YouTube.com postings lead to arrests in Fla.
By Paul Quinlan
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — The teenage stars of Port St. Lucie's contribution to the trove of YouTube videos dedicated to "ghost-riding" — hip-hop slang for dancing on top of a car as it moves slowly down the road — won some recognition Thursday.
After Port St. Lucie police found the two-minute clip while searching the popular video-sharing Web site, they traced the car to its owner and arrested two boys, a 16- and 17-year-old, at Treasure Coast High School Thursday morning.
Hailed by rappers and assailed by police, ghost-riding (also called "ghost-riding the whip" or "ghostin" for short) involves setting a car (the "whip") in motion at slow speed, then climbing on top to dance.
Originating in the 1980s from the San Francisco Bay area's "hyphy" movement, ghost-riding was among the dangerous car tricks on display at impromptu car rallies dubbed "sideshows." It appeared on television sets nationwide in the video to Oakland rapper E-40's song Tell Me When to Go and, aided by video-sharing Web sites such as YouTube, ghost-riding spread across the Internet, the subject of thousands of homemade videos.
Authorities say the stunt has caused numerous injuries and a handful of deaths.
Port St. Lucie police went looking on YouTube for local ghost-riders after a separate accident in which a local child was run over after riding on the hood of a car.
"Someone could get killed, and we don't want that to happen," said police Sgt. Frank Sabol, who discovered the clip, which is roughly choreographed to resemble a rap video and does little to conceal the identities of those involved.
"Y'all ain't never seen this in St. Lucie County," one of the teens says at the start, pounding his chest and calling himself Cadillac. "Maybe in Palm Beach or somethin', but not in St. Lucie County."
The video flashes to the license plate, which Sabol used to track the car's owner, a father of one of the teens, whose names have been omitted from this story because of their ages. Nearby landmarks helped investigators find where the kids taped the video, the area of Northwest Topaz Way and Northwest Hopkin Avenue.
After tracking the owner of the car, police found the site of the video shoot and recognized the youngest of the four teens walking to his house.
The teens who call themselves Cadillac and G-Dog were arrested. Rather than arrest Cadillac's 11-year-old brother, who is also featured in the video, police charged the older teens with child abuse and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Police did not locate a fourth teen, whom the others would not identify.
Asked what inspired the YouTube search for local ghost-riders, Sabol said: "Everybody wants their 15 minutes of fame. Everybody wants their name out there."
Cadillac's mother called the police response excessive and said the boys made the video at the end of the last school year so G-Dog could show it to friends in Brazil he visited over the summer.
"They don't have to arrest a kid and send him to juvenile for that," she said. "Say, 'Don't do that, no more.' That's all they have to do. They don't have to make it a big deal."
Moments earlier she had shouted a long reprimand over the phone to her son in juvenile detention.
"You know, kids will be kids," said the 11-year-old. "I was surprised because it happened so long ago."
Votes from 11 YouTube users gave the video a two-star rating.
Most panned the video, with one writing: "Grandma called, she wants her car back."
Copyright 2007 The Palm Beach Post
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