Monthly Archives: November 2016

Bikers Arrested for Wearing Bandanas

By David “Double D” Devereaux

Louisiana motorcyclists in the Bossier/Shreveport area may be experiencing a mechanism of profiling that many are unaware of. It has been reported to the MPP that 17 motorcyclists in the area have recently been arrested for wearing bandanas, scarves, and even a bubble shield while riding because it conceals their identities in public. Local law enforcement contends that covering your face in public is a violation of Louisiana’s anti-mask law, LSA-R.S. 14:313, which carries a 6 month to 3 year term of imprisonment. Although every incident has not been confirmed, the MPP spoke to one motorcyclist directly and confirmed that he was arrested for concealing his identity on November 8, 2016.

The law used to justify targeting motorcyclists for wearing masks in Louisiana exists elsewhere. At least 15 states have what experts call “general anti-mask laws” that could be applied to motorcyclists. Applying anti-masking laws to motorcyclists covering their heads and faces with protective gear is an abuse of statute and demonstrative of motorcycle profiling. An exemption for public safety ought to be obvious.

Motorcyclist Arrested For Concealing Identity

While visiting Louisiana to attend and speak at a state Confederation of Clubs and Independents meeting in Alexandria, the MPP became aware of the alleged arrests for concealing identities in public. The MPP spoke to a member of a motorcycle club in the Bossier/Shreveport area that was able to confirm the validity of the rumors.

Although a traffic pretext was used to justify the stop, the MPP evaluated his citation and he was indeed arrested for concealing his identity, an alleged violation of state code LSA-R.S. 14:313. This individual was on his way to vote in the 2016 National Election. He was denied this opportunity. He was forced to pay a bond in order to obtain his release and as of this writing the issue has not yet been resolved.

(Notably, this same individual has been experiencing a pattern of harassment while riding his motorcycle. 9 days after the mask arrest he was again stopped and harassed for a series of pre-textual infractions preceding more questions about his club affiliations.)

LSA-R.S. 14:313

LSA-R.S. 14:313

Masks or hoods, wearing in public places prohibited; penalty; exceptions; permit to conduct Mardi Gras festivities, how obtained.

No person shall use or wear in any public place of any character whatsoever, or in any open place in view thereof, a hood or mask, or anything in the nature of either, or any facial disguise of any kind or description, calculated to conceal or hide the identity of the person or to prevent his being readily recognized.

Whoever violates this Section shall be imprisoned for not less than six months nor more than three years.

This Section shall not apply:

  • To activities of children on Halloween, to persons participating in any public parade or exhibition of an educational, religious, or historical character given by any school, church, or public governing authority, or to persons in any private residence, club, or lodge room; or,
  • To persons participating in masquerade balls or entertainments, to persons participating in carnival parades or exhibitions during the period of Mardi Gras festivities, to persons participating in parades or exhibitions of minstrel troupes, circuses, or other dramatic or amusement shows, or to promiscuous masking on Mardi Gras which are duly authorized by the governing authorities of the municipality in which they are held or by the sheriff of the parish if held outside of an incorporated

All persons having charge or control of any of the festivities set forth in paragraph (2) of this Section shall, in order to bring the persons participating therein within the exceptions contained in paragraph (2), make written application for and shall obtain in advance of the festivities from the mayor of the city, town, or village in which the festivities are to be held, or when the festivities are to be held outside of an incorporated city, town, or village, from the sheriff of the parish, a written permit to conduct the festivities. A general public proclamation by the mayor or sheriff authorizing the festivities shall be equivalent to an application and permit.

Applying Law To Motorcycle Safety Gear Is Absurd

Originally the Louisiana law against wearing masks and hoods in public was motivated by the Ku Klux Klan wearing hoods and masks concealing their identity while they terrorized and intimidated others.[1] Louisiana’s law makes exemptions for Halloween and Mardi Gras, but none for public safety. Although clearly not the intent of the law, motorcyclists covering their faces to avoid bugs, wind, and rain may be subject to arrest.

Considering Louisiana’s mandatory helmet requirement based on public safety, the absurdity of applying anti-mask laws to motorcyclists is further demonstrated. Every helmet covers a motorcyclists head similar to a hood and all motorcyclists wear eye protection. The very act of riding a motorcycle legally requires concealment. A motorcyclist wearing a full face helmet could be arrested for concealing their identity if anti-mask laws apply. Remember, a full face helmet is considered the best protection among experts that advocate helmets.[2]

Some states that have similar laws have anticipated such conflicts and include an exemption for safety or sporting activities in their anti-mask statutes.[3] But 15 states, including Louisiana, have more general statutes that could lead to these abusive applications.[4] In fact, “general anti-mask laws proscribe the simple concealment of physical identity in public, regardless of coexistent criminal activity. Individuals have been prosecuted under general anti-mask laws for wearing a Ku Klux Klan hood, for dressing in the clothing and wearing the makeup of the individual’s opposite sex, and for placing a leaflet between the individual’s face and eyeglasses.”[5]

Possible Solutions

Numerous strategies may exist to combat anti-mask laws being applied to motorcyclists. Judicially, filing for a Declaratory Judgement arguing that the statute is unconstitutional is another option, although this has been attempted and has not always been successful.

“The conflicting court decisions, along with the varying scope of anti- mask laws themselves, reflect the uncertainty concerning when, if ever, the government can constitutionally ban public mask-wearing. Further complicating this area of the law is the apparent political bias of some of the courts that have ruled on the challenges.”[6]

Legislatively, an anti-motorcycle profiling law would eliminate discriminatory pretext stops at the source. Also, adding an exemption to state statute for safety and sport, including motorcycling, would prevent abuse and preserve the original intent of the law.

[1] https://casetext.com/case/opinion-number-95-188 Attorney General of Louisiana — Opinion 95-188 (Ops. La. Atty. Gen. 1995)

[2] http://helmetadvisors.com/best-motorcycle-helmet/#Full-Helmet

[3] Stephen J. Simoni, “Who Goes ere?” — Proposing a Model Anti-Mask Act, 61 Fordham L. Rev. 241 (1992). Available at: h p:// ir.lawnet.fordham.edu/ r/vol61/iss1/16

[4] See Ala. Code § 13A-11-9(a)(4) (1982); Del. Code Ann. tit. 11, § 1301(l)(g) (1987 & Supp. 1990); D.C. Code Ann. § 22-3112.3 (1989); Fla. Stat. Ann. §§ 876.11-.16 (West 1976 & Supp. 1992); Ga. Code Ann. § 16-11-38 (1988 & Supp. 1991); La. Rev. Stat.

Ann. § 14:313 (West 1986); Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.396 (1991); Minn. Stat. Ann. § 609.735 (West 1987); N.M. Stat. Ann. § 30-22-3 (Michie 1984); N.Y. Penal Law § 240.35(4) (Mc- Kinney 1989); N.C. Gen. Stat. §§ 14-12.7 to .11 (1986); Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, § 1301 (C 1983); S.C. Code Ann. § 16-7-110 (Law. Co-op. 1976); Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-309(c) (1991); Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-422 (Iichie 1988); W. Va. Code § 61-6-22 (1989).

[5] Simoni, page 242

[6] Simoni, page 244

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Filming Police in Public is a Constitutional Right

By David “Double D” Devereaux

Does a person have the right to film police officers in public? Despite clear precedent, the MPP has received the inquiry many times. This is a particularly relevant question relating to developing a “pattern of evidence” that proves motorcycle profiling is occurring. Indeed, video of police profiling motorcyclists was critical to passing the law addressing motorcycle profiling in both Washington State and Maryland.

As Americans, we should all be able to agree that the right to be present in a public place and gather information about an ongoing public concern is fundamental to a free society. This is the essence of political expression, political speech, and a free press, particularly when discussing issues of government accountability.

To deny the right to gather information in a public space would deprive the public knowledge about government abuses. Without this knowledge there is no impetus for advancing police accountability.

A Legal Opinion-Simple and Concise

Millie Thompson, an attorney from Austin involved in both the criminal and civil proceedings stemming from the Waco tragedy that occurred on May 17, 2015, recently discussed the issue on social media. Thompson writes:

For those of you who don’t know:

We have co-equal rights to 1) be present in a public place, 2) gather information on a matter of public concern, and 3) speak on a matter of public concern. Police officers – as public officials and agents of the government – are by definition a matter of public concern.

We therefore have the right to film them.

This is not a privilege. It is a Constitutional right. Period.

Filming the police may not be something you would consider doing. You may also not be the type of grab a picket sign and take to the streets to protest something.

Pick a topic about which you are passionate – whatever it is – it doesn’t have to be something I agree with.

Are you passionate about pro-life? Are you passionate about supporting the troops? Or ‘backing the blue?’ Pick a topic that you believe in. The people who support that issue have the same rights as those who disagree with you. Remember do unto others?

You don’t have to agree with a person’s agenda to defend their First Amendment rights around that agenda.

Why defend it? Because it may be you in the future who wants to speak about an issue. Or – it may be you who wants to gather information about government actors so that you have something interesting to say when you do speak.

Do you believe in government accountability? Don’t people need to know what the government is doing in order to hold them accountable?

What Do The Courts Say?

The right to express information relating to an ongoing public concern often frames discussions concerning the 1st Amendment. Less commonly understood is the equally fundamental right to gather that information. Moreover, in an era of cell phone videos and social media the courts have granted individual citizens the same fundamental right to gather information in public as it has traditionally afforded the credentialed press.

In Buehler v. City of Austin (2014), the federal court concludes that the right to film the police in public derives from “foundational and long-standing principles of constitutional law.”

“A private citizen has the right to assemble in a public forum, receive information on a matter of public concern—such as police officers performing their official duties—and to record that information for the purpose of conveying that information.”

A Word of Caution

Despite the fundamental right to record the police, caution is in order. The right is not absolute and without limits. When filming police take care not to break the law or interfere with an officer’s ability to do their jobs.

[N]either the First Amendment right to receive speech nor the First Amendment right to gather news is absolute.” Davis v. E. Baton Rouge Parish Sch. Bd., 78 F.3d 920, 928 (5th Cir. 1996). An individual is not permitted to break the law in the process of filming the police in public. For example, an individual cannot interfere with the police’s ability to do their job. “Thus, to the extent that an individual, in exercising his First Amendment right to film police officers as they execute their official duties, violates a valid criminal law, he cannot plausibly argue that his First Amendment right acts as a shield that protects him from criminal liability.”

Source-

Buehler v. City of Austin et.al., IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS AUSTIN DIVISION, MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER, Case A-13-CV-1100 ML, 7/24/2014

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NY Police Detain 169 Motorcyclists on Long Island

By David “Double D” Devereaux

ny-police-detain-169-motorcyclists-image1

The battle over motorcycle-only checkpoints is not over. Although Congress banned federal funding for motorcycle-only checkpoints in the 2015 Fast Act, these discriminatory stops continue in some states without federal assistance. On November 6, 2016 Suffolk County Police Highway Patrol Bureau officers, New York State Police troopers and MTA Police officers conducted motorcycle safety checkpoints on eastbound Sunrise Highway at exit 55 and eastbound Long Island Expressway. 169 motorcycles were stopped and 54 citations were issued. Checkpoints are a form of motorcycle profiling that impact all motorcyclists. Those cited were independents, not club members.

Cloaked under the justification of safety, motorcycle-only checkpoints unfairly target motorcyclists and motorcycles as a form of transportation. According to the AMA, “Motorcycleonly checkpoints are discriminatory, forcing riders and their passengers to do something not asked of other citizens, simply because we choose to travel on two wheels, or three, instead of four. The AMA believes the money used for these operations could be better spent supporting programs that conduct rider education, reduce distracted driving and encourage motorist awareness of motorcycles.”

What’s the solution? Motorcyclists in New York State should unify and push for a state prohibition against motorcycle profiling which would include discriminatory motorcycle-only checkpoints.

ny-police-detain-169-motorcyclists-image2

ny-police-detain-169-motorcyclists-image3

Suffolk Police News Release

ny-police-detain-169-motorcyclists-suffolk-police-header

For Immediate Release
November 6, 2016

Incident: Fifty-Four Summonses Issued at Motorcycle Safety Checkpoints

Location: Eastbound Sunrise Highway and Eastbound Long Island Expressway

Date/Time: Sunday, November 6, 2016 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Suffolk County Police Highway Patrol Bureau officers, New York State Police troopers and MTA Police officers conducted motorcycle safety checkpoints today on eastbound Sunrise Highway at exit 55 and eastbound Long Island Expressway between exits 65 and 66.

Officers stopped 169 motorcycles between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. as they passed through the checkpoints and a total of 54 summonses were issued for the following violations:

14 Unlicensed Operator

2 Suspended License

10 Un-inspected Motorcycle

3 Unregistered Motorcycle

2 Uninsured Motorcycle

10 Helmet Not Approved by New York State Department of Transportation

6 Modified/Loud Exhaust System

1 Other Equipment Violations

6 Failure to Comply with Lawful Order

A criminal charge is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

Authority: Timothy D. Sini, Police Commissioner

16-351243 Suffolk County Police Department VC/1835

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Is Law Enforcement Training To Terminate Bikers?

By David “Double D” Devereaux

law-enforcement-training-terminate-bikers-screesnshot

Many people interested in target shooting are familiar with practice targets. Many times these targets are silhouettes of human beings. Nothing descriptive, just a neutral target. Then there are practice targets that more graphically depict people. Beyond neutral practice targets, these targets depict stereotypical images of terrorists, bank robbers, and armed criminals with a hostage. It’s impossible to defend the actions or goals of any of these types of people so vilifying their images receives little objection.

But what about law enforcement practice targets that depict motorcyclists as a caricature of criminality? If motorcyclists wearing helmets and leather jackets are depicted pointing a gun as if they are a threat during training, doesn’t it make sense that this would eventually create the same instinctual threat assessment when they see a biker in the field? Do these targets encourage and reinforce discrimination and profiling against bikers, or worse?

It only makes sense that biker practice targets reinforce a discriminatory mindset that has persisted for decades. But what do the experts or studies say? Experts and university studies both say the instinct to shoot is intimately tied to the visual depiction of the target. And subject matter experts agree that biker shooting targets are dangerous, and all use of such targets should completely cease.

Target Company Says Bad Bikers Need To Be Terminated!

A company called Baker Targets offers a practice target called the “Bad Biker Target”. The ad reads “Bad bikers need to be terminated!”. The ad depicts a masked man pointing a handgun with his right hand while riding a motorcycle. Aside from the fact that reality requires your right hand to be on your throttle while riding or you will rapidly decelerate, this image contains red dots indicating high value targets within the target. Notice one of these is on the front tire!

Unfortunately, “Bad Biker Target” is not the first discriminatory depiction of motorcyclists on practice targets. The practice of vilifying motorcyclists has been occurring for decades. The feature image is a practice target depicting a motorcyclist that has existed since the ’70’s.

Experts Say “Bad Biker Target” Increases the Chance of Unjustified Deadly Force

Retired 1st Sgt. Bobby Colella, a Subject Matter Expert on the U.S. Army’s premier marksmanship training system, has trained thousands of Soldiers in marksmanship skills. Colella says, “If any police department or officer is found using “Bad Biker” targets on or off duty, it’s a logical assumption that they are conditioning their minds to automatically perceive a threat, and subsequently eliminate that threat, based on the observation of a person who resembles a motorcyclist. Perhaps this is what happened in Waco?”

“In conventional warfare, the enemy is identified by his uniform – In civilian policing, the threat should be identified by its actions, and actions alone. Motorcyclists are not at war with the police; they shouldn’t be at war with motorcyclists. These targets MUST be immediately removed from any inventory or range facility.”

Dr. Will Dulaney, an Associate Professor of International Security with over 25 years subject matter expertise in Counter-terrorism and Counter-insurgency says, “The “Bad Biker Target” reinforces a stale negative stereotype of bikers, but also establishes a new “biker threat” to law enforcement: the ride-by biker shooter. And military research over the past nearly seventy years establishes conclusively that these types of targets have a direct and powerful psychological impact on trainees’ willingness to engage human targets.”

“When used in repeated training scenarios – otherwise known as “programming” – law enforcement trainees will likely adopt the conditioned perception that motorcyclists now represent a threat while riding their machines.

Indeed, anyone who purchases and uses these targets, even in fun, will also be conditioned over time to “see” motorcyclists as more and more of a threat. Either way, the result for society can only be negative.”

Study Confirms Stereotypic Shooting Targets Can Increase Deadly Force

A study conducted by the University of Chicago in 2007 concluded that stereotypes in targeting training creates a bias influencing the decision to shoot a target, even an unarmed target. “As predicted, frequent presentation of stereotypic (vs. counterstereotypic) targets exacerbated bias.” The study continues, “In the domain of criminal justice, category-based judgments can have profound consequences through….the spontaneous, split-second reactions of a police officer.”

Stereotypes systematically bias reactions in shoot/don’t shoot decisions. Stereotypes in targeting increase the perception of danger in real life applications. “Perceptions of danger bear directly on the decision task in these studies, [shoot/don’t shoot] which involves the detection of a hostile target.” To the extent that targets seem more dangerous, “they should promote a tendency to shoot, facilitating correct responses for armed targets but inhibiting correct responses for unarmed targets.”

Fortunately, the University of Chicago study provides a possible solution. Eliminating the use of targets that reinforce stereotypes of danger also reduces the probability of shooting unarmed targets. This data can also be seen in a more positive light. The data offers evidence that “counter-stereotypic information can reduce or even eliminate bias, at least on a temporary basis.”

*See JOSHUA CORRELL from the University of Chicago, The influence of stereotypes on decisions to shoot, Eur. J. Soc. Psychol. 37, 1102–1117 (2007)

Ending the Use of Discriminatory Training Targets

Baker Target’s depiction of motorcyclists reinforces a discriminatory mindset that has resulted in decades of profiling and abuse. These targets depict motorcyclists as dangerous criminals and the enemy of law enforcement. The message is explicit. Bad Bikers need to be terminated! How many law enforcement agencies utilize the Bad Biker Target? How many bikers have been victims of felony-style stops at gunpoint for simple traffic infractions because of their training? Why is it acceptable to exploit and vilify a class of 10 million Americans for economic gain?

These are questions that Baker Targets, and other companies selling similar targets, should be forced to answer on moral and ethical grounds. Baker Targets, law enforcement, and other entities either selling or buying targets like “Bad Biker Target” should cease and desist. Law enforcement officers and agencies that utilize these types of targets should be held accountable. Motorcycle profiling is an epidemic in the United States and training law enforcement to treat motorcyclists as an inherent threat perpetuates this discriminatory mindset. Or worse, teaching that bikers should be terminated could potentially escalate harassment to homicide.

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