A small group of young people got into a physical confrontation with Port Jefferson constables Wednesday, Sept. 2 after blocking traffic on Main Street. Officials said one code enforcement officer later required a visit to the hospital because of injuries sustained during the incident.
Witnesses said a group of around a dozen young people, some with bikes and some without, stopped at the Starbucks along Main Street sometime after 3 p.m. When some young people went in to get drinks, one got into the middle of the street, stopped traffic and performed a few feats of acrobatics such as a backflip, cheered on by his friends on the sidewalk. Shortly after, the young man then sat “indian style” in the double yellow median in the middle of the busy street.
Bystanders, fearing for the young man’s safety, called code enforcement, who arrived shortly after to confront the young men and get them to move from the street and their bikes from the curb.
In response to a request for details on the incident, Suffolk County Police said a group of teens on bicycles were blocking traffic on Main Street in Port Jefferson just before 4 p.m. Sept. 2 when they were told by code enforcement officers to move out of the roadway. Police said that the teens allegedly did not immediately comply and one of them pushed a code enforcement officer.
Witnesses said the confrontation on Main Street moved to the alleyway beside Chase Bank, where some described that the confrontation became physical between constables and the young bikers. Details from witnesses on what transpired were imprecise, but official sources did confirm there was some kind of violent contact between at least one young man and code enforcement officers.
Deputy Village Attorney Richard Harris said Code Enforcement Chief Fred Leute went to a hospital later that Wednesday night for injuries sustained during the encounter. Harris added that police told the village they were looking into charges. The village is still awaiting any further details from Suffolk County Police.
Village Trustee Kathianne Snaden, the liaison to code enforcement, said the altercation took place between just a few of the young men and code officers in the Chase Bank alleyway. Po
“[Police] have this case now under investigation,” Snaden said.
Police said that 6th precinct officers are still investigating, though they did not reveal if there were any arrests or charges filed.
For months residents have complained about groups of young bikers all across Suffolk County, either them doing tricks in the middle of busy roads or playing chicken with cars. Police have encouraged parents to talk to their children about the dangers of blocking traffic and riding in the middle of roads, but there have been more violent confrontations.
In early August, a large number of young bicyclists numbering around 30, according to witnesses and a now-removed video published to social media, harassed members of the Crossfit DHP gym in Port Jefferson Station. Shortly after that incident, police said two young men, both 15 years old of Centereach, were arrested later at their homes for violent actions during the August altercation. Police withheld the individuals’ names as they are both minors.
Mike Napoli, the owner of Gourmet Burger Bistro on Mill Creek Road, said he has personally had to deal with these young bicyclists on a regular basis throughout the summer. At one point, he said he confronted a group of about 20 who were outside his business when they were hosting outdoor dining.
“There’s families with young children, and [these young bicyclists] are doing wheelies, screaming, cursing in front of these people while they’re trying to eat,” Napoli said. “It’s a bad situation that needs to be stopped. The biggest problem is these kids know they can get away with things.”