Monthly Archives: December 2015

Biker Bar Targeted for Closure – Owner Talks to Media, Authorities Silent

By David “Double D” Devereaux

Biker Bar Targeted Owner Speaks to Local News Authorities Silent

Following a recent MPP article exposing the state liquor control agency targeting JD’s Tap House in western Pennsylvania, the local news media followed up on the story of this biker bar targeted for closure. In response to evidenced claims of motorcycle profiling and selective enforcement advanced by the ownership to Erie News Now, Liquor Control Enforcement and Township Supervisors had no response and remain silent. They say silence speaks volumes. The LCE is clearly infringing on the owners fundamental right to pursue an occupation in violation of the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment.

Erie News Now Reports Biker Bar targeted for closure as a result of motorcycle profiling and LCE harassment.

Erie News Now reported on December 28th that local bar owner Michelle Perrine says her business, JD’s Tap House, “is being targeted for closure because most of her patrons are bikers.” A noise complaint from one person has been enough for State Police’s LCE to “threaten closure.” Erie News Now reports that this resident has stated, “Bikers do not belong in this neighborhood.” No other neighbors have complained and police have never been called to the bar for any disturbance.

Despite the highly prejudicial source of the complaints, Township Supervisor Michael Jordan sided with this single resident, Perrine says. After paying a $100 fine to resolve frivolous criminal charges resulting from this single source, Jordan and the LCE are threatening Perrine with revocation of her license because she payed a fine therefore admitting to being guilty of a crime.

During a recent Township Supervisors meeting relating to the complaints, a supervisor suggests that the reason there has only been one complainant might be due to the fact that people may be scared to step forward and complain about bikers. This very suggestion is based on a discriminatory stereotype.

Remember, as previously reported to the MPP, Perrine has also articulated an incident where an LCE officer directly threatened her and her children. Escalating threats to close her business following her ethics inquiries to authorities concerning this LCE officer’s threats. Perrine says she has also been threatened with being charged for making terrorist threats if she approaches any neighbors to discuss a resolution of issues.

LCE and Township Supervisors have offered no explanation or defense for the obvious targeting of JD’s Tap House. Erie News Now reported than neither Jordan or the LCE were available for comment. Absolutely no accountability or explanation is being provided by government officials and employees in the face of direct claims of discrimination being made by a damaged owner.

LCE Harassment Infringes On A Bar Owners Constitutional Right To Pursue An Occupation

Biker Bar Targeted for closure, numerous notices to revoke licenseIt seems clear that Michelle Perrine’s fundamental right to pursue an occupation is being infringed upon. JD’s Tap House has told the MPP that it estimates that it has lost 39% of its revenue due to the LCE’s campaign of harassment. More directly, the recent notice that Perrine’s license may be revoked as a result of pleading no contest to criminal charges stemming from noise complaints is a clear indication of the state’s intent.

“The due process clause protects a liberty or property interest in pursuing the “common occupations or professions of life.” Attempts to shut an establishment down through harassment impact an individual’s ability to make a living. “The constitutional right infringed in these cases “is the right to pursue an occupation.” (see Benigni v. City of Hemet, No. 87-5622, United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, August 15, 1988)

Civil liability exposure justifies legislative relief

The LCE is a division of the State Police and are operating under the color of state law. 42 USC 1983, referred to as Section 1983, provides a mechanism for relief for victims deprived of their fundamental liberties by state actors. The civil liability exposure created as a result of discriminatory state actors provides more than enough justification for the simple and cost-efficient legislation addressing the issue of motorcycle profiling currently pending in the Pennsylvania state legislature.

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Using Jury Nullification to Fight Unjust Laws

By David “Double D” Devereaux

Jury nullification is the option to vote Not Guilty if a juror believes that a law is immoral or wrongly applied to a defendant, even if they believe the law has technically been broken. Jurors have historically used nullification to send messages about unjust laws or harassing and abusive prosecutions.

Obviously, judges and prosecutors often object to individuals informing jurors of their right to conscientiously acquit and have even attempted to prosecute individuals for jury tampering. But the 1st Amendment has prevailed. In terms of motorcycle club culture, jurors have a right to know that they have the power to nullify the often unjust and arguably unconstitutional applications of law or unethical prosecutorial behavior or abuse.

Jury Nullification Is A Constitutional Right and a Moral Necessity

The Fully Informed Jury Association (FIJA) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to generally informing jurors that:

they have the legal authority and the ethical duty to consult their consciences and to render a just verdict, even if it requires setting aside the law and voting Not Guilty when strictly enforcing the law would be unjust.” FIJA argues:

“Jury nullification is decentralization of political power. It is the people’s most important veto in our constitutional system. The jury vote is the only time the people ever vote on the application of a real law in real life. All other votes are for hypotheticals.”

It is important that jurors understand that they cannot be punished for their verdicts. Jurors also have the right to deliver a general verdict and are not required to explain a reason for their verdict, says FIJA.

Recently federal courts have confirmed the right to inform jurors about jury nullification against prosecution claims of jury tampering. As long as no attempt is explicitly made to influence the outcome of a specific case, “Plaintiffs are likely to succeed on the question of whether the First Amendment protects their message.” (See FIJA v. Denver, Civil Action No. 15-cv-1775-WJM-MJW, IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLORADO, ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION, filed 8/25/2015)

Jury Nullification Is Used To Oppose Immoral Public Policies

Juries has exercised the power of nullification throughout America’s history, particularly at times when government policy is unpopular or deemed immoral. Juries have historically exercised the power to free those being convicted under laws deemed antithetical to freedom.

According to the University of Missouri-Kansas City,

“In the early 1800s, nullification was practiced in cases brought under the Alien and Sedition Act. In the mid 1800s, northern juries practiced nullification in prosecutions brought against individuals accused of harboring slaves in violation of the Fugitive Slave Laws. And in the Prohibition Era of the 1930s, many juries practiced nullification in prosecutions brought against individuals accused of violating alcohol control laws. More recent examples of nullification might include acquittals of “mercy killers,” including Dr. Jack Kevorkian, and minor drug offenders.” (See Jury Nullification, UMKC Edu, by Doug Linder, 2001)

Jury Nullification Can Apply to Unjust Motorcycle Club Prosecutions

Individuals have a right to know that if they become jurors in cases involving motorcycle clubs that they have the power to vote Not Guilty based on an ethical or moral objection to the law itself or the abusive behavior of the prosecution. Individuals have the right to know that they cannot be punished for their verdicts and that they do not have to provide a reason or justification for their verdicts.

Jurors have the power to vote Not Guilty in cases involving organized criminal gang statutes based on the ethical objection that these statutes are so overly broad that they compromise the 1st Amendment and produce an environment where prosecutors ignore basic conceptions of Due Process. Jurors can nullify prosecution strategies that put the state’s interest in punishing the guilty ahead of the interests of the truly innocent in order to deliver a just verdict.

Jurors have the power to vote Not Guilty in cases involving government attempts to seize the trademarks of motorcycle clubs based on the ethical objection that such seizures violate basic freedoms and are malicious attempts by authorities to damage motorcycle clubs based on discriminatory stereotypes.

Education is Vital to the Survival of Motorcycle Clubs

Motorcycle clubs and the 1st Amendment are under attack. The very right to associate and express those associations are being challenged. Prosecutors nationwide are employing tactics and theories that pose a serious threat to fundamental freedoms. Educating the public and potential jurors relating to the power of jury nullification may be an important tool in the struggle for the survival of traditional motorcycle club culture in America.

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Pennsylvania Township Threatens Bar Owner

By David “Double D” Devereaux

Police Threaten Bar Owner Michelle Perrine. Pictured Here with Husband Dan.

Police in a small Pennsylvania Township are targeting and harassing a local self-proclaimed biker bar. The owner claims to have been threatened directly and State Police Liquor Control Enforcement (LCE) is attempting to shut down the establishment. State agency discrimination against the motorcycle community is constitutionally prohibited. Selective enforcement of ordinances as a pretext to “shut the place down” based on discriminatory beliefs about motorcyclists is an injustice that demands a remedy.

Military Family Owned Biker Bar

Michelle Perrine operate JD’s Tap House in Meadsville Township, Pennsylvania. It’s a biker bar that holds bike nights and charity events like many bars around the country. The Perrines are also a military family. Michelle says, “My husband [Dan] is a Vet, my daughter is Active Military and we support Bike Clubs and our Veterans.”

JD’s Tap House sometimes has live music and “Perrine had been issued a zoning variance by the West Mead Zoning Authority in March. According to the variance, Perrine was allowed to host bands on the property between May 1 and Sept. 30, between the hours of 2 and 10 p.m.” (See “Bar owner facing trial over noise violations“, Meadville Tribune, October 28, 2014)

Police Use Noise Complaints from ONE Person as a Pretext to Try to Shut Bar Down.

Police Threaten Bar Owner, using pretext of noise violations.Despite this approval, since 2013 there has been a rash of complaints from one local resident and one local politician, Township Supervisor Michael Jordan.

According to Perrine, she spoke with the resident filing the repetitive complaints against JD’s Tap House. This individual was clear that she would do everything she could to “shut the place down“, says Perrine. This escalated into dozens of complaints from this seemingly vindictive individual over the last two years. Later, when being served a subpoena, this individual made it clear that she didn’t want bikers in her neighborhood.

These complaints have been used by LCE to engage in a campaign of harassment even though JD’s is operating within the allotted allowable time slots.

Reporting LCE Threat to Owners Children Leads to Increased Harassment

Despite being issued zoning approval, the campaign of LCE harassment began on July 1, 2013. Michelle received a visit from Liquor Control Enforcement (LCE), a division of the State Police, where she was, in her estimation, threatened by an LCE officer. Michelle writes to the MPP:

Here is the exact threat..I received a visit from an LCE enforcement officer…he stated that if I had music for that Bike Night I would be arrested. He asked me for..and I gave him..My license, SS Card, address, and birth date. He tapped himself on his heart and said, “you know Michelle, the only thing worse than going to Jail, would be if something were to happen to one of my children.” I took off my sunglasses, pushed them across the table in his direction and stated, “are you threatening my children?” He responded with “No” .. That occurred on July 1st 2013.

I called the State Police Ethics Commission on July 7th and asked them a general question regarding the LCE’s behavior. I was asked to divulge who the officer was. After I was promised no retribution, I told them his name. That’s when all of this fun started (they continually blasted me with citations).”

Further evidence seems to validate the suspicion that JD’s Tap House is a target of agency harassment. Perrine articulates a strange incident in which, in her words:

The LCE told me – after I asked if I could meet with this neighbor that “if I approached this neighbor or any of my agents approached this neighbor, that I would go to jail for terroristic threats.” Perrine says, “I have been told that I would be arrested for terroristic threats if bikers drive down a certain road.”

The Local Police told me to try to keep “my bikers off a side road where the neighbor complaining lives”….Perrine stresses, “I have never had any difficulties with the local police department– they have never even been called to my bar for any disturbances… It’s been strictly the LCE working in cooperation with the Local Politicians…”

The Owner Faces Criminal Charges

The LCE used these complaints to justify misdemeanor criminal charges against Michelle Perrine for disturbing the peace. Local news media reported on the criminal charges and announced the upcoming trial in Spring 2015. (See “Bar owner facing trial over noise violations“, Meadville Tribune, October 28, 2014).

During a preliminary hearing to determine whether criminal charges would be filed, the LCE officer that Perrine says initially threatened her “said he wasn’t aware of the zoning variance” that legally permitted music at JD’s Tap House. This officer also confirmed that all complaints had been filed by a local resident and West Mead Township Supervisor Michael Jordan.

[LCE Officer] Nicholson said the noise complaints against Perrine were lodged by the McQueens and Jordan…Konzel then called Jordan as a witness. When she asked Jordan if he ever lodged a noise complaint with the LCE, Jordan said, “No.”

(see Meadville Tribune, October 28, 2014)

Under oath, Mr. Jordan’s testimony appears to be false. The following document is an investigation report filed August 12, 2014 by LCE officer Nicholson validating that Mr. Jordan indeed was the original complainant against JD’s Tap House.

Police_Threaten_bar_owner_document1

Perrine, on the day of the trial in May 2015, pled no contest in order to receive a reduced $100 fine. On December 14th LCE sent Michelle a notice to be prepared to show cause why her license should not be revoked and why she should not be fined because she was found guilty of a crime (the reduced fine plea).

police_threaten_bar_owner_document2

Despite prohibitions against discrimination, many times owners of establishments are hesitant to stand up against authorities because the results of harassment are real and tangible. The end result is “no colors” policies and less access to public places. The Perrines estimate that they have lost 39% of their income since this harassment began. Even though they refuse to deny bikers access, the financial impact resulting from this campaign of harassment may ultimately cause them to shut their doors having the same end result.

What to Take Away From All of This

Police_threaten_bar_owner_true_biker_barPolice and Liquor Control harassment of any establishment because they choose to serve bikers is discrimination and is prohibited. Utilizing a pretext like noise violations, particularly considering the often prejudicial source of those complaints as claimed in this case, does not excuse or permit this discrimination. Selective enforcement of the law also violates the equal protections guaranteed by the Constitution.

If nothing is done to combat this type of discrimination, if bikers don’t unite at the grassroots level and lobby for change, then motorcyclists will continue to lose their rights base at an accelerated pace. The right to freely associate and express that association is a fundamental liberty that must be fought for in order that it be preserved.

Currently that right is being taken away from motorcyclists one establishment at a time. It’s time to mobilize and use the democratic process and the power of numbers to take them all back.

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How to Deal with Discriminatory Police Surveillance

By Jeff “Twitch” Burns

discriminatory police surveillance at a political gathering

If you are a member of a motorcycle club or associate with motorcycle clubs the chances are that you have been the subject of law enforcement surveillance for no other reason than your affiliation with motorcycle clubs. For the purpose of this article we will refer to this type of surveillance as hostile surveillance. I have been part of the motorcycle club community for over 16 years and during that time I have been surveilled by every major federal law enforcement agency, numerous state and local law enforcement agencies, state Gaming Commission and even tribal police and Colorado Parks & Wildlife officers.

For years law enforcement has made it standard practice to surveil motorcycle club parties and events, funerals, runs, COC meetings, etc. the sole purpose of which is to gather intelligence on what they consider members of criminal organizations. Since the 2015 Waco incident we have seen increased incidents of law enforcement surveillance of motorcycle club members in New York, Idaho, Arizona and California just to name a few states. For many involved in the motorcycle club world this hostile surveillance has just become an annoying and invasive part of our lifestyle that we tolerate and tell anecdotal stories about because most don’t know what can be done to stop it. This article will address what our community, the motorcycle club community can do to counter, deter and stop this type of law enforcement harassment.
discriminatory police surveillance washington stateThe most effective way to counter and stop this type of hostile surveillance by law enforcement is to pass legislation that specifically addresses motorcycle profiling. In 2011, Washington State became the first state in the country to pass a law addressing motorcycle profiling:

R.C.W. 43.101.419. “Motorcycle profiling” means the illegal use of the fact that a person rides a motorcycle or wears motorcycle-related paraphernalia as a factor in deciding to stop and question, take enforcement action, arrest, or search a person or vehicle with or without a legal basis under the United States Constitution or Washington State Constitution.

A law such as the one passed in Washington ties the hands of law enforcement and forces them to limit their investigation and surveillance to instances where there is sufficient legal probable cause to believe that a crime is occurring or is about to occur. While law enforcement surveillance of motorcycle club members was a regular occurrence prior to the passing of the motorcycle profiling law, since the law has taken effect there has been almost no surveillance of motorcycle club related events in Washington State. Obviously legislation is the most effective way to counter hostile surveillance but to pursue legislation you need a persuasive pattern of motorcycle profiling evidence which in the case of hostile surveillance can be accomplished through the use of counter surveillance to obtain photographs of law enforcement surveilling you, demonstrating a pattern of harassment.ub parties and events, funerals, runs, COC meetings, etc. the sole purpose of which is to gather intelligence on what they consider members of criminal organizations. Since the 2015 Waco incident we have seen increased incidents of law enforcement surveillance of motorcycle club members in New York, Idaho, Arizona and California just to name a few states. For many involved in the motorcycle club world this hostile surveillance has just become an annoying and invasive part of our lifestyle that we tolerate and tell anecdotal stories about because most don’t know what can be done to stop it. This article will address what our community, the motorcycle club community can do to counter, deter and stop this type of law enforcement harassment.

discriminatory police surveillance at a memorial ride for fallen ridersIn 2011, I was at the Four Corners Rally in Colorado speaking about this very topic when a club member came into the conference room and notified us that the police had surrounded the parking lot of the conference center and were taking photographs of the people and motorcycles in the parking lot. I grabbed my SLR camera with a huge telephoto lens and headed out into the parking lot to find over 20 law enforcement officers from various federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies taking photos of us. I stood in plain view and began taking photographs of the law enforcement officers who were taking photos of us. I photographed the officers, their vehicles and license plates. Just as we find hostile surveillance incredibly invasive and uncomfortable so does law enforcement and they all immediately left the scene, I had essentially chased them off with my camera and counter surveillance and we remained surveillance free for the remainder of the event. But is it legal to photograph law enforcement in public?

discriminatory police surveillanceThe recent precedent setting case that clarifies whether it is legal to photograph police is Manny Garcia v. Montgomery County, MD. In this case, journalist Manny Garcia was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct for photographing police as they detained two men in Maryland. In this case, the Department of Justice filed a Statement of Interest in the case upholding the right of individuals to photograph police under the First, Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The D.O.J. argues that not only do individuals have a First Amendment right to film officers publicly doing their duties, they also have Fourth and 14th Amendment rights protecting them from having those recordings seized without a warrant or due process. In fact in their statement the D.O.J. stated that the United States is concerned that discretionary charges such as disorderly conduct, loitering, disturbing the peace and resisting arrest are all too easily used to curtail expressive conduct or retaliate against individuals for exercising their First Amendment rights. Core First Amendment conduct, such as recording a police officer performing duties on a public street, cannot be the sole basis for such charges. Federal appellate courts have upheld a First Amendment right to record police in numerous cases from around the country and many of them were cited by the Justice Department in their statement in the Garcia case. So yes, it is legal to film police in public.

Tag numbersNow, let’s say you’re at an event that is under law enforcement surveillance, you take several photographs that documents the surveillance, the police leave the scene, what next? Keep the photos or video in an organized file, note the event, date, time, duration of surveillance and law enforcement agencies involved. Then file a public records request with all the agencies involved requesting copies of the photos/video that they obtained during their surveillance, any police reports, CAD reports, officer log book entries and radio traffic associated with the operation. By following up your counter surveillance with a public records request you will obtain additional photos, documents and radio traffic that may help you establish that you were being unfairly and unnecessarily targeted by law enforcement and will help you build your pattern of evidence. Have all your evidence reviewed by your Confederation of Clubs/Council of Clubs attorney to evaluate for any civil rights violations and whether or not litigation is warranted. If your state is in the process of pursuing motorcycle profiling legislation make the key people in that movement aware of the evidence of profiling you have and make it available to them for use in building their pattern of evidence. If your state is not currently pursuing motorcycle profiling legislation, you can send a copy of your evidence to us at the Motorcycle Profiling Project and we will store it for later legislative use in your state.

Hostile law enforcement surveillance is common in the motorcycle club community, however it does not have to be an accepted part of our lives. Through the use of motorcycle profiling legislation, proactive counter surveillance and public records requests we can turn the tables on law enforcement and severely restrict or put an end to hostile surveillance of our community.

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Veterans in Motorcycle Clubs Targeted for Harassment

By David “Double D” Devereaux

law enforcement is targeting veterans including this Marine.

Law enforcement assertions that motorcycle clubs recruit military and ex-military personnel because of war-fighting skills and access to weaponry is purely unsubstantiated propaganda intended to promote fear, not fact. More than that, these assertions are disrespectful to those that have fought and sacrificed serving this country and society.

Brotherhood and the sense of freedom offered by motorcycling are the true motivations that draw those with military backgrounds to motorcycle clubs. There is a solution. Laws addressing motorcycle profiling and discrimination provide a historically effective and virtually cost-free solution to an issue impacting a community heavily populated with veterans.

A recent example of discriminatory propaganda titled “OMGs and the Military 2014”, a 40 page dossier prepared by federal law enforcement authorities, has been leaked and widely distributed on the Internet and by the media, particularly since the tragedy in Waco.

This document is sited to further sensationalize any incident involving members of motorcycle clubs. This document asserts that there are over 100 members of what the government labels outlaw motorcycle gangs in sensitive government positions throughout the military and government. The report further asserts that motorcycle clubs recruit those in the military because of fighting skills and access to weaponry.

Of course, there is ZERO substantiation for any claims in terms of criminal activity.

These claims are false and ridiculous.

Individuals with military backgrounds are attracted to motorcycle club culture for a sense of brotherhood and
the sense of freedom one gets when riding motorcycles.

Law_Enforcement_Targeting_Veterans_WashingtonMotorcycle club brotherhoods fulfill an important social gap for veterans returning from war. A sense of duty and honor to something bigger than oneself. And then there’s the motorcycle. Fast, exciting, and the sense of freedom is a release from stress and pressure.

Implicating an entire class of people based on stereotyping and conjecture is reprehensible considering that veterans have fought, many injured or killed, to defend the essential freedoms that represent America.

The 1st Amendment to the Bill of Rights is a critical piece of that freedom. The right to freely associate and express those associations is essential to a free society and the ability to resist government abuse and discrimination.

To describe those dedicated to the pursuit and protection of freedom as threats to society because they choose to associate with motorcycle clubs is un-American and deplorable.

Most veterans involved in the motorcycle club community are dedicated to the grassroots movement to combat motorcycle profiling and discrimination. It makes no sense to have fought for freedom only to be denied at home.

Fortunately, many legislators are beginning to understand the issue as the mobilized movement continues to gain momentum. Respect for veterans and their sacrifices demands legislative relief in the form of laws to condemn and prevent motorcycle profiling and discrimination.

So when you see a member of a motorcycle club riding past, proudly exercising the right to express their association, see past the propaganda. There is a good chance that you are looking at a veteran that was willing to sacrifice all so others would have the freedom to speak their minds and associate with others freely.

Watch this Prime of Example of Law Enforcement Targeting Members of the Military.

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Dirty Cops, Planted Drugs & Attempted Murder

By David “Double D” Devereaux

Dirty Cops Changed Pigpens life and many others

Almost no one is aware of one of the most outrageous examples of police corruption targeting bikers in history. Although the story reached the major newspapers, this happened before the 24/7 news cycle or the World Wide Web existed. This is a story of illegal warrants, planted evidence, dirty cops and attempted murder. This is also a glimpse into the historical mindset of law enforcement relating to motorcycle clubs and a clear demonstration of how discrimination results in corruption.

Dirty Cops with an Illegal Warrant Came to Plant Drugs

The a Outsiders Motorcycle Club was the victim of the most notorious law enforcement scandal in the history of Portland, Oregon. On the night of December 12, 1979, members of the Portland police department and narcotics squad illegally raided the Outsiders MC clubhouse and officer David Crowther was shot and killed by Robert “Pigpen” Christopher. Officers were knowingly attempting to serve an illegal warrant obtained through perjured statements about a nonexistent informant.

Narcotics officers Scott Deppe and Neil Gearhart, both present during the raid, corroborated this indisputable fact and furthermore revealed that the narcotics squad officers had come with drugs ready to plant in and around the clubhouse. In fact, it was discovered that police had planted amphetamine tablets during the raid. Narcotics officers also admitted that drugs were removed from David Crowtherʼs pockets at the hospital after he was shot.

dirty cops_planted evidence_pig pen_prison_bike show

These are the incontrovertible facts. The entire basis for law enforcementʼs presence at the clubhouse that night was to serve an illegal warrant and plant drugs. Robert Christopher was released after serving time in prison because the egregious conduct of the narcotics squad was uncovered.

Robert Christopher maintains that the police did not announce themselves and that his only choice to avoid being killed was to defend himself. It was later proven that police witnesses had lied at trial when they testified that they had knocked and announced themselves.

Although his death was a tragedy, David Crowther and the officers on the narcotics squad were corrupt and 58 tainted convictions were overturned and 35 pending cases dismissed before the scandal was over. Robert Christopher was defending his home and his life against an illegal intrusion and criminal conspiracy perpetrated by Portland narcotics officers.

How Many Innocent People are Currently Incarcerated for a Similar Situation?

Corruption will push dirty cops to the edge of insanity when pursuing motorcycle clubsAs a victim of police abuse and discrimination, Robert Christopher put his energy into fighting for the rights and freedoms of motorcyclists because he understands firsthand the impact of law enforcement discrimination and abuse. If not for the testimony of dirty cops snitching each other out to avoid prosecution, this scandal would never have been uncovered and an innocent man would have spent 20 years in prison as a result of police corruption and discrimination. How many more people are currently sitting in prison due to similar circumstances? How many more will be victims in the future?

Let this story serve as an example of what results from discriminatory policing. Let this story serve as an example of how far police will go and how corrupt they are willing to be when targeting motorcycle clubs.

What Can WE Do To Protect Ourselves from Dirty Cops?

A unified grassroots movement is the best chance motorcycle clubs have to combat discrimination, profiling and police corruption. The Motorcycle Profiling Project is dedicated to advocating for legislative protections requiring all law enforcement to adopt written policies condemning motorcycle profiling, integrated with basic training. This solution has been empirically proven to substantially reduce incidents of discriminatory policing and profiling targeting motorcyclists.

These dirty cops would ultimately help to motivate an entire movement to pass anti-profiling law in Washington State

(All claims made in this statement are based on publicly available and previously published material readily available. For example, The Oregonian, April 21, 1981, “Retrial of Christopher for killing appears doubtful.” The Times-News, May 29, 1981, p.5, “Narcotics trade triggers police misconduct.”)

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Mongols MC Held at Gunpoint For Simple Traffic Stop

By David “Double D” Devereaux

Mongols_MC_Profiling_stop_idaho_2011_2

The epidemic of motorcycle profiling in Idaho is not a brand new phenomenon. Recent accounts from Pocatello to Nampa are only the newest examples. There has been a long history of motorcycle clubs being selectively targeted for abusive military-style search and seizures for no reason other than membership in a motorcycle club. The following incident involving the Mongols MC demonstrates the blatantly abusive and discriminatory mindset of many in law enforcement regarding motorcycle clubs. It is essential that the irrefutable pattern of evidence be presented to legislators urging adoption of a law addressing the epidemic of motorcycle profiling in the state.

The Mongols MC Pack Was Pulled Over Merely For Riding in Idaho

The Motorcycle Profiling Project received the following account from a member of the Mongols Motorcycle Club relating to an egregious incident of profiling that occurred in 2011. A swarm of FBI and other law enforcement agents descended upon a pack of 20+ motorcycles and conducted a 2 hour felony stop at the point of an AR-15. The entire group was treated as if they were violent criminals with absolutely no just cause. Many were placed in handcuffs and every individual was searched without consent. Blatantly unconstitutional.

What reason was given for the stop? Officers said the pack was stopped because they had never seen Mongols MC in Idaho before. That is not probable cause or reasonable suspicion of criminal or violent behavior. Although a speeding pretext was ultimately used to justify the stop, the highly discriminatory and military-style operation was clearly not motivated by traffic enforcement. And even if it were, 2 hours is far beyond the reasonable duration required for reasonableness under the 4th Amendment.

Mongols MC Profiling Stop Idaho 2011 Letter from Mongol

2 Hours on the Side of the Road, At the End of Assault Rifles…for Wearing a Patch

Mongols MC Profiling Stop in Idaho 2011, Biker being Searched

There should be grave concerns about traffic stops conducted with AR-15’s. Motorcycle clubs, including the Mongols MC, are 1st Amendment protected associations.

There is “no evidence that by merely wearing [motorcycle club] “colors,” an individual is “involved in or associated with the alleged violent or criminal activity of other [motorcycle club] members. It is a fundamental principle that the government may not impose restrictions on an individual “merely because an individual belong[s] to a group, some members of which committed acts of violence.” In fact, the Supreme Court has long “disapproved governmental action . . . denying rights and privileges solely because of a citizens association with an unpopular organization.” Healy v. James, 408 U.S. 169, 185-86 (1972) (See Coles v. Carlini, U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, Civil No. 10-6132, Opinion, 9/30/2015, p.28)

As the documented cases and history of motorcycle profiling continues to proliferate the time for legislative relief becomes more urgent. The pattern of profiling is undeniable. Motorcycle clubs are 1st Amendment protected associations and membership in a motorcycle club should not mean being subjected to unconstitutional law enforcement tactics. From a public policy perspective such gross mismanagement of public resources cannot be tolerated. The solution is simple and achievable. A law addressing the issue of motorcycle profiling is an empirically proven policy that reduces incidents of abuse at virtually no cost. The time to act is now.

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“This wasn’t the America I fought for…” Says 21 Year Veteran

By Bobby “Bobby C” Colella

For as long as I can remember motorcycles has been a part of my life. During the 70’s, as a kid hanging out with my father and his friends, I have vivid memories of helping them work on their bikes and banging holes into oil can lids, and being on top of the world when they’d let me fill their bikes with oil; or spending quality time with my dad and uncles riding dirt bikes in the Jersey Pine Barrens in the 80’s; to the 90’s when I purchased my first new Harley through the exchange while stationed in Korea. And more recently the early 2000’s when my wife and I rode across the country for our honeymoon.

You see, motorcycles and the people who gravitate towards that lifestyle have always been there for me, during both the good times and the bad times. One of the more memorable events was in 2005. I just returned from my first tour in Iraq and had a lot on my mind and at the suggestion of my wife, I took a few days and rode from Texas to Florida to clear my head and put the war behind me. As the miles clicked by on the odometer, the burdens and worries from a year of war slowly fell to the waste side and after a few thousand miles, I was a much better man for my family, my friends, and my unit.

I have no doubt that this is EXACTLY how many of our returning veterans from today’s wars and from wars past solved their problems. Especially the Vietnam Vets who were cast aside by society upon their return from an unpopular war and left to their own devices. Many of which found comfort in the tight nit group of brothers they found within the motorcycle club community and healing on the open road.

“A Sacrifice I was Willing to Make for the Greater Good”

I ended up serving in the infantry for 21 years and spent a lot of my time overseas helping protect citizens of other countries from threats of brutal dictators like Kim Jung Il in Korea, Saddam Hussein in Iraq, and Slobodan Milosevic in Bosnia and also fought in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 05-06 in Ramadi and Fallujah and 07-08 in Baqubah. While serving, I knew I was forfeiting my personal freedoms as an American to protect and preserve our civil liberties and freedoms on the home front – and like many of you, it was a sacrifice I was willing to make for the greater good of our nation.

Upon leaving the Army in November 2010 I found myself trying to find my place in society. I first worked overseas in Afghanistan as a contractor for a year, and then returned to the U.S. for something a little more 9-5 and less hazardous to my health. I ended up getting a good job and also volunteering with an organization that was helping other veterans reintegrate back into society. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel as if I fit in and ended up leaving the volunteer organization after a few years.

Finding My Place in Civilian Life

As I continued to struggle and find my way I was introduced to some people from church that rode motorcycles and belonged to a patch wearing motorcycle ministry called Bikers for Christ. The pastor was a Vietnam Vet, and though a different war, we had lots in common and quickly formed a bond, and in no time I was wearing a patch and riding with many likeminded people inside the motorcycle club community. Finally, two years into being a civilian and I found a place in the world where I felt like I fit in and felt comfortable. There was structure, discipline, and men who weren’t afraid to tell you what’s on their mind and standup for what they believe in and it all centered on motorcycles and brotherhood.

Not soon after patching in I had a moment of enlightenment that came in the form of a simple sign that said “No Colors” and “No Weapons” allowed when I was denied access to an event simply for what I was wearing. It turns out that the freedom I thought I was fighting for was a myth, especially when it came to the First Amendment and freedom to express yourself.

Once I got home that evening I found myself fuming at the thought of my pastor – a pastor of the church for 30 plus years, and Vietnam vet, along with myself being turned away from a public event because we were both legally carrying a firearm and wearing a patch showing our allegiance to an organization. So the next day I sent an email to the mayor of Deland and also several other city personnel questioning the signs. Over the period of a month I didn’t receive any response, and when I finally did, it was in the form of shifting responsibility of the signs to the event organizer and the city giving me the runaround. My eyes were now opened to this new reality.

My Eyes Were Open to Nationwide Discrimination

Shortly after the “No Colors” incident I read an article in a newspaper that quoted the Daytona Beach Police chief indiscriminately calling ALL motorcycle “gangs” (not clubs) – criminals, and the Ormond Beach city attorney saying that members of a local club, whom I knew personally, were all criminals and had nonexistent rights and asked the community to pick aside (us against them), like they were the enemy during war. As I became more sensitive to these issues I realized this was happening all over America and not only were bikers being denied their First Amendment rights to peaceably assemble and express themselves, but they were also being unjustly stopped, harassed and targeted by police.

This wasn’t the America I fought for, and it certainly wasn’t the America our brothers, fathers, uncles and friends fought and died for either. To deny someone their rights under the assumption that they may abuse them is flat out wrong. If this type of profiling, discrimination, and civil rights denial were to happen to any other segment or sub-culture of American society there would be total outrage, but due to the police and media’s continuous war on bikers, the American public is buying into their false narrative that motorcycle clubs and bikers are domestic terrorist and don’t deserve the freedoms of the average American citizen. How else do you explain the wholesale arrest of 177 bikers in Waco on May 17th, 2015?

Why I Fight for Biker’s Rights

I’ve been out of the army for five years and I finally found my place in the civilian world and the motorcycle club community has become my home. Preserving this lifestyle is a cause I believe is worth fighting for. If I don’t step up and join the biker rights movement, who will? If not now, when? If not this issue, what issue is worth stepping up for? We must be proactive and not reactive; if we are reacting to something it is already too late. This is why I chose to fight for biker rights.

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Washington State Patrol Illegally and Covertly Targeting Motorcycle Rights Activists

By David “Double D” Devereaux

email

Since 2011, the year that the anti-motorcycle profiling bill became law in Washington State, incidents of motorcycle profiling and harassment have dramatically reduced. Although there are still incidents that occur, any charges that are challenged are dismissed and the law has given our state the ability to fight back. Perhaps the biggest change has been the number of incidents involving the Washington State Patrol (WSP). The WSP went from being the most common and egregious profiler in the state to one of the least common. Compliance from the largest law enforcement agency in the state, and the most likely agency to conduct a motorcycle profiling stop, proves that the law prevents most direct and overt profiling stops. Although it would be nice to think that the WSP has changed its mindset, recent events unfortunately suggest that the WSP has merely changed its tactics in an attempt to conceal continued attempts to target motorcycle clubs in violation of the law through covert avenues.

The Story

In July, the East and West Side Confederation of Clubs were planning a joint unity meeting in Ellensberg, Washington, a small city in central Washington. Reservations were made at a local hotel that had a restaurant on its premises, complete with a conference room. When reservations were later canceled by the establishment, there was concern that there may have been local PD involvement. It was decided that a Public Records Act Request to the EPD may reveal whether there was any coercion on the part of the police.

In response to a COC member’s request about any records relating to the COC meeting or the COC generally, a single email was provided by a Captain of the EPD to a number of Sergeants that contained troubling revelations about the WSP. The email reads:

Based on this email, the Washington State COC felt that it was appropriate to follow up with a request to the WSP directly. Why do they have an informant giving information about the COC, a political organization dedicated to legal and legislative issues impacting bikers?

In response, the WSP acknowledged that there are, as articulated in the Withholding Redacted doc, approximately 15 pages of emails, a 51 page PowerPoint presentation, and a few word doc’s. But the WSP also claims these documents are exempt as organized crime intelligence. The WSP response reads:

The following 5 pages describe the names of the records being withheld, all within the Organized Crime Intelligence Unit: click here to review

The WSP is covertly targeting the COC.

The evidence certainly suggests that the WSP is targeting the COC for investigation. It appears that they have an informant providing information about the COC. Moreover, it looks as if they are leading other agencies like the EPD in discriminatory operations and mindset.

The anti-motorcycle profiling law legally prevents the WSP from conducting profiling stops on the side of the road because these stops are publicly visible and often involve video and audio. But attempts to target the COC are occurring covertly and out of the public eye, hiding behind a public records exemption that is intended to preserve investigatory integrity, not hide discriminatory targeting and selective enforcement.

Exempting documents pertaining to the COC, a political organization, in a state with an anti-motorcycle profiling law, is not reasonably defended. There is absolutely no accountability that these exempted documents are not prejudicial or discriminatory, particularly when they are being concealed by the historically most prolific motorcycle profilers agency in the state.

Targeting the COC is Illegal.

The Washington State Confederation of Clubs is a legitimate Washington State nonprofit solely focused on legal and legislative issues that impact motorcyclists. Legitimate nonprofits are exempt from state organized criminal gang statutes. COC members include Christian clubs, Veterans Clubs, Women’s clubs, 1% clubs, clean and sober clubs, and plain old riding clubs. The COC’s focus and dedication to the democratic process is demonstrated by its active role in the legislature and the courts. The COC spearheaded the collaborative grassroots effort that resulted in the law against motorcycle profiling. The COC also has a long list of legal victories against profiling and discrimination. No club to club business is discussed. There is a COC attorney present at every meeting to insure compliance with all laws and statutes.

1.Targeting the COC is a violation of RCW 43.19.101:

(3) For the purposes of this section, “motorcycle profiling” means the illegal use of the fact that a person rides a motorcycle or wears motorcycle-related paraphernalia as a factor in deciding to stop and question, take enforcement action, arrest, or search a person or vehicle with or without a legal basis under the United States Constitution or Washington state Constitution.

If membership and affiliation with motorcycle clubs is a factor in deciding to take law enforcement action, like investigating the COC for criminal activity, then the WSP is in violation of the law. Of course, if there is specific and articulable suspicion that criminal activity is occurring then reasonable investigation is warranted. But the Public Records Act exemption being asserted could too easily conceal discriminatory policing and actions motivated by illegal profiling. Hiding behind the exemption also makes accountability that training being provided related to the COC is consistent with 43.101.419 impossible.

A recent public records case in Eastern Washington demonstrates the potential for abuse related to Public Records Act exemptions. The Kennewick police Department was withholding documents related to targeting the COC based on the same gang investigation exemption. Ultimately, the court ordered that each document be evaluated to determine the viability of the exemption. All of the requested documents were ultimately released by court order and Kennewick ultimately paid $45,000 to settle the records act violation.

2.Targeting the COC is a violation of the 1st Amendment.

The Confederation of Clubs is a political organization and COC meetings and events are protected political speech. Political speech and associations are the most important forms of Constitutionally protected speech and are therefore given the highest level of scrutiny. Political speech critical of government agents, like law enforcement, is vital to the preservation of a free society. Justice Black famously states:

“Doubtlessly, dictators have to stamp out causes and beliefs which they deem subversive to their evil regimes. But governmental suppression of causes and beliefs seems to me to be the very antithesis of what our Constitution stands for. The choice expressed in the First Amendment in favor of free expression was made against a turbulent background by men such as Jefferson, Madison, and Mason – men who believed that loyalty to the provisions of this Amendment was the best way to assure a long life for this new nation and its Government…. The First Amendment provides the only kind of security system that can preserve a free government – one that leaves the way wide open for people to favor, discuss, advocate, or incite causes and doctrines however obnoxious and antagonistic such views may be to the rest of us.”

No doubt law enforcement will point to their belief that motorcycle clubs are gangs or are violent. But generalized statements not situationally specific are not relevant or enough to overwhelm the right to free speech. Arguing a propensity to provoke lawless behavior does not diminish this 1st Amendment protection. The Supreme Court siting Tinker (1969):

“An “undifferentiated fear or apprehension of disturbance is not enough to overcome the right to freedom of expression.”….There may be some persons about with such lawless and violent proclivities, but that is an insufficient base upon which to erect, consistently with constitutional values, a governmental power to force persons who wish to ventilate their dissident views into avoiding particular forms of expression.”

Conclusions

Police harassment in the form of infiltrating or targeting the COC is a serious violation of state law and the 1st Amendment. Targeting a community that mobilized politically as victims of discriminatory policing is highly suspect. The COC has been very vocal and critical of law enforcement profiling and discrimination. The anti-motorcycle profiling law was a major victory for motorcyclists in Washington and an effort that the WSP fought hard trying to stop. Public Records are one of the best mechanisms available to encourage accountability and compliance with the law. Exempting documents relating to targeting a political organization traditionally critical of discriminatory policing ought to concern every person that believes in the freedoms of expression and association.

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Successful Protest Lifts No Motorcycle Colors Policy

By David “Double D” Devereaux

No Colors Reversed Through Grassroots Activism

This is a story about responsible grassroots political activism and a successful protest that resulted in reversing a policy that prohibited motorcycle-related clothing (“No Colors”) from the Swiss, an iconic establishment in Tacoma, Washington. The Swiss protest demonstrates the power and influence of a unified motorcycling community and directly refutes the myths and stereotypes that fuel discrimination in the first place.

Iconic Bar Had No Reason for “No Colors” Policy

In 2010, the Washington Council of Clubs began to receive reports that motorcycle club members wearing their colors were being denied access to the Swiss. Located in downtown Tacoma, the Swiss is a landmark bar and grill frequented by a cross-section of people ranging from college students to bikers. After some investigation it was clear that this new policy was not based on a specific or particularized threat or incident. Rather, it was based on the stereotypical belief that clubs were prone to violence when they gather in the same place.

No Colors Protest Run Full PackThe COC decided that we would organize a protest run to the Swiss in an attempt to get the ownership to reverse the discriminatory policy. The COC gathered early on a Saturday afternoon at the 48 Street (located a couple miles away) in order to stage the pack and emphasize responsible behavior. Don’t give law enforcement a legitimate excuse to derail your protest and diminish your efforts.

The pack of 200 plus bikes arrived at the Swiss and in an orderly fashion made its way to the front door. The COC determined beforehand that I would be the designated spokesperson, accompanied by our attorney Martin Fox. Martin and I went through the front door and were immediately stopped by the owner Jack. We asked if he’d step outside and have a conversation to which he agreed.

No Colors Protest was Peaceful and Effective As we stepped into the sunlight we were surrounded by over 200 patch holders and motorcyclists in unified protest. I calmly asked why the Swiss was denying access to club members and if there was a specific reason for this No Colors policy. Jack responded that his employees were concerned about conflicts between clubs based on general stereotypes mostly driven by the media.

Although it is certainly understandable for an individual to protect his employees and patrons, it is not acceptable to deny access solely based on stereotype as opposed to specific and particularized reasoning based on behavior. I explained that motorcycle colors were protected by the 1st Amendment and that we were peacefully requesting that he lift his No Colors policy in order to give us a chance to prove that he had no reason for concern.

A Unified Community Can Effect Real and Lasting Change

Jack listened to our reasoning and I think he respected the fact that we were willing to responsibly unify in order to protest our concerns. In the end, Jack lifted his policy and allowed us access to the Swiss. To this day motorcycle colors are allowed in the Swiss.

No Colors Lifted and Patcholders now work at the SwissIn fact, motorcycle club members continue to patronize the Swiss and Jack has even hired patch holders as doormen and security. The Washington COC proved that grassroots activism can be an effective tool in the fight against discrimination and result in meaningful and lasting change.

Legislative relief is ultimately the best way to protect motorcycle rights. But grassroots protests can be important for two reasons. First, successful protests generated more support and participation from the motorcycle club community because success instills hope and empowerment. Second, protests can change the perception and mindset of owners one establishment at a time. This is particularly important at a time motorcycle clubs are facing increased scrutiny and unconstitutional access restrictions nationwide. Grassroots political movements are proving to be the best mechanism motorcyclists have to protect our civil liberties and our culture going forward.

No Colors No More Patch holders patronize and even work at the Swiss thanks to Grassroots

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