Detroit police have said they want to start destroying ATVs confiscated for illegal street riding after a group stormed an impound lot last week and freed several seized vehicles.
The inspiration comes from New York City, where Mayor Eric Adams earlier this summer sent the stern-dad message heard 'round the country with the steamrolling of dozens of dirt bikes and four-wheelers. They were among 2,000 seized in the city this year for illegal riding and, according to Adams, many lacked insurance.
But one Detroit area attorney tells WXYZ immediately destroying the vehicles might not be legal. First, he says, the city will have to show that each vehicle they wish to destroy was being driven illegally and creating a nuisance:
"... they have the right to crush these vehicles, they have to give the citizens some due process — the right to challenge the allegations made against them; the right to confront the witnesses that are saying that this was done in a reckless way; that these were, in fact, the ATVs that were driven on a date certain; and that they didn't follow the laws and it's become a constant nuisance to the citizens of Detroit or the surrounding areas," (attorney Amir) Makled told 7 Action News.
"Nuisance abatement laws have a high threshold, they're difficult to prove for municipalities. Oftentimes, the cities will try to settle these cases by way of a payment or a promise not to conduct or use these ATVs in this type of form or fashion anymore. So, it depends on the City of Detroit's policy in this case and what their appetite is for going all the way to trial on a nuisance case like this," said Makled.
The station speaks to one person — Jose "Cocoblox" — who says Detroit police impounded his ATV illegally. "Cocoblox," who was in town from New York, says the vehicle was parked when police fingered it as part of a batch they alleged had earlier been causing a ruckus downtown. He says a tow truck driver had dropped it off for the night before returning it home for him following a sponsored event.