LOUISBURG, Kan. — New concerns arise after police shut down a benefit motorcycle run in Miami County last weekend.
Social media posts are encouraging bikers to head for Louisburg again soon and gather for a protest of perceived police interference with that charity event.
The Night Train Run, which collects toys and raises money for less-fortunate kids’ holiday season gifts, made a stop in Louisburg on Saturday.
Police are aware of the online posts, too. Some messages accuse police of discriminating against motorcycle riders, including those who rode in the weekend event.
Louisburg Police Chief Josh Weber said that isn’t the case. However, if a large contingent of protesters are coming, his department will be ready in case things get out of hand.
The protest, which is scheduled for June 5, according to the online post, could bring a larger and angrier crowd to town, compared to Saturday’s benefit gathering.
Louisburg’s police department employs nine officers. Weber has reached out to neighboring agencies to be ready in case help is needed.
“We don’t promote any type of violence. We would take enforcement action against something like that,” Weber said Thursday.
On Thursday, Louisburg Police shared video with FOX4 from last weekend. It showed Weber talking with bikers at Saturday’s event.
He informed them of several violations of the permit he spotted, including inadequate parking, lock of crowd and traffic control, and failure to establish entryways and exits. On Tuesday, the chief said he also noticed motorcycles blocking traffic in the street.
Weber said motorcycle riders are welcome in Louisburg, but anyone who wants to cause trouble isn’t. The online post encourages riders to turn Louisburg into a large motorcycle parking lot.
“We do not welcome the violence that has been portrayed or criminal activity that has been portrayed around that. People have an absolute constitutional right to come express their opinions about all that stuff. We would just ask them to do it in a civil and lawful manner,” Weber added.
The charity ride was due to hold an auction outside Bub’s Bar and Grill. Dawn Ralle, the bar’s owner, said she believes Weber and his staff don’t want motorcycles in their city.
“We have businesses here. We don’t want them destroyed. We don’t want violence. What we want is justification,” Ralle said. “Let’s be the better people. Let’s be the civilized people that Louisburg Police were not. That’s what it is.”
Ralle filed two separate requests for permission to hold the initial event on the street. The first one stated at least 300 bikers would show up. The second one called for 250 or more.
Police video shows Weber talking with riders at the event, where at least 400 riders showed up.
Michael Bergen, who organizes the Night Train Run, sent this statement to FOX4 News on Thursday:
“We would like to thank the residents and businesses in Louisburg for their support. We ask everyone to be respectful and courteous to the city of Louisburg.”