Monthly Archives: May 2016

Victory For Kansas City Motorcyclists-Rockfest Lifts “No Colors” Ban.

By David “Double D” Devereaux

2016-05-25_11-53-33

Promotors of Rockfest, held in Kansas City Saturday, May 14th, originally posted an announcement online that no motorcycle club colors would be allowed into the event. The Kansas Confederation of Clubs, National Council of Clubs, and concerned motorcyclists in Kansas immediately responded with a mobilized effort to change this discriminatory policy. Within 24 hours of the announcement being posted, it was reported to the MPP that a member of the Kansas Motorcycle Club community talked directly to the promoters and made “convincing arguments” ultimately resulting in an agreement to lift the “no colors” ban.

Following the announcement of a motorcycle club colors ban at Rockfest, the KCOC Spokesperson informed the MPP that he had sent an email to Bob Edwards, Program Director of 98.9 The Rock, the promoter of Rockfest.

Mr. Edwards:

It was with some surprise that we in the Motorcycle Club community learned that Rockfest is imposing a ban on members of Motorcycle Clubs wearing their colors to your event. To our knowledge, this is the first time such a ban has been publicized; several members have stated that they observed colors from several area clubs at last year’s Rockfest. As far as we know, there were no incidents reported and no “tension” was evident as a result.

Your website states that Rockfest is a “colors neutral” show. It further expresses The Rock’s “utmost respect for our local clubs” yet asks that we “leave the colors at home”. Being a “colors neutral” show is one thing, however, you cannot both have “utmost respect” for Motorcycle Clubs and simultaneously impose a colors ban. This ban is tantamount to profiling motorcycle club members based on how they look and prevents them from exercising their rights of free association and expression guaranteed under the First Amendment to the US Constitution. It is also a direct insult to Motorcycle Club members and shows the utmost disrespect to the entire Motorcycle Club community.

Please remember that this ban affects a significant portion of your listeners, customers of your various sponsors and fans of many of the bands scheduled to perform at Rockfest.

The Kansas Confederation of Clubs and the National Council of Clubs condemns in the strongest terms this outrageous ban on Motorcycle Clubs wearing their colors to Rockfest. News of this ban and our reaction to it is being disseminated by the most expeditious means possible to every Motorcycle Club in this region. We strongly encourage you to reconsider this ban and allow Motorcycle Club members to attend in whatever attire they deem appropriate in their individual judgement.

Sincerely,

Brian Cohoon

Spokesperson

Kansas Confederation of Clubs

Region II, National Council of Clubs

The KCOC also sent the text of the letter to Worth Harley Davidson, one of the sponsors of the event. The KCOC was also in near immediate communication with COC representatives in Missouri and to every club that participates in the Kansas COC. The KCOC also had plans to send the text of the letter to every band that is scheduled to perform at Rockfest. Finally, the KCOC posted text of the letter on the News portion of www.kscoc.net.

In addition, the Chair of the Missouri COC also emailed Edwards multiple times during the day following the KCOC’s initial contact.

Later that same day the KCOC Spokesperson told the MPP, “I learned a couple of hours ago that they’ve lifted the colors ban. Apparently, from what I’m told, a member of one of the clubs in the area called the promoter and made a “compelling argument” for lifting the ban.”

Reports from the KCOC confirm that Rockfest lifted the ban during the event. Motorcycle club members in their colors were visible throughout the event. Importantly, there were absolutely zero problems or incidents.

The rapid mobilization of the motorcycle club community in Kansas in response to a blatantly discriminatory policy based on nothing more than stereotype is further testament to the power of grassroots movements to effect immediate change utilizing the democratic process. “At the very least, the recipients have a much better idea, I’m sure, of how such a ban goes over as well as a taste for how quickly and forcefully we can react”, says the KCOC.

kansas-coc-lifts-no-colors-rockfest-2016-zero-issues

The post Victory For Kansas City Motorcyclists-Rockfest Lifts “No Colors” Ban. appeared first on Motorcycle Profiling Project.

Source:: Victory For Kansas City Motorcyclists-Rockfest Lifts “No Colors” Ban.

Maryland Governor signs anti-profiling bill into law

By Richard Lester

MARYLAND GOVERNOR SIGNS ANTI-PROFILING BILL INTO LAW

Hundreds of bikers descended on the State House in Annapolis on Thursday, May 19, 2016 for a historic bill signing ceremony as Governor Larry Hogan signed only the second Motorcycle Profiling measure in the country into law in Maryland.

The motorcycle anti-profiling legislation passed unanimously through both chambers of the legislature, without opposition from law enforcement, and emulates anti-profiling legislation passed in the state of Washington in 2011.

Spearheaded by the Confederation of Clubs of Maryland with the help of ABATE of Maryland, and with assistance from other COCs across the country, HB785/SB233 passed through the legislative process without a single no vote; 47-0 in the Senate on 4/4 and 137-0 in the House on 4/7.

The legislation requires a specified statement condemning motorcycle profiling to be included in police policies and require training of officers on “motorcycle profiling,” defined in the legislation as “The arbitrary use of the fact that an individual rides a motorcycle or wears motorcycle-related clothing or paraphernalia as a factor in deciding to stop, question, take enforcement action, arrest, or search the individual.”

Previously, the COC and ABATE worked effectively against motorcycle profiling and discrimination by passing legislation prohibiting motorcycle-only checkpoints, which also passed the Maryland legislature with unanimous approval, and next on the political agenda will be an equal access bill to prevent anti-biker discrimination in public accommodations, such as No Colors policies by businesses open to the public.

THE AIM/NCOM MOTORCYCLE NEWS SERVICE is brought to you by Aid to Injured Motorcyclists (A.I.M.) and the National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM), and is sponsored by the Law Offices of Richard M. Lester. For more information, or if you’ve been involved in any kind of accident, call us at 1-(800) ON-A-BIKE or visit us on our website at www.ONABIKE.com.

The post Maryland Governor signs anti-profiling bill into law appeared first on AIM & NCOM News.

Source:: Maryland Governor signs anti-profiling bill into law

Florida Media and Police Unconstitutionally Targeting Motorcycle Clubs

By David “Double D” Devereaux

ABC Action News in Tampa Bay recently released an expose titled “Uncovering the Tampa Bay firefighters who run with criminal motorcycle gangs” asserting that club members in public safety positions has law enforcement concerned. A few days after this expose, Tampa Bay PD tased and arrested a member of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club at a local bar claiming that he had resisted arrest and assaulted police officers. However, video footage capturing the incident shows officers tasing the club member while he had his hands behind his back in compliance with the officer’s demands. Although the officer’s actions are inexcusable and deserving of civil and criminal liability, the actions of ABC Action News are equally deplorable and should be condemned in the court of public opinion.

ABC Action News in Tampa Bay is a primary example of promoting extremely irresponsible journalism in favor of tabloid-like sensationalism. This attempt to spread fear, as opposed to truth, furthers a stereotype fueling an epidemic of motorcycle profiling and discrimination nationwide.

ABC Action News, flying in the face of fundamental constitutional principles, condemns and judges men dedicated to public safety. Men that have no criminal records. Men dedicated to saving human lives. Men that are Captains of Fire Departments in the Tampa Bay Area. Suggesting that restrictions should be imposed on these individuals, restrictions like access to public safety employment opportunities, merely based on their membership in a motorcycle club, violates the doctrine of personal guilt and the rights to expression and association embedded in the 1st Amendment.

Motorcycle clubs, including those clubs labeled organized or criminal gangs by authorities, 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 citizen’s association with an unpopular organization.” Healy v. James, 408 U.S. 169, 185-86 (1972).

To impose restrictions on any person who wears the insignia of a motorcycle club, “without regard to or knowledge of that individual’s specific intent to engage in the alleged violent activities committed by other members, is antithetical to the basic principles enshrined in the First Amendment and repugnant to the fundamental doctrine of personal guilt that is a hallmark of American jurisprudence. (See Coles v. Carlini, U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, Civil No. 10-6132, Opinion, 9/30/2015, p.28)

But instead of promoting the fundamental rights protected by the 1st Amendment, ironically the same rights protecting a free press, ABC Action News has made the conscious choice to fuel hyperbole and discriminatory stereotyping by suggesting mere membership in a motorcycle club, even absent any evidence of individualized intent to commit a crime, is sufficient to justify termination from the Fire Department.

Moreover, the tangible implications of promoting baseless fear should drive an ethical and moral obligation in the news media to avoid irresponsible sensationalism. Is it a coincidence that a few days following the ABC Action News expose a firefighter that is also a member of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club was tased while he was complying, with his hands behind his back? Does public perception driven by sensationalism make law enforcement abuses like this more likely because they think no one will sympathize with a biker?

Public perception and opinion in many ways determines policy. The role of the news media should be to inform the public as accurately as possible in hopes of encouraging ethical public policy. ABC Action News is an embarrassment to journalism and outrageously ignorant of the same 1st Amendment principles that protect their ability to spread irresponsible tabloid media.

The Supreme Court has long disapproved of governmental action denying rights and privileges solely because of a citizen’s association with an unpopular organization. ABC Action News should be dedicated to reporting that governmental discrimination and profiling, even against motorcycle clubs, is inconsistent with the Supreme Court’s long held mandate. But that would require focusing on the importance of fundamental liberties as opposed to the commercial value of abhorrent tabloid journalism.

The post Florida Media and Police Unconstitutionally Targeting Motorcycle Clubs appeared first on Motorcycle Profiling Project.

Source:: Florida Media and Police Unconstitutionally Targeting Motorcycle Clubs

Maryland’s Anti-Motorcycle Profiling Bill Signed By The Governor!

By David “Double D” Devereaux

Today, Maryland became the second state in America to pass a law addressing the issue of motorcycle profiling. Senate Bill 233 landed on the Governor’s desk after unanimously passing through both chambers of the statehouse and was signed into law a few minutes before 11am. The law goes into effect in October of this year, as do most laws passed in Maryland.

Significantly, the Maryland Confederation of Clubs, with the collaborative support of ABATE, was able to pass anti-profiling legislation on the second attempt. In 2015, the Senate passed a similar bill unanimously but ran out of time in the House. Maryland’s success should serve as solidified proof that grassroots manpower movements work, and they can work very quickly.

This year, time was on the movement’s side and the bill was better positioned as a result of strategic sponsorship decisions made after the 2015 session. The Maryland COC and ABATE initiated a collaborative grassroots legislative campaign founded on a solid pattern of evidence and relentless lobbying. In fact, the Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Representative Vallario, co-sponsored the bill. Impressively, 18 of 23 House Judiciary Committee members joined Vallario as sponsors on the bill.

The MPP is proud to have been a part of Maryland’s efforts and going forward other states should gain confidence that an aggressive lobbying strategy can work well and work quickly. We now have anti-motorcycle profiling laws coast to coast. And the momentum being created is undeniable. There is currently Federal legislation that recently received sponsorship making motorcycle profiling a national policy discussion.

Congratulations Maryland! Your state serves as a model for an effective and collaborative grassroots legislative campaign and lobbying strategy.

Who’s next?

The post Maryland’s Anti-Motorcycle Profiling Bill Signed By The Governor! appeared first on Motorcycle Profiling Project.

Source:: Maryland’s Anti-Motorcycle Profiling Bill Signed By The Governor!

National Council of Clubs Announces Unified Protest Against Motorcycle Profiling

By David “Double D” Devereaux

The National Council of Clubs held a press conference at Shamrock Cycles in Austin, Texas on May 17, 2016, the 1st Anniversary of the tragedy in Waco, to announce a National Protest Against Motorcycle Profiling and Discrimination to take place at the ROT Rally in Austin, June 9-12.

Representatives from motorcycle clubs across the country met in Austin to present a unified voice in defense of the community. Motorcycle profiling is a national epidemic impacting motorcyclists coast to coast. There is a well established pattern of evidence proving law enforcement consistently targets individuals for no other reason than their appearance or membership in a motorcycle club.

These clubs are a microcosm of America, comprised of riders from all walks of life. In attendance were Christian clubs, Military Veterans clubs, Clean and Sober clubs, Child Abuse Assistance Clubs, 1% clubs, and riding clubs reflective of the rich culture and history of our country and the multitude of personal interests available to us all.

Significantly, representatives of many national organizations vilified by law enforcement and the media were represented and standing together projecting a unified voice and agreement on the issue of discrimination and profiling. This press conference was also tangible proof that clubs that allegedly do not associate with each other can peacefully come together and unify around common ground issues that impact the entire community.

Double D explained, “To be clear, the National Council of Clubs does not speak for any one club or on behalf of any one club. The NCOC represents the collective voice of the community united around the idea that membership in motorcycle clubs and expression of that membership should be fundamentally protected by the 1st Amendment and not used as a profiling factor.”

Speakers presenting at the press conference were David “Double D” Devereaux (NCOC Spokesperson), Brent Coon (NCOC legal advisor and Waco Civil defense), Susan Criss (former Texas District Court judge and Waco criminal defense), Dr. Will Dulaney (Ph.D. International Security and qualified expert witness), Frank McIlhaney (Shield of Faith Ministries and Waco AID) and Wade Eldridge (Colorado COC and NCOC attorney).

The NCOC chose the 1st Anniversary of Waco to announce a national protest. “The suffering of innocents at the hands of law enforcement and the criminal justice system in Waco is an outrageous example of the motorcycle profiling epidemic. The 1st anniversary of this tragedy is an appropriate time to bring attention to the civil rights deprivations occurring in Waco and the rest of the country.”

Mass Arrests, Probable Cause, And Ignoring Foundational Constitutional Protections

A primary message delivered by the NCOC, echoing legal and criminal justice experts around America, related to the blatant civil liberty violations involved in arresting nearly 200 people without any individualized proof or evidence of wrongdoing and issuing identical $1 million punitive bonds. Most were arrested for no other reason than their affiliation with a motorcycle club in blatant violation of fundamental principles like the freedom of association and the doctrine of personal guilt.

The NCOC argues, “Video clearly shows the majority of persons present that day running away from a conflict. The majority of those present should have been questioned and released. That’s what normally happens when a violent incident occurs in public. Free societies do not round-up and arrest masses of innocent bystanders in hopes of netting the guilty. In a free society, the suffering of one innocent person is supposed to outweigh the public interest in prosecuting the guilty. The ends, as they say, do not justify the means. ”

NCOC Challenges Media To Investigate, Not Sensationalize

The NCOC, in answer to why the mugshots of those arrested in Waco were rotated 24/7, placed responsibility on the media for intentionally choosing to sensationalize this incident as opposed to performing the investigatory function the news media was intended for.

Double D said, “A much better use of the media’s time, as opposed to sensationalism, would be to investigate the many questions that have yet to be answered. Why did law enforcement set up on the perimeter of a well publicized political gathering instead of making a visible presence to prevent something from happening that they thought may happen.”

“Instead of protecting and serving people, they shot and killed people”, says Brent Coon.

In conclusion, the NCOC vowed to return to Texas every year on the Anniversary of the Waco tragedy until the matter is resolved.

The post National Council of Clubs Announces Unified Protest Against Motorcycle Profiling appeared first on Motorcycle Profiling Project.

Source:: National Council of Clubs Announces Unified Protest Against Motorcycle Profiling

Fight Against Motorcycle Profiling Showing Success in Utah

By David “Double D” Devereaux

An organized and mobilized response by motorcyclists in Nevada and Utah protesting the policy of motorcycle profiling embraced by law enforcement in St George, Utah appears to be having success. Recent grassroots motorcycle efforts culminated in a protest run to St. George on May 7, 2016 in which there were zero examples of profiling or harassment and a tangible effort by the St. George PD to change their behavior and treatment of motorcycle club members riding in their town.

On April 23, 2016, the Motorcycle Profiling Project released a response to recent public statements by the St. George PD made to Hailey Higgins of ABC4 Utah in which they were embracing a paradigm and policy of profiling. The statement, in part reads:

“Sgt. Williams of the SGPD made statements…admitting to targeting individuals because they are members of motorcycle clubs in order to discourage them from riding their motorcycles in St. George.”

“The arrogance of these statements proves a fundamental lack of understanding related to basic constitutional principles related to the 1st Amendment and the 4th Amendment. Utah motorcyclists should unify in an effort to pass legislation addressing the issue of motorcycle profiling and reduce the mentality currently exercised by the St. George PD.”

The MPP response was widely accessed through search engines and social media. Local news media and news outlets were also sent the story. The blatantly discriminatory statements made by a Sgt. were widely exposed.

In fact, many motorcyclists were outraged by Sgt. Williams statements and commented extensively on social media with opinions of their own.

On April 28th the MPP released a video of a highly inflammatory profiling stop involving the Utah Highway Patrol and the SGPD on Facebook. This video was obtained as a result of a public information request made by activists that have learned the skills to obtain proof that profiling is occurring. This video was widely viewed and again sent to the SGPD.

Motorcycle rights activists in Las Vegas capitalized on the momentum and organized a run to protest St. George’s policies of discrimination on May 7th. Although the weather was bad, approximately 100 motorcycles made the trip from as far away as Las Vegas to join the protest.

The motorcycle club member that organized the protest has reported to the MPP that there was not a single incident of profiling in or around St. George during the protest. In fact, SGPD Sgt. Hepler reached out to event organizers before the event to ensure them that there would be no profiling issues and even suggested less congested routes due to another unrelated event happening that same day in St. George.

According to the event organizer:

It was the most respectful polite conversation I’ve ever had. Sgt. Hepler called to let us know they were having an International Ironman Competition and to give me best directions so there would be no conflict. He said to call him if any cops gave us any trouble and said he wanted to come by and shake my hand if possible.”

Importantly, the MPP video released on April 28th reveals officers on the scene confirming that Sgt. Hepler was the source of the policy of mandatory profiling of motorcycle club members that led to the discriminatory stop in the first place. This same Sgt. acted in a completely different manner when a grassroots movement exposed an irrefutable policy of profiling.

The protest ride organizer says, “Sgt. Hepler was at the shop where the protest ride began when I arrived. He later texted that it looked like a good turnout and said to have a fun and safe ride.” And Sgt. Hepler lived up to his word. As stated, there were zero profiling incidents that day in St. George.

These results are a testament to an organized and active grassroots movement. From political media to the feet on the ground, motorcyclists are responsibly protesting discrimination and achieving near instantaneous results in St. George. Time will tell if this change in behavior will be long-term. What does appear to be long-term is the resolve of the motorcycle club community to fight for their civil liberties.

The post Fight Against Motorcycle Profiling Showing Success in Utah appeared first on Motorcycle Profiling Project.

Source:: Fight Against Motorcycle Profiling Showing Success in Utah