Monthly Archives: September 2016

Understanding the Waco Biker Prosecution

By David “Double D” Devereaux

On May 17, 2015, Paul Landers was looking for a place to hang a Texas Confederation of Clubs and Independents banner in preparation for a scheduled political gathering to discuss motorcycle rights issues when gunfire erupted at a Twin Peaks in Waco, Texas. Paul was there to provide the region updates following the National Coalition of Motorcyclists National Convention that was held in Denver the previous week.

Despite being a dedicated political rights advocate with an indisputable track record, Paul and 176 other individuals were arrested and charged under the state’s organized crime statute for engaging in organized crime and committing or conspiring to commit capital murder. 154 of those arrested have had their cases presented to a grand jury, have been indicted, and are currently awaiting trial.

The significance of Waco to the motorcycle club community cannot be over-stated. What law could possibly allow 177 motorcyclists to be arrested for mere association? A simple analysis of the Texas Organized Crime Statute is key to understanding the prosecutor’s strategy and the legal argument 154 defendants will have to overcome.

Understanding the Texas Organized Crime Statute

The statute underlying the charge that 177 people were engaging in organized criminal activity in Waco on May 17, 2015 is broad and all consuming.

Sec. 71.02. ENGAGING IN ORGANIZED CRIMINAL ACTIVITY.

  • A person commits an offense if, with the intent to establish, maintain, or participate in a combination or in the profits of a combination or as a member of a criminal street gang, the person commits or conspires to commit one or more of the following:

  • murder, capital murder, arson, aggravated robbery, robbery, burglary, theft, aggravated kidnapping, kidnapping, aggravated assault, aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault, continuous sexual abuse of young child or children, solicitation of a minor, forgery, deadly conduct, assault punishable as a Class A misdemeanor, burglary of a motor vehicle, or unauthorized use of a motor vehicle;
  • “Conspires to commit” means that a person agrees with one or more persons that they or one or more of them engage in conduct that would constitute the offense and that person and one or more of them perform an overt act in pursuance of the agreement. An agreement constituting conspiring to commit may be inferred from the acts of the

Texas Statute says “Criminal street gang” means three or more persons having a common identifying sign or symbol or an identifiable leadership who continuously or regularly associate in the commission of criminal activities.

The conspiracy clause of the statute doesn’t require an individual to actually participate in the commission of the actual violent act at issue. Rather “conspire to commit” requires that a person agree to commit the crime and then that person and one or more persons “perform an overt act in pursuance of the agreement.”

Importantly, this agreement doesn’t have to be tangible and there doesn’t have to be direct proof that an agreement was made. “An agreement constituting conspiring to commit may be inferred from the acts of the parties.”

Court Says Attending the Waco TCOC&I Meeting with any Knowledge of Tension Between Bandidos and Cossacks is an “Agreement To Conspire”

In the case of a motorcyclist present at the Twin Peaks on May 17th, merely being affiliated with an organization labeled a gang that allegedly was involved in the violence that day was considered to be probable cause for an arrest. The statute clearly requires that an agreement be made. So how has this probable cause justification held up to examining trial scrutiny? Where is proof of an agreement?

Remember, the agreement can be inferred from the act of the parties. Consider a married couple (last name English, also members of a club) arrested in Waco for merely being present that challenged the basis for probable cause in their examining trial. After all, the prosecution admits there was no evidence of a direct crime.

But the prosecutor countered, and the court agreed, that it was improbable the couple wasn’t knowledgeable of club tensions in Texas. Yet they still willingly attended a meeting in Waco where conflict between these clubs could easily erupt. Basically, the agreement was inferred from the act of attending the meeting regardless of whether the couple actually participated in any actions that lead to death.

Prosecution’s Theory Is Based On Pure Assumption

Recent alleged tensions between the Bandidos and the Cossacks were widely reported in Texas newspapers and on television news stations preceding Waco. Upholding probable cause based on the assumption of knowledge gained from news reports is specious at best. The court is assuming that everyone pays attention to the news and that everyone attending the event knew the Cossacks would attend the meeting. Remember, the Cossacks were not members of the TCOC&I and had not attended meetings in the past.

Texas Statute Threatens Fundamental 1st Amendment Freedoms

Any statute that allows mere association to be a criminal act is far too broad and overly restrictive of the 1st Amendment. There is no requirement of personal guilt. Assumptions of knowledge and membership in a motorcycle club should not be considered sufficient to establish that an individual conspired to commit capital murder.

Motorcycle clubs, including those clubs labeled organized or criminal gangs by authorities, are 1st Amendment protected associations. Restrictions solely based on association in a motorcycle club violate the 1st Amendment.

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 permit [law enforcement officers] 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 NJ, Civil No. 10-6132, Opinion, 9/30/2015, p.28)

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UPDATE: SDPD Won’t Return Chosen Few MC Colors After Profiling Stop

By David “Double D” Devereaux

The story relating to 2 members of the Chosen Few Motorcycle Club that were profiled in San Diego last week continues to develop. Although both men were arrested for wearing rings as brass knuckles (find the previous story here), including wedding rings, the District Attorney is only pursuing charges against one member for a decorative whip and keychain. Both items were zip tied to the bike nullifying the ability to use either as a weapon.

The member being charged with 2 felony crimes is employed as a professor and has no criminal record. Internal Affairs and Citizen Review Board Complaints have also been filed. Most troubling, it appears that one detective in particular has been targeting and harassing members of the Chosen Few MC in San Diego.

SDPD Targeting the Chosen Few MC?

According to the professor and Chosen Few member being charged,

“It is interesting that the detective behind the scene, Timothy Coyle, is the same detective who has been harassing all the San Diego Chosen Few members. And the DA is the same DA (J. McLaughlin) who is prosecuting another one of our members who was jammed up under similar profiling circumstances by the same “crime suppression” unit.”

These concerns are definitely worth exploring. It is clear that police were conducting surveillance based on appearance, not behavior. A minor traffic infraction was used to conduct a stop to harass and investigate based on a discriminatory stereotype.

Unreasonable Seizure? Police Won’t Return Chosen Few Colors or Other Property.

According to the professor, neither member has gotten back their rings, phones, or Chosen Few colors. One motorcycle is also still being held. This is despite the fact that the decorative keychain and whip have zero to do with any other property police seized. One of the men isn’t even being charged. There is no argument for these items being part of an investigation.

Importantly, the neither man was wearing his colors at the time of the traffic stop. They were stored in saddle bags. Of course they were being surveyed and had Chosen Few MC insignia on their motorcycles so they were identified as 1%’ers before they ever got on their bikes.

Fear of Retaliation?

Does the SDPD have a vendetta? The professor writes,

“The SDPD has an issue with the Chosen MC currently and I am not sure where this active vendetta came from; they are arresting us for the weakest of reasons and charging us with the highest possible charges. We all work, we all have families, and we do not have a history of being trouble makers in San Diego. Most of us are former military and served honorably as well. They are trying to ruin the lives of good men, who will have difficulty finding jobs if a felony is put on their record. How does that help the public? I have filed a complaint with Internal affairs as well, and I am afraid once the cops figure I have done so they are going retaliate. No crimes have been committed by us, it is simply because of that 1%ER status that they consider us the enemy.”

Conclusions

Targeting the Chosen Few MC is an example of selective enforcement in violation of the 14th Amendment. The Chosen Few is a constitutionally protected association and expression of that association is fundamentally protected by the 1st Amendment. The SDPD should demand that their officers immediately cease and desist all profiling of motorcyclists and targeting of the Chosen Few MC.

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F%*K The Spokesman Review For Disrespecting Fallen Gypsy Joker

By David “Double D” Devereaux

The Spokesman Review used William C. Casteel’s tragic death on Sunday, August 28th as an opportunity to spout sensationalized rhetoric that had zero relevance to the accident.

The Spokesman Review frames Casteel as a Gypsy Joker motorcycle “gang” member with a criminal record instead of as a motorcyclist and human being that was tragically killed when he was forced to lay his motorcycle down when an automobile turned in front of him.

The Spokesman Review is a primary example of media sensationalizing motorcycle club culture and, in this case, completely disrespecting the facts. More outraging is using a man’s tragic death as an opportunity to disparage his life.

I knew this man. On numerous occasions I trusted him with my life when I rode my motorcycle 2 feet off his back wheel. I like to be at the front of the pack. Who doesn’t? But I remember how I always knew exactly what was happening in the pack because he communicated so well. He was one with his motorcycle. I respected the way he rode a bike.

I don’t give a f*#k what mistakes people think he made in his life. To me they’re not relevant. He paid tenfold for anything he ever did do. He was only 47 when he died. He was a righteous man that had more class than 99% of all people.

So, F*#K THE SPOKESMAN REVIEW! BLOW ME!

Rest in Peace Billy.

With Deep Respect,

Double D

Read the bullsh!t article here

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SDPD Arrests Motorcyclists- Says Wedding Rings Are Brass Knuckles?

By David “Double D” Devereaux

On September 9th, 2016 at least 5 SDPD officers conducted a profiling stop on 2 members of the Chosen Few Motorcycle Club and arrested them for participation in a criminal street gang. These men committed no crimes and had no criminal records but were still given excessive bail.

This type of behavior by police deprives citizen’s basic civil liberties and risks exposure to civil liability claims against government agencies and their employees. Legislation prohibiting the practice of motorcycle profiling and providing victims an avenue of relief is the best opportunity to alleviate civil rights violations and the liability that follows.

The Story

The MPP received a letter from one of the victims describing the incident in detail.

Two members of the Chosen Few MC were patronizing the Off Base bar on Miramar Road in San Diego. These men noticed that SDPD units had been posted up outside and we’re obviously observing them for several hours as they socialized in the bar. When these two men decided to leave they were not concerned with being pulled over because neither of them had drank any alcohol and neither of them even had a criminal record.

But being 1%’ers is enough for the SDPD. Less than a block after exiting Off Base, “the police unit that had been watching us for several hours (yes we could see him) turned his lights on” writes one of the men. “Officer Wolff from the “SDPD Crime suppression” unit told me he stopped me because of “my loud pipes and my whip”. There was no decibel meter in sight, my pipes are stock, and my whip is a decorative one that is approx. 24 inches and zip tied to my front brake so therefore not accessible.”

The Arrest

Both members were arrested and searched without consent. One member was charged with possessing a slingshot- the decorative zip-tied whip- and both men were charged with possessing brass knuckles for wearing rings, including wedding rings. Both men were also given gang enhancements for participating in a criminal street gang. Both men were also given $120,000 bail.

The police seized rings, cell phones, club colors, and even impounded a motorcycle as evidence when they couldn’t open the saddle bags.

The SDPD attempted to take pictures of the men’s tattoos and the men refused. “It was at this point I realized they were completely out of order and refused. They then left me in the squad car handcuffed in their parking lot for more than an hour. Officers Rojas, Wolf and SGT James Johnson were involved in my arrest, and there is an addition two officers involved in my friend’s” says one of the men.

Obvious Case Of Profiling and Discrimination

This is a text book example of both motorcycle and racial profiling.

Loud pipes and decorations were used as clear pretexts for harassing and arresting two Chosen Few MC members that they had been observing for hours. Neither of these men had criminal records. They were targeted because they were members of a 1% motorcycle club, not their behavior. To consider a decoration a slingshot and wedding rings brass knuckles is absurd. To add a gang enhancement based on membership in a constitutionally protected association is deplorable.

“They are causing financial distress to people with zero criminal background, all for being members of a motorcycle club which by law is legal and not recognized as a criminal gang” writes one member.

And this incident may go beyond motorcycle profiling. According to one member, an educated professor, “This crime suppression unit has been racially and community profiling members of my club. We are a racially mixed club and yet they only arrest the black members. They are out of control are not serving the public with these tactics.”

SDPD Has History of Documented Abuse

Profiling and discrimination is nothing new in San Diego. The SDPD has a documented history of abusive law enforcement practices and misconduct. A recent US Department of Justice audit concluded:

“Federal investigators looking into recent officer misconduct within the San Diego Police Department found officers were not held accountable and once they broke the rules, the misconduct continued undetected for years.”

As a recent guest of the San Diego Confederation of Clubs, I have heard firsthand accounts of profiling and discrimination of motorcyclists in the San Diego area proving that this incident with the Chosen Few is not isolated. This type of misconduct must stop and legislators and judges must ensure accountability so the SDPD’s abusive profiling practices don’t continue un-checked.

Conclusions

All charges should be dropped against these two men and all officers involved should be reprimanded. The SDPD should immediately educate it’s officers in order to halt this epidemic in San Diego. Expressing freedom of association is protected by the 1st Amendment and selective enforcement of the law is prohibited by the 14th Amendment.

The reality is motorcycle profiling is an epidemic in many parts of California. The veil needs to be lifted and exposed. Most incidents remain unreported which only compounds accountability and misconduct issues. Exposing the pattern of evidence also means legislative change is more likely. Legislation prohibiting motorcycle profiling and providing relief for victims is an effective and cost efficient solution that would help preserve civil liberties while also reducing government exposure to monetary liability.

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Video Proves Nothing Is Removed From Tipton’s Body

By David “Double D” Devereaux

Although the chance of Zachariah receiving justice posthumously is small, the truth deserves to be heard in hopes that the next murder by the Iron Order will not go unpunished. This is the Part 2 of a Motorcycle Profiling Project series analyzing the glaring discrepancies between the State Attorney’s review and uncut video footage. (Part 1 can be found here.)

The State Attorney’s review of Tipton’s killing first lies about the Black Pistons rendering aid. Indeed, the State Attorney contends that the Black Pistons fled after gunshots were fired and none of them rendered assistance to their fallen brother. We know this is not true, as incontrovertibly proven by uncut video footage. So what other deceit is hidden within the pages of this review?

State Attorney Implies Tipton Had a Weapon.

The State Attorney insinuates that Tipton was armed and Black Piston members removed the evidence before police arrived. The State Attorney’s review, page 4:

One member of the Black Pistons can be seen going over to Zachariah Tipton’s body and then later handing off a cut or vest with patches signifying membership in the Black Pistons club, with what looks like something rolled up inside. A member of the Black Pistons is handed the vest and leaves the scene on his motorcycle. It is unknown if something was rolled up in the vest.”

If it is unknown, why include it in the statement of facts? The prejudice is deeply concerning, particularly when the actual facts are quite different, and particularly when it contradicts the State Attorney’s claim that the Black Pistons fled and didn’t return to Tipton after he was shot.

Video Proves State Attorney Lied….Again

Surveillance video obtained from discovery indeed shows a Black Piston hand a vest to another member. But it is not rolled up and nothing is visibly removed from Tipton’s person.

Beach Marine Video 8 at (9:38): A Black Piston rendering assistance to Tipton can clearly be seen removing his vest and handing it to another member. The vest is open and hanging, not rolled up, and there is nothing concealed or hidden. The video also proves the Black Piston rendering assistance is never alone with Tipton. A nurse and a bartender were present the entire time and removing a weapon from Tipton undetected would not have been possible.

Why Would The State Attorney Imply Tipton Was Armed?

The State Attorney’s so-called “statement of facts” is intended to create an extreme prejudice, particularly when translated to the media and the general public. Although Tipton was unarmed, it cannot be proven otherwise, implying that there was a successful conspiracy executed by the Black Pistons to remove a firearm from Tipton creates negative sympathy or calls for justice.

On the other hand, if people based their perceptions on what could be proven, the world looks substantially different. If the world understood that Tipton was unarmed and shot in the head during a fistfight there may have been more public outcry. If the general public realized that national officers in the Iron Order have issued statements encouraging members to provoke conflicts with other clubs in order to “destroy them” because they won’t get prosecuted, maybe there would have been more outrage…

To be Continued…

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Video Proves State Attorney’s Report Based On Lies

By David “Double D” Devereaux

The Iron Order Motorcycle Club has been involved in a laundry list of confrontations around the country with other motorcycle clubs that have resulted in violence or death. The Iron Order intentionally provokes conflicts with traditional motorcycle clubs hiding behind the cloak of LEO members and connections with law enforcement. Because of this connection, Iron Order members have not been held accountable for any of the violence or killings that they have been involved in.

One of the most blatant examples involves the murder of Zachariah Tipton on the evening of June 26, 2014 in Jacksonville Beach, Florida. This story disappeared from the mainstream when Florida State Attorney Angela Corey refused to charge Iron Order prospect Kristopher Stone after he shot and killed Black Pistons patch holder Zachariah Tipton in Jacksonville Beach. Corey outrageously ruled the killing was justifiable homicide even though the Iron Order member shot the unarmed Black Pistons motorcycle club member in the right temple while only a few feet apart. The Summary of Facts in the State Attorney’s Review concluding the killing was justifiable is fraught with inaccuracies and blatant misrepresentations. Video evidence is even manipulated to validate these fraudulent claims.

Although the chance of Zachariah receiving justice posthumously is small, the truth deserves to be heard in hopes that the next person murdered by the Iron Order will not go unpunished. This is the first part in a Motorcycle Profiling Project series analyzing the glaring discrepancies between the State Attorney’s review and uncut video footage. Zachariah Tipton was murdered by a prospect of the Iron Order.

Unraveling the State Attorney’s discriminatory and biased review should make it obvious to anyone with their eyes open that this was an unjustified homicide at the hands of the law enforcement friendly Iron Order.

The Short Story

According to the State Attorney’s review, on June 26, 2014, at Nippers Beach Grill located in Jacksonville Beach, an altercation between two members of the Black Pistons Motorcycle Club (Zachariah Tipton and an unidentified member) and Iron Order prospective member Kristopher Stone. During the altercation, Stone shot and killed Tipton.

The State Attorney Frames The Black Pistons As Heartless Gangsters Based On A Fabricated Lie.

The State Attorney contends that Black Piston members fled the scene after Zachariah was shot and no Black Pistons attempted to render aid. The State Attorney’s review, page 2:

“The video depicts members of the Black Pistons fleeing the scene. No member of the Black Pistons can be seen giving aid to Zachariah Tipton.”

In fact, when the state attorney released the video from Marine Camera 8, they cut it off at around 6:15. Right after the Black Pistons exit the camera’s view. There were 8 mins 20 seconds more of that video they chose not to release. It was ignored.

The uncut video obtained through discovery (Beach Marine Video camera 8 at 7:29 & Beach Marine Camera 9 at 9:40) clearly shows Black Piston members running back to render aid once they had realized that Zachariah had been shot.

Witness Statements Prove State Attorney Lied

Furthermore, several witness statements confirm that Black Piston members were attempting to render aid to Zachariah. For example, Officer Anthony Martin Jr.’s supplemental Incident Report dated 6/27/2014 contains an interview with eyewitness Philip Paul Valera II who states that one of the Black Pistons returns “to help with the Black Piston who had been shot.”

Or what about Tim White’s affidavit? White was standing in the parking lot with Stone when the murder occurred. White writes,

“When I turned back around one of the guys was coming back….I think he came back to help the guy on the ground.”

How can these witness statements be ignored?

State Attorney’s “Other Facts” Expose the Lie

Most persuasively, the State Attorney herself recognizes that members returned to Zachariah. The problem with a lie is remembering the details of that lie and not getting caught up in contradiction. The State Attorney exposes the lie on page 4 of the report saying,

“One member of the Black Pistons can be seen going over to Zachariah Tipton’s body and then later handing off a cut or vest with patches signifying membership in the Black Pistons.”

How is this consistent with the statement that Black Piston members fled after shots were fired? Why was this internal contradiction not reported by the mainstream media? Why should the State Attorney’s review have any credibility? Why was the video cut off before a Black Piston runs back to Tipton to render assistance?

Why Lie About Black Pistons Rendering Aid?

Why would the State Attorney and the Chief of the Jacksonville Beach Police Department blatantly lie about such a critical fact? Who insures that the State Attorney is making sound and ethical decisions?

Why is there no discussion by the State Attorney about the Iron Order’s failure to render aid? Stone, according to the State Attorney’s review, is “an Army Combat Medic.” After Tipton was incapacitated, why did no Iron Order members render assistance? The Iron Order have law enforcement membership and a combat medic present. Why is there no analysis regarding the ethical or legal obligation to render assistance when framing the incident?

Depicting Black Piston members fleeing the scene and making no attempt to render aid is an attempt to make the Black Pistons look heartless and sociopathic. This inaccurate framing of the incident paints a prejudicial picture of the Black Pistons implying that they have no honor, that they left one of their own behind because a crime was committed. AND IT’S ALL A LIE.

And doesn’t such a glaring lie bring into question every statement of fact or the general competence and/ or motivations of the State Attorney and the Jacksonville Beach PD? Logic says that it does. One lie always leads to another…

And in the case of Zachariah Tipton, this is just the tip of the iceberg…

To be continued…

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