Sunday Afternoon's Incident In Hunts Point Section Of Bronx Is Just The Latest Example Of An Apparent Disrespect For Police Officers

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The NYPD has made an arrest in an incident that some say disrespected the badge.

New video shows a group on dirt bikes riding circles around an officer at a Bronx gas station. Police said it happened after he tried to approach them for riding erratically, CBS2’s Jenna DeAngelis reported Thursday,

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Multiple dirt bike and ATV riders are seen circling the officer and his patrol car at a gas station on Bruckner Boulevard in Hunts Point, creating what police called a “hazardous condition.” The group appears to be taunting the officer.

A 20-year-old rider been charged with reckless driving, reckless endangerment and disorderly conduct, CBS2’s Cindy Hsu reported.

Police said an officer saw the group riding recklessly at the gas station on Sunday afternoon. As the officer approached, one abandoned his bike. When the officer tried to take the bike into possession, the group began circling.

“The reckless driving of these dirt bikes is unacceptable. It’s a public nuisance and it’s a danger to the community,” NYPD Chief of Patrol Rodney Harrison said.

One of the dirt bike and ATV riders sought by the NYPD following an apparent case of taunting against an officer in the Bronx on Nov. 10, 2019. (Photo: NYPD)

On the video, a rider attempts to grab a yellow bike left by the pump but runs off when he sees the officer. At one point, the officer reveals a Taser, which police said he did not use. Eventually, more officers arrive and that’s when police said the bikers sped off.

“Everybody scared from cops,” store manager Manvinder Oberoi said. “When more police officer come, they left peacefully from here.”

DeAngelis showed the video to customers where the incident happened. Some called it a case of bikers having fun, but others said it was a dangerous and disrespectful situation.

“I think they’re a menace. You got people riding around with bikes, no license, causing havoc riding around. I think it’s kind of dangerous,” said Jimmy Hernandez, who works in the area.

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“Did they kill anybody? No. But can they have a little more respect for a figure of authority? We’re gonna have to call when were in danger? Yes, they should have a little bit more respect,” Hunts Point resident Louis Rosario said.

Increasingly, police have become targets of disrespect in the city. On Halloween, police car was deliberately covered in trash in Brownsville, Brooklyn. Then cops were taunted while trying to clean it off.

Over the summer, officers were doused with water on several occasions.

Police Commissioner O’Neill said cops have faced this for years.

“This is not something new. This is something in 2019 that’s being spread through social media and quite frankly it’s good that people see this,” O’Neill said.

He said being a cop is a tough job, and he’s hoping the videos will help people understand what officers face.

Rosario said while the relationship between citizens and police can be rocky at times, there’s no excuse for this behavior toward anyone.

“If we’re gonna say, ‘They’re just teenagers, they’re regulars,’ they’re also just disrespectful and pretty stupid because even I’m not a police officer and if you surround my car, just walking around my car a couple of people, I’d probably be worried thinking something is wrong with that, so that’s pretty intimidating,” Rosario said.

Fortunately, no officers were hurt, and it doesn’t appear any of the bike riders were, either.

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Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or 1-888-57-PISTA (74782) for Spanish. You can also submit a tip via the Crime Stoppers website, by tweeting @NYPDTips or by texting 274637.