Perth Amboy Cops Confiscate Bicycles — Over Lack of License?
A video showing Perth Amboy police confiscating bicycles from a group of teens went viral on Tuesday, drawing attention of critics of over-policing because the video appears to show officers using the lack of a bicycle license as part of the reason for their action.
"I told you guys you're supposed to have a license," an officer is heard saying. Several other officers and six police vehicles are seen in the video.
The video also drew a comment from the president of the New Jersey ACLU, who said on Twitter that "police CANNOT continue to be our response to EVERYTHING."
Perth Amboy police did not immediately return our request for more information on Tuesday morning.
The video, which has received 2 million views on Twitter, opens with several police officers talking with a group of teens about riding bicycles down the middle of the street.
The video makes a quick cut to a blue bicycle being taken by an officer and then another showing the teen in an orange hoodie with his hands behind his back being cuffed.
"What the f**k? We live way in Edison. We live way in Edison," he tells police as they walk him to a patrol car. "What the f**k are you f**kers doing?"
In response to the first video, New Jersey ACLU president Amol Sinha commented on Twitter: "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?"
Perth Amboy has a local law requiring bicycles to be registered and to display a tag.
In a second video, which has only 135,000 views, an officer explains that the bike was confiscated over safety concerns but mentions the city's bike registration law. She tells the owner of the blue bike that the group was told to stay on the sidewalk with their bicycles, which he said he did not hear.
"You guys know that you were going against traffic. It is for your safety," the officer tells the teen. "You think I want to be here taking bikes away? This is so assinine. We have so much better stuff to do with our time. We really don't want to be here. We stopped another group doing the same thing. We can't do this all summer."
"And technically if I wanted to be an a***hole, is your bike registered with us?" she continues. "I don't have to give it back to you. Do you have the receipt to prove the bike is your bike? I'm not going to do that because that's not the point of this. The whole point of this is, I don't want to call parents and say 'dude got hit by a car."
The officer says the department wants to see kids riding bikes but on the correct side of the road. The video cuts to a shot of several teens riding as a group down the middle of a street.
The teen in the orange hoodie is seen being released from custody at police headquarters and both teens get their bikes back.
"I'm going to stop riding in Amboy because it's such a d***head burg," the owner of the blue bike says.