SCHENECTADY — A man who rode his dirt bike through a Price Chopper on Eastern Avenue earlier this month and posted video of the incident online is facing charges, police said.
Police on Monday night asked for the public’s help in identifying shoppers seen on the video, since the accounts of those people as potential victims of the Sept. 1 incident would help in the prosecution of Traitin Knight, 23.
Knight faces one count of misdemeanor reckless endangerment for allegedly creating “a substantial risk of serious physical injury to another person,” according to court documents. Knight was arraigned and released on bond. Police arrested him Monday.
Knight wore a GoPro camera, recording as he drove through the store near the checkout lines, endangering customers’ safety and lives, police said. The incident happened at around 9:30 p.m.
The 66-second video posted to YouTube is titled “Grocery shopping On A Dirt Bike!!” and is posted through an account named JustDoItTray. It begins with an invitation to like and subscribe to the channel. The video had attracted more than 2,500 views as of Tuesday morning. By mid-afternoon and after the media coverage, it had more than 12,000. Knight also posted it to his Facebook page, police said.
Price Chopper spokeswoman Mona Golub issued a statement: “After having brought the incident and video to their attention, we’ve been working with the police on this case,” she said.
The video portion begins with the rider revving his dirt bike in the Price Chopper parking lot and approaching the front door as a woman walks in. He slows as he passes her and drives toward the door. The surprised woman says something to him as he passes.
Once inside, the rider turns toward the shopping area. One man is seen pushing a cart, while three other startled shoppers walk nearby. An older man is seen stepping back out of the bike’s way.
The biker passes the produce area and heads toward customers in the checkout lane. At least a half a dozen people can be seen there, including children. The rider then passes closely between two adults, one a woman with a purse. Shortly afterward, the rider does a wheelie. The rider then leaves the store through its other entrance.
The video appears to shift to the perspective of another camera operator at the entrance, and the rider is seen leaving the store. It was unclear if the other cameraman has been identified or charged. A police release only referred to Knight.
The video doesn’t indicate what the riders’ motive was for the stunt, other than inviting people to like and subscribe to the social media page. In the case of similar videos posted to the site by area residents, money has been a motive of those carrying out the stunts. In 2013, local officials said a spate of attack and fight videos were attempts by the makers to realize a paycheck of some sort.
YouTube officials said then that payments are relatively rare. In the cases of fights, the official said those videos would likely be taken down before any payment was made.
Also see: YouTube: Mont Pleasant students unlikely to make money, Nov. 14, 2013
The YouTube account that posted the Price Chopper video includes 242 subscribers and multiple other videos, including four posted since the Price Chopper video. One, posted Sunday and titled “I Got Hit By A Car!!(I almost died)” begins with a woman addressing the cameraman by a name and segues into a man talking directly to the camera, his arm in a sling.
Police based the reckless endangerment count on the online video, as well as store security video, witness statements and “admissions made by the defendant,” according to police allegations filed in court.
Knight also faces a felony count of stolen property possession and was given a ticket for operating an unregistered motor vehicle, officials said.
The stolen property count relates to a 2015 Kawasaki motorcycle Knight allegedly had with him on Monday. A prosecutor confirmed later that the bike Knight allegedly possessed Monday and the one he allegedly rode through the store are different. The Kawasaki was reported stolen on Sept. 8, a week after the Price Chopper incident, according to police.
Anyone who sees themselves or knows someone in the video was asked to contact police at 518-382-5245.
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