Color not the issue at Meade Village Community shouldn't be mad at police when teen biker refused order.

March 26, 1997

WHEN A POLICE OFFICER issues an order to stop, most of us obey. Those who don't usually find themselves in trouble. Failure to obey seems to be at the heart of the case that ended up with Fabian Gray, a 16-year-old Meade Village resident, being hospitalized with a variety of injuries.

Eyewitness accounts differ, but every one seems to agree on a few facts. Last Friday afternoon, the teen-ager was riding a dirt bike on Meade Village Circle back and forth at speeds of up to 60 mph. Sgt. Brian Heger, with the Youth Activities Program in the western Anne Arundel County community, stepped onto the street to talk to the teen.

At this point, accounts vary. Sergeant Heger said that as he motioned the youth to stop, Fabian sped up. The police officer said he jumped out of the way and may have hit the rider by accident. Witnesses said Sergeant Heger tried to grab the bike's handlebars. Fabian lost control and flew into the engine compartment of a nearby car with its hood raised. He was hospitalized in stable condition at North Arundel Hospital in Glen Burnie.

A number of Meade Village residents suggest that having white police officers in a predominantly black neighborhood caused this incident. Sergeant Heger is indeed white, but his attempt to stop the rider had nothing to do with race. It had to do with enforcing the law. Fabian Gray was alleged to have been speeding and driving an unregistered vehicle on public streets -- both serious offenses.

Whatever some Meade Village residents may think of the police officers, they, and all of us, are obligated to obey lawful police orders. Sergeant Heger was not exceeding his powers when he alerted the teen-ager to stop. Moreover, Fabian would not have been injured had he complied.

Meade Village residents should not tolerate lawlessness. Racing a noisy dirt bike up and down community streets at high speeds isn't acceptable in any neighborhood. Meade Village residents would have a right to be upset had police ignored such disruptive activity.

They should not complain when the police enforce the law in their community. They have even less reason to complain when residents blatantly refuse to obey the police.

Pub Date: 3/26/97

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