More punitive measures needed to deal with MLK Ride Out, Broward Sheriff says

Sheriff: Legislation needed to help deputies ‘act before things start to go wrong in the streets’

Several groups of motorcyclists and cyclists participated in the 'Wheels Up, Guns Down' MLK ride out events Friday to Monday in Miami-Dade County. SKY 10 Photos

PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony said on Sunday during This Week In South Florida that the law enforcement’s strategy in response to motorcyclists’ street demonstrations held on Martin Luther King Jr. Day needs to change.

Some MLK Rideout participants were breaking the ATV law on Monday afternoon in Miami-Dade County. (SKY 10)

Tony said the law enforcement community in South Florida has a reactive approach. He said lawmakers and commissioners need to equip deputies with more punitive measures to have a more preventive approach.

“The activities of these men and women riding these ATVs are putting our residents in harm’s way,” Tony said. “They are overlooking any type of law that exists.”

MLK Rideout participants break traffic laws Monday afternoon in Miami-Dade County. (SKY 10)

Tony also said legislators need to grant deputies with “more authority to act before things start to go wrong in the streets.”

Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed Tony after removing former Sheriff Scott Israel over BSO’s response to the 2018 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in which 17 people were killed in Parkland.

Tony said Israel’s biggest weakness is that he was “too political" during his service as Sheriff from 2013 until his Jan. 11, 2019 suspension.

“If you look at how the agency was managed, the public safety aspect came second,” Tony said while touting the investments he has made on improving deputies’ training and community policing.

Tony is campaigning against Israel over the support of African-American voters. The outcome of the primary election in August will define the results of the November election.

Tony and Israel will debate the issues on a later episode of Local 10 News’ This Week in South Florida.

Watch the TWISF interview (10 minutes)

On the eve of the Iowa caucuses, the Democratic presidential candidates hustled across the state Sunday trying to fire up voters and make one last appeal to those struggling to make a final decision about their choice in the crowded field. (AP)

About the Authors:

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.