RICHMOND, Va (WRIC) – A Richmond police officer is being treated for a head injury after being hit by a motorcyclist while on duty around 5 p.m. Tuesday evening. The officer is seen in a graphic video clip running directly in front of a fast-moving motorcycle on West Broad Street near Virginia Commonwealth University’s sports medicine building.
Law enforcement consultant and expert Michael Jones has spent 46 years in law enforcement, spending most of his career with Virginia Capitol Police. After seeing the video of the Richmond Police Department officer being hit by a motorcycle in a group, Jones said he isn’t surprised.
He said this isn’t the first time he’s seen those types of small motorbike groups recklessly driving across Virginia, but also across the nation.
“Unfortunately, it’s 30 seconds of fame that can turn into a lifetime of pain,” Jones said.
“This is not organized crime doing anything like this. This is getting YouTube time. This is getting followers. This is getting what accounts for credibility in the social media world and the younger environment,” Jones explained.
In the video shared with 8News, the officer throws his arms up, appearing to brace himself for the hit. The driver is thrown from the bike and the officer also flies into the air. The driver then drove away from the scene.
According to the Richmond Police Department, the officer was attempting to direct traffic while a group of motorcycles were driving aggressively on West Broad Street near Terminal Place.
“He was seconds away from being killed with a skull fracture,” Jones explained.
When asked if the officer’s tactics to stop the motorcyclist were normal, Jones explains that it’s not unusual for police to wave people down. He said law enforcement officers will also use tools such as whistles during traffic violations.
“My guess is he would’ve waved them down and he would’ve stopped, but in this case, he didn’t, and the biker tried to avoid getting stopped, misjudged it and hit him,” Jones said.
He explained the officer has the choice to pursue a driver in that situation but it’s usually too dangerous in an urban environment.
“He probably just assumed it was a VCU student just doing something stupid that he could give him a ticket,” Jones said.
Comparing it to the latest Internet fads, like eating Tide laundry detergent pods, Jones said the aggressive motorcycle driving in groups is the latest “game” on the Internet. He said it’s a fad that’s endangering lives everywhere.
He said the motorbikes, ranging from small dirt bikes to motorcycles, are perfectly legal on the roads, they are just being used in an illegal manner.
“They they meet up on the Internet. They meet up on YouTube and say, “hey, let’s meet.” One of the more famous times during my career was the area of DMV Drive and Broad Street, which was known as the Cruising Central,” Jones said.
He said there should be charges brought against the motorcyclist who hit the officer, explaining it could be charges ranging from reckless driving to any other violation that could be found in this situation.
“Not only is a danger to the police officers trying to enforce it, but the roads in Richmond and many other cities aren’t in that good of shape and on a two-wheeled motorcycle, the potential for an accident is just very high,” Jones said.
Jones said it’s not a hard case to investigate because bikes have license plates and license plates tell you who the bike belongs to. He said RPD should be able to use the many traffic cameras installed across the area to identify the driver.
But, he also said, to prevent the same situation from happening again, prevention starts at home.
“It’s just different tones and different more capability to maim and kill people. It’s a real shame. Parents need to get involved. Family needs to get involved. The police are going to get involved, but they’re not
going to be exacerbated by getting engaged in large pursuits because the pursuits can be just as dangerous as the offense itself,” he explained.
One of the motorcyclists from the group was arrested in Henrico County and is facing traffic-related charges.
Anyone with information can call RPD Detective V. Griffith at (804) 646-1718 or contact Crime Stoppers at (804) 780-1000.