Man taken into custody in CMPD bike operation speaks to WBTV

What he found in biking is something other riders with him say brings them all together.
Dirt bikes, bicycles, and risky moves on the streets of Charlotte.
Updated: Aug. 22, 2022 at 6:00 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Dirt bikes, bicycles, and risky moves on the streets of Charlotte.

Police have been talking about it for months.

“I don’t need to have officers sitting in juvenile court over a kid driving recklessly on a bicycle,” said CMPD Captain Bret Balamucki in April 2022.

That same month, CMPD Lieutenant Stephen Fischbach said, “Perhaps what’s very troubling are the ages involved. The ages of people getting charged are as young as 11-years-old.”

In a tweet August 1, 2022, CMPD announced “the results of an operation targeting groups of individuals behaving erratically on bicycles and motorized vehicles.”

After a recent CMPD operation, July 31, a dirt bike and bicycles were seized.

Police say, 4 people were arrested - 3 juveniles and 22-year-old Richard Flood.

CMPD says, on July 31, Flood was observed doing wheelies at a high rate of speed on a dirt bike up and down Statesville Avenue, riding the wrong way in traffic, taking a juvenile along for rides, and all parties did not wear helmets.

Police say, in response to that, Flood was later charged.

WBTV’s Dee Dee Gatton got answers directly from Flood about the perception he and other bicyclists cause nothing but trouble on the streets.

Flood and other bicyclists say, they’re being pinned for something others are doing.

They say, any time they go out, their goal is never to harm.

They want you to know their side.

“I’m very proud… I had to work to get where I’m at today, so I’m going to keep on working to get even further than where I’m at right now,” said Flood. “I’ve been in a DaBaby music video, the Harvey B. Gantt museum, and I’ve had multiple opportunities from bike companies.

Flood says, he wanted to find something else to do.

What he found in biking is something other riders with him say brings them all together.

“I’ve been able to connect with people that ride road bikes, people from all over the country, it’s just that connection that’s based in the passion of riding bikes,” said 19-year-old Isaac Biggers.

But what they call passion, others call something else.

19-year-old Cam Simms said, “I don’t think it’s fair how I have to worry about coming outside downtown, and I might get arrested for something that I had absolutely nothing to do with.”

17-year-old Charlie-Quick Henderson said, “Riding bikes is my passion also, and it also helps me keeps myself out of trouble, which I’ve been trying to, but CMPD thinks otherwise.”

The bicyclists showed WBTV videos with CMPD.

In one video, Flood says, “Ma, I’m getting arrested,” to which the person on the phone said, “Get the **** out of here Richard. For what?”

Flood says, “They said I was on a dirt bike earlier today.” Someone says, “He wasn’t on a dirt bike though. He never was.”

The bicyclists also showed us video with cars, these riders argue, has them fearing for their safety.

In one video, after the vehicle comes to a stop, you see the driver get out and interact with bikers on the road.

In another video, you see a car move in reverse past bikers on a 2-lane street.

On the other side, police tweeted results of a July 31 operation, they say, targeted “groups of individuals behaving erratically on bicycles and motorized vehicles. These groups have been known to commit serious violent crimes on top of reckless driving.”

When WBTV asked Flood about the groups police spoke of, here was the exchange:

Flood: “Uhh, again, with that statement is what I said before, not all of us ride together so that could have literally been some kid that knows how to wheelie on the other side of town that just happened to be in uptown. We don’t all ride together as one so it could have just been some random kid that do know how to wheelie.”

Gatton: “So you’re saying, not everyone does (cut off).”

Flood: “Yeah, I’m about to say,--just cuz somebody wheelie don’t technically mean that they’re part of the uptown group. Again, there’s a lot of kids that don’t come uptown that know how to wheelie.”

Gatton: “Have you ever done stuff on the road that they’re talking about—wheelie, chicken, that sort of thing?”

Flood: “Uh, no, I [wouldn’t] really like to speak too much about that. Y’all can look on my instagram to see what I do.”

Gatton: “Police have said some social media pages they have like yours--it shows illegal activity.”

Flood: “Technically . . . something illegal. Technically riding a bike in there if you wanna be technical cuz they didn’t pull me over when I haven’t been doing nothing to my bike so to them everything we do is illegal.”

Some of these riders blame police for not communicating enough with them.

Others say, they’re simply in fear of officers.

Regarding the allegations from police, Flood said, “All of it is just really allegations at the end of the day.”

Biggers said, “We do see some - especially the younger ones they see things online from other cities where kids are doing stuff that is not respectful and we try our best to you know encourage them to be as respectful as possible on the road.”

Additionally, Flood says, he holds bike give aways for kids who can’t afford bikes.

The bicyclists we spoke to claim violence is not their goal.

“We’re not out here to cause problems, we’re out here to ride,” said Simms.

“I just want them to realize we don’t come out here with no intent to harm nobody and that’s pretty much it,” said Flood.

The entire conversation lasted about an hour.

Many said there aren’t a lot of places in Charlotte where they can ride, and they wish there were more recreational spots available.

WBTV also requested an interview with CMPD.

They sent this statement below:

“The CMPD fully supports citizens who ride bicycles within the law. However, when those on bicycles ride in an egregious manner outside of the law that jeopardizes the safety of others and the riders themselves, it is the responsibility of the CMPD to enforce the law. Bicycle riders only get charged when they are observed violating the law. Bicycle riders are not charged merely due to being associated with other riders or the hobby itself. This is illustrated in the recent bike operations, as there were numerous riders who were not detained or charged as they were not seen riding outside of the law. Only those observed engaging in dangerous, unlawful riding had enforcement action taken against them by officers.

The CMPD provides training on Cultural Competency, the CMPD Serves customer service program, and communication in general to its officers. The CMPD leads more than 60 community programs with a customer base of Charlotte youth to engage with the young members of our community.”

Flood will be in court August 31. The DA’s office says, “The charges associated with the Aug. 31 court date are traffic offenses (not misdemeanors).”