A Martin Luther King Jr. Day tradition involving hundreds of dirt bikes and all-terrain vehicles riding on the streets of Florida has been condemned.
On Jan. 18, for the second year in a row, bikers rode through parts of South Florida for Martin Luther King Day. But critics questioned if this was the message the Martin Luther King Jr. would have wanted to promote.
One Twitter user called them “pathetic gangsters” while authorities uploaded images of hundreds of illegal bikes they had impounded throughout the day.
The bikers are thought to have come from as far away as Washington, D.C., to be part of what they say is a demonstration against police brutality.
Authorities have branded the event as dangerous and illegal because police cannot control the participants.
There was severe injury in Fort Lauderdale and another rider had to be airlifted to a hospital after crashing his motorcycle in Miami-Dade County, according to Daily Mail.
Coral Springs Police wrote on Facebook:
“Dangerous riders on motorcycles and ATVs are driving through Broward County right now ... They are running red lights. They are not in Coral Springs, but we remind our followers to be cautious on the roadway. This in NO way is the message Martin Luther King, Jr. spread for peace. As indicated by these dangerous drivers calling it an MLK Ride.”
“If someone had asked me what is the dumbest way to honor the legacy of Dr. King, I would say, ‘Get a hundred bikers, put them on Interstate-95 at 70 miles an hour 'terrorizing the public,’” Marvin Dunn, a professor and veteran of the civil rights movement, told WTVJ during the 2015 ride.
“That’s the dumbest way you could possible come up with to honor Dr. King.”
People on social media also voiced their disapproval of the groups.
“MLK has a huge, remarkable legacy. Riding an ATV into oncoming traffic isn't part of it. #MLKrideout, what are you even doing?” said Angela Morabito.
Meanwhile, in San Francisco, California, Black Lives Matter activists chained themselves to cars on the Bay Bridge to stop traffic as part of the Reclaim MLK Day movement.
One of the protesters was seen being arrested and detained by authorities.