The next meeting for the Front Range Colorado COC Will be held;
July 29th, 2018 @ NOON
LOC: VFW 501, 4747 W Colfax, Denver, CO 80204, USA
LOC: VFW 501, 4747 W Colfax, Denver, CO 80204, USA
According to data collected by the New Mexico Motorcyclists Rights Organization (NMMRO), motorcyclists in New Mexico have been increasingly experiencing profiling stops at the hands of the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department. But instead of merely collecting data, the NMMRO recently confronted Sheriff Manuel Gonzales requesting that all department policies and procedures be reviewed, and that all deputies be properly trained and educated so that they understand that profiling and selective enforcement of the law are simply unacceptable.
Motorcycle profiling deprives individuals of basic constitutional guarantees and should therefore be a concern to all Americans. The 1st Amendment irrefutably protects the rights of association and expression and judicial precedent has specifically applied these rights in the context of motorcycle clubs, including clubs that law enforcement labels a gang. Being in a motorcycle club is not justification for a traffic stop. And even when a traffic pretext is provided in an attempt to justify the stop, the 14th Amendment prohibits selective enforcement of the law.
The Motorcycle Profiling Project (MPP) commends the NMMRO’s proactive grassroots efforts. The MPP joins the NMMRO in the request to the Bernalillo Sheriff’s Department to properly educate and train deputies to cease the common practice of motorcycle profiling. Furthermore, the MPP believes that the Bernalillo Sheriff’s department should confirm a commitment in a public statement condemning the practice.
Finally, please take the time to fill out the National Motorcycle Profiling Survey 2018 (http:// www.motorcycleprofilingproject.com/national-motorcycle-profling-survey/) and assist the MPP and motorcycle rights organizations nationwide in the effort to end motorcycle profiling and discrimination.
The post New Mexico Motorcyclists Confront Sheriff Over Motorcycle Profiling appeared first on Motorcycle Profiling Project.
The McMinnville Tennessee Police Department has been refusing to release any public information related to the death of 21-year-old motorcyclist Jay Alan Webster, probate member of the Silent Creed Motorcycle Club, killed on July 7th, 2018, after former Warren County Sheriff Kenneth Taylor failed to yield and hit Webster while driving his Toyota SUV. But after more than a week of stiff public record request denials, and less than 24 hours after public demands to release the information was published on motorcycleprofilingproject.com, the McMinnville Tennessee PD has finally released the accident report.
The release of public information is a small but important victory for motorcyclists in Tennessee because it demonstrates what a focused and unified grassroots motorcycle rights campaign can achieve. Yet important unanswered questions remain and the grassroots pressure must continue to be a voice for Jay Alan Webster.
The accident report indicates that the although there were no drugs or alcohol found at the scene, the former sheriff was administered a blood test to determine the presence of drugs or alcohol, but the results were still pending when the accident report was filed on July 8th, 2018, more than a month ago. Why have the results of Taylor’s blood test not been released? Do the results explain why an investigation into further charges is still on-going?
Rodney Mancini, a National Council of Clubs (NCOC) participant and Tennessee motorcyclist that originally requested the accident report from authorities, followed-up with a public records request for the results of Taylor’s initial blood test. The McMinnville PD rejected Mancini’s request because criminal charges were pending.
The McMinnville PD can arguably exempt these results until the investigation is complete, but the results could also be released through discretion. The public simply has a right to know if a former sheriff was under the influence when he killed a 21-year-old man.
The NCOC and the Motorcycle Profiling Project (MPP), organizations representing the legal and political interests of motorcycle clubs nationwide, urges the McMinnville PD to:
The grassroots pressure demanding justice for motorcycle clubs and their members through a unified voice must continue, so individuals negligently killing bikers are at least legally forbidden from driving a vehicle. The life and memory of Jay Alan Webster demands this at a minimum.
The post Report Released Under Pressure After Ex-Sheriff Kills TN Biker appeared first on Motorcycle Profiling Project.
On July 7th, 2018 a former county sheriff driving an SUV hit and killed a 21-year-old motorcyclist wearing club colors in McMinnville, Tennessee. This former sheriff was cited for failure to yield, however, no criminal charges have been filed. 1
Although the investigation continues with assistance from the Tennessee Highway Patrol and District Attorney’s office, information that is often released to the public during accident investigations is being withheld, such as whether drugs or alcohol are thought to be involved. The National Council of Clubs (NCOC) and the Motorcycle Profiling Project (MPP), organizations representing the legal and political interests of motorcycle clubs nationwide, are concerned that the former sheriff is being protected legally and politically by the thin blue line.
The public has a right to know whether drugs or alcohol are thought to be involved because that would inarguably constitute vehicular homicide under Tennessee law, as opposed to a devastating accident. And the public has a right to know about the short life of Jay Alan Webster, extinguished by a former sheriff currently being shielded by the laws protecting investigatory information.
As reported by NBC News Nashville on July 7th, a former Warren County Sheriff named Kenneth Taylor was cited for failure to yield at a downtown McMinnville, Tennessee intersection, killing 21-year-old motorcyclist Jay Alan Webster. Police say it’s too early in the investigation to determine whether or not charges will be filed against the former sheriff. What was not reported was that Jay Alan Webster was a probate member of the Silent Creed Motorcycle Club.
Unusually, no information is being released on whether drugs or alcohol were thought to be involved. A simple Google News search reveals that law enforcement in Tennessee often release to the public whether drugs or alcohol are thought to be involved very early on in an accident investigation. For example, a FOX 17 News Nashville Story from 2016, “Two Fatal Motorcycle Accidents Saturday in middle Tennessee” reported:
“Metro Police identify 27-year-old Joshua Cannon of South Nashville as the motorcyclist killed in an accident after 9:30 p.m. on Saturday night…They say he was driving at a high rate of speed before hitting the back of a car at a light, then slid and hit another car. Drugs or alcohol are not thought to be involved.” 2
Whether drugs or alcohol are a factor in an accident is information law enforcement often releases. So NCOC participant Rodney Mancini, in an attempt to obtain details of the accident, submitted a public records request and very quickly received a response.
Utilizing an investigation exemption to a public records request is common in many states, but in this case the McMinnville Police Department charged Taylor with failure to yield, which means that investigation is complete. Any accident reports written by officers present reflect the investigation that led to charging Taylor with failure to yield, which is now complete.
It is now August 7th, 2018, and the public still does not know the details. An accident is distinct from vehicular homicide, and the public still does not know whether vehicular homicide was committed by a former sheriff under the influence of drugs or alcohol in their community. The public has a right to know because criminal activity that results in death, in this case possibly committed by former law enforcement official, is irrefutably an on-going public news concern.
In addition to the public’s right to know, every motorcyclist in Tennessee has a right to know. Maybe most importantly, Jay Alan Webster’s family, brothers, and friends have a right to know whether their loved one was the victim of an accident or the victim of a crime. And we all have a right to know about the life that was prematurely taken from us all.
Though it would be impossible to do Jay Alan Webster’s life justice with just words alone, it is important to know who was taken.
Based on information provided to the NCOC by the Silent Creed MC, Jay was only 21-years-old when he was killed doing one of the things he loved- riding a motorcycle. Jay’s love of motorcycling eventually brought him to the Silent Creed MC, and at the time of his death he was a probate for the club.
Jay was also an accomplished welder, a skill he developed after he attempted to join the Marines at 18-years-old but was told a foot deformity would physically preclude him from serving. Welding was Jay’s full time employment until he recently returned to his Grandmother’s home to provide her full-time care. Jay’s charitable and empathetic nature was obvious through his actions. In addition to taking care of his grandmother, Jay participated in many charities including food drives for the homeless.
Remember, Jay was only 21. His life had barely begun, yet he was dedicated to the service of other people by choice. The NCOC believes that everyone has a right to know whether Jay Alan Webster was killed as the result of a former Sheriff driving his SUV under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Once these facts are revealed, then the discussion about proper justice can begin.
If former Sheriff Kenneth Taylor was under the influence of drugs or alcohol then he could be charged with Vehicular Homicide. Tennessee law is unambiguous. TN Code § 39-13-213 (2015) subdivision (a)(2) says “vehicular homicide is the reckless killing of another by the operation of an automobile, airplane, motorboat or other motor vehicle, as the proximate result of the driver’s alcohol or drug intoxication.”
Unfortunately, even if convicted the sentence ranges are very light and dependent on prior alcohol or drug related offenses. TN Code says, “Vehicular homicide under subdivision (a)(2) is a Class B felony.” “Any sentence imposed for a first violation of subdivision (a)(2) shall include a mandatory minimum sentence of forty-eight (48) consecutive hours of incarceration.” And with three or more prior alcohol-related convictions “any sentence imposed by the judge shall include a mandatory minimum sentence of one hundred fifty (150) consecutive days of incarceration.”
However, the former sheriff would be off the road for three to ten years and not killing any more motorcyclists, at least not with a legal license. Tennessee law requires the court to “prohibit a defendant convicted of vehicular homicide from driving a vehicle in this state for a period of time not less than three (3) years nor more than ten (10) years.”
The life of Jay Alan Webster was important and meaningful. Demanding justice for a human being of this quality is an honor and a responsibility.
The NCOC and the MPP publicly urge that the McMinnville Police Department:
The NCOC, with participation nationwide, is dedicated to demanding public information and justice for motorcycle club members across America, including Jay Alan Webster and all motorcycle club members throughout Tennessee.
1 WSMV TV, Nashville, Former Warren County Sheriff cited in fatal crash with motorcyclist, July 11, 2018, http://www.wsmv.com/story/38624716/former-warren-county-sheriff-cited-in-fatal- crash-with-motorcyclist
2 Anthony Glover, FOX 17 News Nashville, Two Fatal Motorcycle Accidents Saturday in middle Tennessee, March 6, 2016
The post Former Tennessee Sheriff Kills MC Member and Still Not Charged? appeared first on Motorcycle Profiling Project.
July 10, 2018
National Council of Clubs
The National Council of Clubs (NCOC), dedicated to protecting the legal and political interests of motorcycle clubs coast-to-coast, is extremely concerned about an imaginary war between motorcycle clubs and the government, created in the minds of some law enforcement and government prosecutors, playing itself out in courthouses across America. This ideology of war has followed us to the steps of the criminal justice system, where visibly draconian security measures have been implemented based on unsubstantiated and ambiguous sources, even though there have been no validated examples of motorcycle clubs storming courthouses during a trial. A topical example reinforcing such irresponsible claims has been recently memorialized in a Texas District Attorney’s press release relating to the supposed and constant threat of violent retaliation that prosecutors face during biker trials.
Despite the absurdity of the claim that any motorcycle club would storm a courthouse or target prosecutors with violence, there are no consequences for these falsehoods meant only to perpetuate fear and reinforce false narratives about 1% motorcycle clubs. And, of course, these false threats are used to justify excessive security measures during biker trials.
This fear-based tactic has real implications. Inside the courtroom, juries will be biased against biker defendants because of the perception that their safety is in jeopardy. Outside the courtroom, law enforcement will increasingly treat those exercising the constitutional liberties of association and expression as a direct violent threat based on inaccurate information and training. Incidents of motorcycle profiling and selective enforcement of the law will likely continue at epidemic levels until a more accurate narrative is reported by the media, both grassroots and mainstream.
Sharon Wilson, the Tarrant County District Attorney, issued a press release on June 28, 2018 (below) reporting that Assistant District Attorney Pamela Boggess has been named “2018 Prosecutor Of The Year” by the Texas Gang Investigators Association for the successful prosecution of Ft. Worth Bandido Howard “Drifter” Baker, convicted last year of directing a criminal organization.
Without debating the merits of Drifter’s prosecution, or the sufficiency of his legal counsel, the NCOC believes that the Tarrant County District Attorney’s press release further perpetuates baseless claims only intended to sensationalize and prejudice public perception against defendants and motorcycle clubs generally. Boggess is being recognized not only for a successful prosecution, but also for being successful under the constant threat of gang retaliation, a theatrical claim at best. The Press Release states:
“Prosecutors were the target of violent threats from gang sources throughout their handling of the case, and Tarrant County Sheriff Bill Waybourn maintained an unprecedented lockdown of the courthouse, including deputies positioned on the rooftops, for the duration of the trial.”….”These gang members rely on intimidation tactics, but they find out quickly they’ve met their match in Pam Boggess.”
What gang sources? What information did these sources provide? Why has no one been arrested or prosecuted for these threats? Unfortunately, this “made for Hollywood” scenario in Ft. Worth is NOT an anomaly. Similar incidents in Waco and San Antonio courthouses involving enhanced security measures based on fictitious threats, with the same unanswered questions, have been widely publicized in the media.
In fact, NCOC participants were present during both trials and witnessed firsthand the ridiculous security measures employed, again based on unsubstantiated claims. In Waco, the Sheriff’s Office constructed a fence around the entire courthouse and paid hundreds of thousands for extra security at the courthouse, and for personal security for prosecutors away from the courthouse. In San Antonio, a person was required to go through two metal detectors and have their ID photographed before they could enter the courtroom and sit in designated seats. Marshals surrounded the defendants in court, even when the jury was present.
The idea of using a tragic incident, whether it be a trial or a shooting, to advance a campaign of fear and draconian security, is not a new one. And it’s particularly not new in Texas.
Years before the mistrial in the first Waco prosecution of Dallas Bandido Jake Carrizal, Sgt. Swanton of the Waco Police Department declared on national TV, as nearly 200 people were rounded-up to ultimately be arrested on generic fill-in the blank arrest warrants based solely on their associations, that they had received credible threats that bikers had “green-lit” law enforcement and were coming to Waco to retaliate. 1 Immediately following the incident at Twin peaks Waco law enforcement issued a statement warning “bikers to stay off the streets because it was difficult to distinguish between law-abiding riders and those bent on criminality.” The local Harley Davidson dealership was even closed. 2 The Federal Board of Prisons, the Texas Border Intelligence Agency, and the Texas Department of Public Safety all issued bulletins based on these reports about retaliation. 3But in the end, after the national spotlight had disappeared, authorities admitted that none of the threats of retaliation were found valid or true.
Law enforcement quietly acknowledged, but failed to emphasize, that these reports were based on completely unsubstantiated information provided by an unnamed informant. 4 Additionally, the alleged
informant lost all credibility and believability by naming a non-existent club called the “Black Widows” as the source of the information. “The Black Widows Motorcycle Club, while it might carry a looming scary name, is actually the fictitious group from a Clint Eastwood movie “Every Which Way But Loose“. There is no actual Bike Gang called “The Black Widows” anywhere in the South or Southwest.” 5
Furthermore, NCOC participants observed firsthand Waco PD and Texas DPS officers admitting under oath during the Carrizal trial that threats reported by Swanton in 2015 turned out to be false and unsubstantiated. But even after the Waco PD’s original story started to fall apart, most of the media that originally swallowed Swanton’s narrative without question, never doing their own investigation or fact checking, never went back to correct the record even though many were present during this testimony.
After the smoke and mirrors are removed, no valid threat of violence from motorcycle clubs against law enforcement or government authorities exists. An NCOC participant from Nevada with vast trial experience, including trials with excessive security issues, confirms that authorities have zero historical basis when he writes, “We have asked judges or prosecutors to find a biker trial where they have had court issues, and they cannot.” But the headlines have already done their perceptual damage. The outlaw image is simply too easy to exploit, too easy to sensationalize, and too easily manipulated to generate real fear. Fear in the eyes of jurors, law enforcement, the general public, and even other motorcyclists.
The NCOC believes that public officials and law enforcement should be challenged by the media when they feed reporters sensationalized rhetoric. The media should demand an answer to these questions before irresponsible and one-sided messaging is used to generate fear and hysteria that has tangibly negative impacts on motorcycle clubs and their members. The imaginary threats faced by law enforcement do not exist. But the ability to influence juries, justify draconian security on the taxpayer’s dime, and perpetuate law enforcement profiling and abuse is very real.
Until that happens, grassroots media unconstrained by institutional control must continue to challenge mainstream media with balanced and investigative reporting. Reducing the use of one-sided media reports that reinforce stereotypes of danger reduces bias, and the probability of treating bikers as criminals, Media that counters stereotypes can reduce perceptions of danger. There is even evidence that “counter-stereotypic information can reduce or even eliminate bias.” (*See JOSHUA CORRELL from the University of Chicago, The influence of stereotypes on decisions to shoot, Eur. J. Soc. Psychol. 37, 1102–1117 (2007))
Balanced media that highlights the positive contributions and attributes of the motorcycling community directly impacts the general perception that all bikers are dangerous. Beyond the inherent value of truth, reducing perceptions of danger can directly reduce mistakes made by police when dealing with bikers.
1 See “Bikers put out ‘green light’ against officers following Waco shooting”, Dane Schiller, Houston Chronicle, May 18, 2015. http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/Total-arrests-announced-in-Waco-Twin- Peaks-6270189.php
2 See “Waco Biker Shooting Giving Bars Pause About Letting Gangs In”, By Howard Koplowitz, ibtimes.com, May 21, 2015 10:53 AM EDT; see Police want bikers off streets after deadly Texas shooting, BY LISA MARIA GARZA, Reuters US , Tue May 19, 2015 11:25am EDT;
3 See “Texas Oﬃcers Warned About Retaliation After Deadly Waco Biker Shootings”, CBS News DFW, May 18, 2015 6:06 PM, http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2015/05/18/texas-oﬃcers-warned-about-retaliation-after-deadly-waco-biker-shootings/
4 See “Waco authorities investigate new threats from biker gangs”, Xinhua News, Houston, May 22, 2015. http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2015-05/23/c_134262912.htm
5 See “A Narrative Of Convenient Paranoia – Waco Police Claim Threats From Non-Existent Motorcycle Gangs….”, The Conservative Treehouse, May 22, 2015. http://theconservativetreehouse.com/2015/05/22/a-narrative-of- convenient-paranoia-waco-police-claim-threats-from-non-existent-motorcycle-gangs/
White Settlement, Texas City Councilman Dave Mann, also a Tarrant County Deputy Sheriff, abruptly resigned Tuesday night, a week after the city, he said, “recognized local Bandidos motorcycle gang members during a proclamation for Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.” Mann is extensively quoted by local media vilifying the Bandidos Motorcycle Club, even members participating in protected political conduct, suggesting that Bandidos not be recognized for any civic achievements or even be allowed at public events.
The comments by employees of the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Department reveal a fundamental flaw in law enforcement’s understanding of the 1st Amendment and the rights of expression and association embodied within. This fundamental flaw, to treat all members of the Bandidos or their associates as criminals, based on the actions of other members, increases the probability of illegal profiling and other acts of discrimination targeting individuals for their associations, not behaviors.
On May 8th, 2018 members of motorcycle clubs openly displaying support for the Bandidos MC were among a group recognized by the city council for their efforts during Motorcycle Awareness Month. Because of this recognition, local news media reports Dave Mann as saying that he could no longer serve on a council that did not value and protect its citizens.
The Star-Telegram reports Mann writing in his letter of resignation, “It is a sad day when city officials invite violent criminal street gangs into our city who thrive on selling heroin, marijuana, methamphetamine and other narcotics and promote prostitution, human trafficking, gun trafficking, murder and other criminal activities.”
This discriminatory mindset extends to Mann’s direct supervisor. “I commend you for taking the higher road,” Capt. B Hardin wrote. “Not just as a City Councilman but as a Texas Peace Officer. We really have to watch who we associate with and it’s obvious there are some people on your City Council who prefer to associate with the wrong people.”
Mann doesn’t even think members should be allowed at public events. The Star Telegram reports, “The letter also stated that when the motorcycle gang members were leaving the city hall, a city official “openly” invited them to the Fourth of July parade, a family friendly activity. “I cannot be a part of a council who openly honors criminals and their illicit activities. Council members are sworn to protect our citizens!”
(See Star-Telegram, “Did White Settlement honor Bandidos? This councilman says so, and now he has resigned,” May 15, 2018)
It’s a good thing Dave Mann has resigned. Unfortunately, he and his supervisor are law enforcement officers and their discriminatory mindset follows the former council member to the streets where real damage can occur. Mann’s desire to exclude Bandido supporters from public events or political activities in the community would violate the 1st Amendment.
Motorcycle clubs, including those clubs labeled organized or criminal gangs by authorities, are 1st Amendment protected associations. Restrictions such as Mann appears to endorse, solely based on association in a motorcycle club, would violate the 1st Amendment.
There is “no evidence that by merely wearing [1% motorcycle club] “colors,” an individual is “involved in or associated with the alleged violent or criminal activity of other [1% 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).
If Mann were permitted to impose restrictions on any person “who wears the insignia of [a 1% motorcycle club], without regard to or knowledge of that individual’s specific intent to engage in the alleged violent activities committed by other members,” it would be “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 162 F.Supp.3d 380 (2015))
If Mann responds to Motorcycle Awareness Month with such venomous rage, how do you think he treats club members on the side of the road? Mann’s abusive and discriminatory rhetoric is unacceptable as a public servant and serves to demonstrate why legislation addressing the issue of motorcycle profiling is so important.
Maybe it’s time that Dave Mann writes another letter of resignation.
The post Texas Sheriff Dave Mann Resigns from City Council After Bikers Honored appeared first on Motorcycle Profiling Project.
If you believe that motorcycle profiling by law enforcement agencies is wrong and should not be tolerated, please use the link below contact your representatives in Congress and ask them to support the Motorcycle Profiling Resolution (H.Res.318 and S.Res.154).
The Motorcycle Riders Foundation is working with the National Council of Clubs and the Motorcycle Profiling Project to call on our elected officials to end unconstitutional profiling of motorcyclists across our county. If your member of congress has signed on, you can still ask them to lean on their colleagues to support these resolutions.
As the McLennan County District Attorney’s Twin Peaks debacle continues to crumble, an important and previously prolific motorcycle rights activist has emerged from the dust. Thomas Paul Landers, along with most of those arrested in May 17, 2015, has had all charges against him related to Twin Peaks tragedy recently dismissed. Paul, although very relieved, is still angry about the continued prosecution of innocent people also arrested and jailed that day that continue to face the prospect of life in prison for being ambushed at a political gathering.
On May 17th, 2015 I arrived home after a 350 mile ride following a club event in Oregon, to my son telling me to watch CNN because they were reporting a shooting at a biker event in Texas. I began watching the news coverage and immediately called my friend Paul Landers when I realized it was a COC meeting. Paul is a prominent motorcycle rights activist and always attended COC events in Texas, so I immediately began worrying about him.
Paul answered the phone from the parking lot of the Twin Peaks. I asked him if he was alright. He said he wasn’t injured but didn’t know what was going to happen. We hung up, and the rest of the story has been a 3 year nightmare for Paul and nearly 200 others arrested, jailed, and held on $1-$2 million dollar punitive bonds. Paul’s nightmare ended Monday, May 14th, 2018 when his charges were dismissed by the McLennan County District Attorney. In fact, most of the charges have been dropped against most individuals.
But, unfortunately, the nightmare is not over for 24 individuals re-indicted and charged with rioting, three of them also charged with murder. And because a murder occurred, the sentence can be enhanced to the same level of life in prison.
The McLennan County DA’s office refuses to let go, has shifted from organized crime to rioting, and persists in charging individuals that irrefutably “retired” from any conflict and still others acting in self defense of themselves or others.
Take the examples of Marshall Mitchell and Jacob Carrizal, both obviously not guilty for different reasons. Marshall Mitchell never engages in any conflict, can be seen shaking a Cossacks hand on video, and quickly “retired” from the area of the ambush and gunshots, just as most that were able. Jake Carrizal, on the other hand, was unable to retreat from an ambush in which he clearly acted in self defense, as the video, his mistrial, and reports of overwhelming support for not guilty from most jurors demonstrates.
The fight to free those that are not guilty must not end. In fact, now is the time to further unite the motorcycle club community and continue he fight to protect the right to associate with a motorcycle club without fear of targeted prosecution. And now that the shackles on one of the most important motorcycle rights activists of our time have been removed, we all stand a better chance of succeeding. #FightTheGoodFight.
The post Charges Against Key Motorcycle Rights Activist Dismissed in Waco appeared first on Motorcycle Profiling Project.
The Daytona Beach News Journal (News Journal) is disrespectfully using the anniversary of a biker’s murder as an opportunity to promote a discriminatory and highly inaccurate stereotype about motorcycle clubs, even going so far as quoting an investigator from Wisconsin saying that motorcycle club members have a history of killing children.
The National Council of Clubs, a movement representing the political, legal, and legislative interests of motorcycle clubs nationwide, is outraged that any media source would desecrate the memory of a man that lost his life prematurely by irresponsibly propagating fear and false narratives about tens of thousands of individuals that belong to motorcycle clubs.
Outlaw MC member Louie Da’ Lip was murdered in Daytona Beach on April 2, 2017.
The News Journal released an article on April 2, 2018 titled, “1 year later, murder of Daytona Outlaws biker ‘Louie da Lip’ remains unsolved.” But instead of merely reporting on the facts of Louie’s murder, the News Journal used the 1 year anniversary of this incident to spread fear and sensationalized falsehoods regarding motorcycle club culture. The News Journal reports:
“Members of biker gangs have committed murder, rape and other violent crimes and they have a history of degrading women and even killing children, said Charles Berard, a criminal investigator from Wisconsin who has studied biker gangs for more than three decades.”
The above quote is so highly inaccurate and offensive that it’s printing alone should disqualify Mr. Berard and the News Journal’s credibility. To imply that motorcycle clubs have a history of killing children is as far from the truth as possible. There is a fundamental and foundational principle among members of motorcycle club culture that crimes against children are absolutely not tolerated.
Basic research by the News Journal would have revealed that even qualified law enforcement experts recently testifying in trials in Waco and San Antonio recognize that motorcycle clubs will not allow members that have committed crimes against children and that committing a crime against a child is grounds for expulsion from the club. Indeed, there are dozens of motorcycle clubs such as Bikers Against Child Abuse (BACA) that are dedicated to the mission of protecting children.
On the other hand, law enforcement officers do truly have a long and irrefutable history relating to crimes against children and women. The Associated Press recently reported 1,000 cases of sex crimes committed by police, including sex crimes against children. The State of Florida is not exempt. Consider the recent conviction of a Florida cop for statutory rape while on duty. And in terms of law enforcement killing children, there is simply not enough time or space to discuss even the most recent incidents that have happened coast to coast, including Florida.
Motorcycle club members, by comparison, have far less propensity to commit felony crimes. Have some members of motorcycle clubs been convicted of felony crimes? Most certainly. But, just as the egregious acts of some police officers do not define the whole, the vast majority of motorcycle club members, including 1%’ERS, do not have criminal records. The sensationalized hype is simply not true.
What do the available statistics reveal? The 2017 National Motorcycle Profiling Survey, with only a 1.4% margin of error, demonstrates that less than 2% of club members in Florida have been convicted of a felony crime.
The News Journal should be admonished for irresponsible and one-sided tabloid reporting. Louie Da’ Lip’s memory should be respected with dignity. His murder should not be, must not be, used for the purpose of spreading fear and sensationalism. This fear is, in-turn, being used to justify the current epidemic of profiling and discrimination targeting motorcycle clubs, particularly in Daytona Beach.
Professional ethics would dictate that the News Journal cease taking an active role in law enforcement’s campaign of discrimination and begin to responsibly report balanced and researched journalism relating to motorcycle clubs.
The post Daytona Beach News Journal Falsely Reports Bikers Kill Children appeared first on Motorcycle Profiling Project.