINGTON (WJLA) -- Recent YouTube videos show off-road motorbike riders navigating through the District. But while this looks like fun, it’s actually illegal to ride these machines in D.C.

Now, a number of former riders are speaking out about a tactic they allege D.C. police officers are using in order to discourage this type of riding. According to a recently filed $100 million class-action lawsuit against the city, some officers are reportedly chasing down and knocking riders off their bikes with their cruisers.

"They wasn't going that fast, but it was enough to knock me off," said D.C. resident Don Whitaker.

Whitaker said last summer an unmarked cruiser that hit him on his now damaged bike never stopped, leaving him to hobble home bruised and bloody.

"They just taunting us," he said. "They just want to mess with us. I feel unsafe driving out here now. That's why I never got my dirt bike fixed."

Michael Fenwick, another District resident, said: "Okay, pull us over. Give us our ticket. Take the bike. But you're trying to kill us."

Former motorbike rider Erik Butler also said the officer who struck his bike made no attempt, either with lights or sirens, to pull him over.

"They're not really letting us acknowledge them as police officers," he told ABC 7. "They're just doing it. We the police, we can do it. No you can't. You have laws to live by too. It's not right."

Attorney David Shurtz does not condone illegal riding, but said that targeting riders with deadly force for a minor offense is outrageous and indicative of racial profiling:

"No one else is being knocked off bikes except young black males in bad sections of town."

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