What You Should Know About Motorcycle Clubs

By David “Double D” Devereaux

William Dulaney, a retired professor at the U.S. Air Force Air Command & Staff College, has conducted extensive research on motorcycle club culture as an observer and a participant. In recent years, he has consulted on many cases in defense of members of motorcycle clubs ranging from illegal weapon charges related to get back whips, to the first Twin Peaks trial. His doctoral degree dissertation focused on the identity and culture of America’s outlaw motorcycle community.

As experienced by Aristotle, Einstein, and countless doctoral dissertations [i], conclusions and perspectives often evolve based on many factors. These factors include time spent in the field of participant observation, more expansive data collection, and expansion of geographic regions analyzed in-depth. The study of motorcycle club culture is no different.

Although Dulaney observed at the time of his initial writings that they were limited by geographic region and time spent in the field of observation, as is common with early academic studies [ii] [iii], some of Dulaney’s most recent observations based on years in the field were documented in a piece for CNN. [iv] He writes, “I’ve spent 15 years researching America’s biker culture and I can say with some authority that the reality of everyday life in motorcycle clubs is neither dangerous nor exciting.” So why might some people have a different view?

Media drives public perception

Dulaney explains, “Americans have a long established canon from which they “learn” about society from fictional dramas. And the more we watch shows like “Sons of Anarchy,” the more a news story will seem to fit our mental construct of “how those people are.” And Dulaney’s research on media coverage of motorcycle clubs shows that when MCs are in the news it’s almost always for something terrible, not the numerous law enforcement abuses or profiling of patch-holders or the mundane everyday experiences of motorcycle club members. He continues, “But here’s the thing: As we watch more crime drama, we perceive that crime is more prevalent than it actually is.”

The Blue Jay Syndrome

A criminal element exists in any large community. There are always “bad seeds.” Dr. Dulaney would not disagree. But he would point to a phenomenon revealed by his recent studies that applies to motorcycle clubs termed The Blue Jay Syndrome. Like a blue jay robbing another’s nest for resources, a tiny percentage of individuals are able to take advantage of the tight-knit structure of a motorcycle club for their own selfish or even criminal purposes, and then flee the nest when they’ve depleted and damaged the structure. [v] Although this is not representative of the vast majority of motorcycle club members across the wide-spectrum of clubs, these false perceptions of widespread criminality are largely drawn by media constructs, both entertainment and sensationalized news.

Findings related to profiling.

Motorcycle profiling, an issue that has gained momentum in recent years and is now a national discussion, has also emerged in Dulaney’s recent observations. He argues, “In over a decade of sifting through discovery evidence and testifying in federal RICO and state gang-enhancement trials across the US a model of law enforcement behavior has emerged. The model is simple: specific federal agents use various federal, state, and local police “motorcycle gang” task forces to profile members and friends of motorcycle clubs. The profiling ranges from pre-textual traffic stops intended to document identities and update gang crime databases to the systematic deprivation of civil rights; with violations of the 1st, 4th, and 14th Amendments being most prevalent.”

A shift to coexistence

Over the past 10 years, as awareness of motorcycle profiling has increased, combined with historical events like Waco, motorcycle club participation in the grassroots motorcycle rights movement has increased as well. Across America, this participation has resulted in more communication and cooperation among motorcycle clubs as it relates to common ground issues like profiling.

In terms of issues related to rivalries among motorcycle clubs, Dulaney’s more recent observations reveal more of a coexistence. At a funeral for a patch-holder killed in Waco, Dulaney witnessed members of “more than 50 other motorcycle clubs come together in peace to mourn the passing of a man who touched the lives of so many in his community. This convergence of contrasting MC’s was no media stunt. There were no media in the funeral that day (although there was one white, unmarked van, out of which came uniformed men clad in body armor and armed with assault rifles).”

“As one who earns a living studying and teaching about threats to national security, it concerns me greatly to think that precious time, money, and manpower are wasted on targeting the wrong people. We have very real dangers to our society, our American way of life, but MC’s are unequivocally not among those dangers. In my experience, patch-holders represent the very people who protect us from those threats.”

What drives people to MC’s?

So what really drives many people to motorcycle clubs? The answer must include the obvious love of riding motorcycles and a sense of brotherhood. But also, Dulaney argues, as a largely patriotic group, “MCs support a wide variety of local, national, and international charities that seek to end cancers, poverty, hunger and children’s diseases, but especially supported are disabled veterans organizations.”

But the connection to the charitable mission appears to run much deeper. Dulaney writes, “Charity is to members of motorcycle clubs as gasoline and oil are to their machines. For some, it’s a major reason why they join and stay in MCs.”

Perception is not reality

The mainstream news and entertainment media have created a perception of motorcycle clubs based on the highly sensationalized actions of the few.

As suggested by Dulaney’s most recent observations and study, this is now 2019, and the realities of society are different than they were even 15 years ago, and that includes the data. The conclusions based on the widest geographic sample, combined with years of observation, suggest that the mainstream media’s coverage of motorcycle clubs is like the Wizard of Oz, and the general public is susceptible to the same tactics of sensationalism.

Endnotes

[i] https://www.famousscientists.org/10-most-famous-scientific-theories-that-were-later-debunked/

[ii] Dr. Dulaney warned in his 2006 dissertation that his study was based on limited participant observation data and therefore suffered. p.x- Participant observations were conducted from May through June 2004 across the United States, with the majority of data originating from the Southeast United States in general, and the northern Florida Panhandle in particular. Another limitation of this study is the short amount of time spent in the field. Ethnographers often spend months and years in order to arrive at an emic [meaning an inside] understanding of another culture. The present study suffers due to the fact that only a few months were spent recording data.

[iii] Dr. Dulaney testified in May 2018 that his current views, based on many years of participant observation, are different than they were in 2006. Dr. Dulaney’s current views are not geographically limited to the Southeast US and the Florida Panhandle. Rather, current conclusions are based on observing motorcycle club culture across geographic regions of the entire United States and many more years in the field.

[iv] https://www.cnn.com/2015/10/06/opinions/dulaney-lisa-ling-motorcycle-clubs/index.html

[v] Dr. Dulaney stated during an expert qualification hearing in 2018 that he has been developing the Blue Jay Syndrome theory for years now and was working on material for peer review and to publish.

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San Antonio Police Say Wearing MC Colors In Public Is A Crime

By David “Double D” Devereaux

Motorcycle profiling is an epidemic in Texas demanding judicial and legislative relief. It appears that the level of unconstitutional absurdity has reached new heights. As captured on video, members of a motorcycle club were cited by officers in San Antonio for Disturbing the Peace for displaying their motorcycle club insignia in public, which the officers considered a public display of gang colors. The officer’s actions are outrageous and blatantly unconstitutional under both the 1st and 4th Amendments to the US Constitution. All officers in San Antonio, and throughout Texas, should immediately cease and desist from any further illegal seizures and citations based on the fact that a person is riding a motorcycle or wearing motorcycle club-related insignia.

Motorcycle profiling an epidemic in Texas

This incident in San Antonio is only one of the most recent incidents documented and reported across the state. According to the 2018 National Motorcycle Profiling Survey (NMPS) Executive Summary, Texas is among the worst states for reported incidents of profiling in America. The 2018 NMPS confirms the wide-held belief among motorcyclists in Texas that incidents of profiling have dramatically proliferated since the Twin Peaks tragedy that occurred on May 17, 2015. The 2018 NMPS shows a 100% increase in the percentage of survey participants reporting incidents of profiling in Texas since 2013.

Impact on civil liberties

Being stopped and cited for wearing motorcycle club colors under the guise of disturbing the
peace would be laughable if it weren’t actually happening. Wearing motorcycle club colors in
public has been recognized by federal courts as expressive conduct protected by the 1st
Amendment. Moreover, wearing motorcycle club colors is not reasonable suspicion of a traffic
infraction or criminal activity, the minimal threshold for a seizure under the 4th Amendment.

Independent of this obvious misapplication of statute, profiling incidents take many forms and
impact a wide array of civil liberties. Motorcycle club members with a legal License to Carry
have been arrested for possession of legal firearms simply for being a member of a motorcycle
club. Club members have been stopped and threatened with jail if they didn’t submit to having
every tattoo on their bodies photographed against their consent. Unfortunately, the fact that
these attacks on civil liberties impact well established rights and fly in the face of well
established judicial precedent has not been a deterrent to law enforcement.

Video is critical to fighting back

The video captured in San Antonio could be a critical piece of evidence demonstrating the
essential facts required to successfully defend against the infraction and maybe file for an
injunction against the practice of stopping and/or citing a person for wearing motorcycle club
colors. The facts are all contained in a short video. The individuals in the video are being cited
for Disturbing the Peace because wearing motorcycle club colors is displaying gang colors in
public. This video makes these facts irrefutable.

Independent of judicial applications, this video and incident also help establish a tangible
pattern of profiling necessary for legislative relief. Seeing is believing and nothing has worked
better than video in the MPP’s opinion.

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Louisiana Unanimously Passes Anti-Motorcycle Profiling Law

By David “Double D” Devereaux

On June 3, 2019 Louisiana became the third state in America to unanimously pass legislation addressing the issue of motorcycle profiling when the Louisiana House voted 103-0 in favor of HB 141, and concurred with the Louisiana Senate’s 38-0 approval with amendments the day before. Following similar laws in Washington State (2011) and Maryland (2016), HB 141 requires motorcyclist profiling training to be integrated into current training on biased policing. Notably, Louisiana is the first state to pass a law following the US Senate’s unanimous approval on December 11, 2018 of a resolution directing every state to follow Washington and Maryland’s lead.

Louisiana’s victory, a result of Representative Howard sponsoring ABATE of Louisiana Inc.’s grassroots driven efforts- with the support of the Louisiana Confederation of Clubs, the National Council of Clubs and the MPP- are important for a number of reasons. HB 141 will reduce incidents of profiling in the short and long-term. Also, HB 141 demonstrates that motorcycle profiling is a non-partisan issue impacting motorcyclists in blue and red states alike, regardless of party affiliation. This, in turn, will likely make things a bit easier for the next state, and even the federal government, to address the issue.

Reducing incidents of profiling.

Mandatory motorcycle profiling training will bring a greater awareness of the issue to law enforcement in Louisiana. This will, in turn, reduce incidents of motorcycle profiling. But even before the first officer is trained, the increase in awareness of the issue as a result of legislative action will likely have a more short-term impact.

Using Washington State as the example with the most data, based on the
reduction in reports to the WA State Council of Clubs, integrating
motorcycle profiling training into current training on profiling noticeably reduced incidents of profiling in the state. The impact was immediate and, the MPP believes, most likely the result of an immediate increase in awareness.

Although some profiling incidents do still occur, reported incidents are
nowhere near pre-2011 levels. Importantly, when challenged in court, most
incidents that do occur result in dismissals. But the key to maintaining a
reduction has been continued diligence from the same community that pushed for a new law in the first place.

Unanimous Consent

Notably, laws addressing motorcycle profiling have been the result of
legislation passed without a single no vote, in any committee or on the floor, in Washington State and Maryland. Louisiana proudly continues this trend with HB 141, also passing all legislative stages unanimously.

Laws addressing motorcycle profiling are nonpartisan, speaking to a broad base of legislators on both sides of the aisle. Louisiana is far more
conservative than Washington State or Maryland. HB 141 demonstrates that discriminatory policing is equally condemnable by the left and the right, particularly the targeting of an entire community defined by the 1st Amendment. Motorcycle profiling is an issue providing the opportunity for collaboration and cooperation unbound by party affiliation that every legislator should openly support.

A Word of Caution

Passing a law addressing motorcycle profiling is a noticeable
accomplishment that should not be undersold. ABATE of Louisiana has driven a grassroots effort into the end zone. Although nowhere near pre-2011 levels- the year the law passed- motorcycle profiling incidents still do occur in Washington State. Maintaining a grassroots infrastructure in the form of the Washington State Council of Clubs and Washington State ABATE provides a place for victims of profiling to report their incidents and receive advice and in some cases legal assistance.

Many dismissals have been granted since 2011. Many of these individuals
received advice or assistance from the COC. The MPP believes maintaining a grassroots infrastructure in Louisiana will be directly connected to the new law’s ultimate effectiveness.

There are considerations beyond dismissals as well. For example,
motorcycle profiling sensitivity training will be official law enforcement policy in Louisiana providing a tangible basis for official complaints filed against offending officers. An efficient organizational response to incidents that do occur will help insure the new law addressing motorcycle profiling is as effective as possible.

May the dominoes fall

Every state that passes laws addressing motorcycle profiling makes the
next state considering the issue more likely to act. This is particularly true when, in the legislative efforts that have seen success, there has not been a single vote of opposition by an elected official at the state or federal level.

Every successful effort addressing motorcycle profiling has also been
centered around a grassroots movement consisting of collaboration between independent motorcyclists and the motorcycle club community. Indeed,
Louisiana is the most recent living example of why the MPP was founded and
proof of the results that can be obtained, without opposition, by
implementing the best practices and principles developed at the state and national level.

Congratulations Louisiana.

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What Every MC Needs to Know About the Mongols MC Sentencing

By David “Double D” Devereaux

Entire Mongol Nation Gets 500k Fine, 5 Years Federal Probation.

The National Council of Clubs (NCOC), representing the interests of
motorcycle clubs nationwide, is extremely alarmed that the recent sentence
imposed in US v. Mongol Nation case will be seen as a green-light for the federal government to target innocent members of other motorcycle clubs that have had members found guilty under RICO.

On May 17, 2019, ironically the 4th anniversary of the Waco biker tragedy, Judge David Carter, presiding in the Federal District Court of Central California, sentenced the Mongol Nation following a trial in which a jury found the club as an entity guilty of RICO Racketeering and Conspiracy. On a positive note, Judge Carter again denied all requests related to forfeiting the club’s patch and collective marks. On a not-so- positive note, Judge Carter imposed a $500,000 sentencing fine to be paid in monthly installments of $8,475 until paid in full. Finally, and most concerning to the NCOC, Judge Carter placed the entire Mongol Nation on Federal probation for a term of 5 years. Essentially, Judge Carter has opened the door to a legal campaign of profiling and harassment targeting
the entire Mongols Motorcycle Club.

Smoke and mirrors

While the majority of the focus has understandably been on issues related to saving the patch and the government’s attempts to seize the Mongols collective membership marks, there has been little discussion related to the Mongols Nation being indicted as an entity under RICO for the first time in history.

The government’s goal for more than a decade has been seizure of the club’s patch as a form of sentence under RICO. Although rebuked at every
juncture, the strategy of indicting the Mongol Nation as an entity was yet another attempt to take the patch. Although Judge Carter has consistently denied patch forfeiture requests, the other independent consequences of being indicted as an entity are beginning to surface.

Carter orders $500k in sentencing fines

When Judge Carter denied patch, forfeiture based on 1st and 8th Amendment grounds, he also made it clear that the government had an interest in targeting the financial foundations of the Mongols Nation. Judge Carter writes, “It is beyond question that the government has a legitimate interest in attacking the economic roots of a criminal organization like the Mongol Nation.”

At the May 17th sentencing hearing Judge Carter reinforced this belief.
Judge Carter ordered the Mongol Nation to pay $500k in sentencing fines, $250k per RICO count. Carter rejected the government’s request for $1 million in fines. The club is required to pay monthly installments of $8,475 until the fine is paid.

With hundreds of members nationwide, attorney Stephen Stubbs has stated
the Mongol Nation is capable of paying this fine. However, the magnitude of this fine has serious implications for the majority of the motorcycle club world if this strategy is employed against other clubs. Simply put, $500k in sentencing fines would likely financially crush all but the biggest clubs.

Mongol Nation sentencing fine ignores personal guilt.

Independent of the practical ability to pay massive fines, consider that
these fines are being collected from individuals that did not commit any of the crimes the Mongol Nation was found guilty of. Many of the crimes used to establish a RICO violation go back more than a decade. Those culpable individuals have already been sentenced and many have already paid their debt to society.

The idea that restrictions and punishment are being applied to innocent
individuals; runs counter to long-established judicial principles. There is “no evidence that by merely wearing [Mongols MC] “colors,” an individual is “involved in or associated with the alleged violent or criminal activity of other [Mongols MC] members. It is a fundamental principle that the government may not impose restrictions on an individual “merely because an individual belongs[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 [the Mongols MC], 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 162 F.Supp.3d 380 (2015)

The entire Mongol Nation gets 5 years federal probation.

The NCOC believes that the most concerning element of sentencing is Carter’s decision to place the entire Mongol Nation (defined as all official or full-patched members) on federal probation for a period of 5 years. Nothing like this has ever been done, which creates a great deal of ambiguity and potential for abuse. This is particularly true considering that Assistant US Attorney Steve Welk and ATF agent John Ciccone are in charge of the Mongol Nation probation and both of these men have demonstrated the desire to dissolve the Mongols Nation by any legal means.

Understanding federal probation placed on an individual is clear-cut and
defined. For example, an individual on probation is always prohibited from
possessing and carrying firearms and has no defense against search and seizure while on probation. But when those same restrictions are placed on the Mongol Nation as an entity, what about individuals that legally possess and carry weapons?

Mongol Nation Attorney Stephen Stubbs asked Judge Carter for clarification. Judge Carter explained, for example, that the firearm
restriction would not prohibit individuals that legally carry in their
individual capacities. However, if there is a nexus or an implied connection to the Mongol Nation leadership then the prohibition applies.

But even Judge Carter’s explanation is ambiguous, which creates more questions than answers. Does this mean individuals wearing a Mongols patch cannot carry a weapon? Does this mean no one can possess a weapon in a Mongol Nation clubhouse or at a Mongol Nation event? If so, what about
associates and friends? Does this mean that no one can carry a weapon when around the leadership of the Mongol Nation?

In terms of search and seizure, what is considered Mongol Nation property or a Mongol Nation clubhouse? If a club meeting is held at an individual’s home does that mean it is functioning as a
clubhouse? Can any member or associate be freely searched without reasonable suspicion or probable cause if they are inside a Mongol Nation clubhouse?

Beyond the Mongol Nation

Regardless of any personal opinions, the fate of the Mongols MC is in
many ways creating a blueprint for the destruction of motorcycle club culture across the board, particularly 1% clubs. Indeed, it is even more accurate to argue that the fate of the Mongols MC is creating a blueprint for the destruction of civil liberties in general, far beyond just motorcycle clubs. Unification of energy, intellect and resources may be the only chance motorcycle club culture has to resist the monolithic power of the federal government and the attempts to extinguish an entire community.

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Motorcycle Profiling Bill Unanimously Passes Louisiana House

By David “Double D” Devereaux

The State of
Louisiana is on pace to become the third state to pass a law addressing the
issue of motorcycle profiling. On Tuesday, May 15th, on a vote of 91-0, the Louisiana House Of Representatives unanimously approved HB 141 which requires mandatory motorcycle profiling sensitivity training be integrated in the current policing curriculum. The measure now goes on to the Louisiana Senate, moving one step closer to becoming law.

A Grassroots Effort

HB 141 is the result of the cooperative efforts of ABATE and the Confederation of Clubs of Louisiana, with support from the Motorcycle Profiling Project and the 2018 National Motorcycle Profiling Survey.

On the heels of a successful campaign to exclude motorcyclists from the state masking laws which were being used as a mechanism of profiling, ABATE and the COC took the next logical step by advocating a law addressing motorcycle profiling at a broader level. With the help of legislators, particularly primary sponsor
Representative Frank Howard, HB 141 has yet to receive a no vote in either the judicial committee or the House Floor.

Mandatory Training

Recognizing that improper training is a primary cause of profiling, HB 141 requires motorcyclist profiling sensitivity training and defines the concept. HB 141 reads:

  • (1) The council shall include motorcyclist profiling awareness training in the current bias recognition policing curriculum. The training shall consist of at least one-half hour of classroom or internet instruction, or a combination of classroom and internet instruction. This training shall address issues related to motorcyclist profiling and shall be provided to peace officers as defined in R.S. 40:2402(3)(a).
  • (2) For purposes of this Subsection, “motorcyclist profiling” shall mean 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 or his motorcycle or motor vehicle.

A National Discussion

Motorcycle profiling is now a legitimate policy discussion. In fact, on December 11, 2019 the US Senate unanimously approved a resolution directing all states to follow the lead of Washington State and Maryland and implement policies addressing the issue. An identical resolution is now making its way through the US House of Representatives.

Louisiana appears to be responding to this federal directive.

*for HB 141 tracking and bill text go to: https://legiscan.com/LA/text/HB141/2019

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The REAL Reason Behind Waco Biker Dismissals

By David “Double D” Devereaux

Waco Biker Dismissals an Attempt to Avoid Millions in Lawsuits

In the interests of justice, on April 2, 2019 all remaining charges related to the May 17, 2015 Twin Peaks shootings in Waco, Texas have been dismissed by the newly elected McLennan County District Attorney Barry Johnson. These dismissals are a significant victory in the history of motorcycle club culture and the fight against motorcycle profiling and discrimination. Although this concludes the criminal chapter of Twin Peaks, the legal battles are far from over. There are currently over 100 civil rights claims pending and the official press release announcing the dismissals makes it obvious that the new DA is attempting to cover Waco’s interests from a liability standpoint. There is no apology and no admission of wrongdoing related to the mass arrests. Instead, Johnson puts all the blame on former DA Abel Reyna, arguing that viable prosecutions could have occurred after the initial arrests had correct procedures been followed. The stakes are massive. In total, these lawsuits are seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in damages for a list of obvious constitutional infringements from false arrest to excessive bail.

A Brief Timeline of Events

It has been nearly 4 years (May 17, 2015) since 9 bikers were killed and 20 injured, many at the hands of law enforcement, after gunfire erupted in the parking lot of a Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco preceding a scheduled Texas Confederation of Clubs and Independents meeting intended to discuss motorcycle rights issues.

Surrounded by pre-staged law enforcement obviously expecting an issue, the violence erupted after Bandidos MC members from the Dallas area pulled into the Twin Peaks parking lot. A club called the Cossacks, not members of the Texas COC&I, were already there. A verbal altercation ensued quickly followed by pushing, shoving, and then gunshots from every direction, many coming from law enforcement.

After the violence, instead of questioning and releasing witnesses, law enforcement, at the direction of the former McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna, used identical generic affidavits and arrested nearly 200 people charging them with Engaging in Organized Crime solely based on their association with a motorcycle club. Every individual was also held on excessive $1-$2 million-dollar bails.

After nearly 2 years, Bandidos MC member Jake Carrizal from Dallas was the first person to be tried. The trial ended in a mistrial and near acquittal after the county spent $1.5 million dollars on its unsuccessful attempt.

The End of Reyna’s Reign.

After the Carrizal trial, the McLennan County DA’s Officer began to implode culminating in Reyna’s election defeat by a 20% margin largely as a result of the grassroots efforts of Texas motorcyclists that vocally and visibly campaigned against Reyna.

After being defeated, Reyna’s administration dismissed charges against all but 24 individuals. These 24 individuals were then charged with Riot, 3 of them also being charged with murder. The sentence for Riot can be at the level of the most serious crime committed during the riot, which in this case means all 24 charged could have potentially faced life in prison.

Johnson Takes Over.

In January 2019, Barry Johnson became the new McLennan County DA and has publicly stated that he has spent 75% of his time reviewing the Twin Peaks cases. Initially, Johnson stated that most of the 24 cases would be dismissed and a handful of the most viable cases would proceed. On April 2, 2019 the number of viable cases in Johnson’s opinion is zero. It was announced that all charges against all individuals would be dismissed.

Johnson Playing CYA for Waco

Although this is a significant win for those facing charges, Johnson’s statements regarding the dismissals are in no way an apology. Johnson argues that there was reasonable suspicion for the arrest of nearly 200 people and the subsequent grand jury indictments of 154 of those arrested. Johnson is attempting to argue that the arrests were constitutional, despite the generic fill-in-the-blank nature of the affidavit. Johnson further argues that the $1 million-dollar bonds were also reasonable and justified surely in answer to lawsuits charging excessive bail in violation of the 8th Amendment.

Johnson’s statements regarding the dismissals puts 100% of the blame on Reyna’s decision- making post the arrests. Johnson argues that Reyna should have charged individuals with crimes that could be demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt such as aggravated assault and attempted murder, charges in which statute of limitations has now run out.

Johnson contends that the Riot charges, even if successful, would unlikely survive an appeal because it was an attempt to charge a misdemeanor as a felony. The likelihood of failure at the appellate level, in Johnson’s assessment, means the only prudent decision was dismissal of all charges.

Johnson is Wrong: Arrests Were False and Bail Was Excessive.

Considering his position, Johnson’s strategy is completely understandable. Johnson feels that dismissal is demanded because of the high likelihood of failure, but that no constitutional violations occurred. No one goes to jail. Waco doesn’t go bankrupt for civil rights violations.

Although understandable, Johnson’s position is incorrect and a clearly veiled political attempt to protect against civil liability. The MPP believes that constitutional violations certainly occurred in terms of the 4th and 8th Amendments. And so do many legal scholars.

There was absolutely no particularized and specific reasonable suspicion or probable cause justifying the arrest of nearly 200 people. Absolutely none. Generic affidavits were used to initiate the arrests. Nothing specific beyond association with a motorcycle club, which does not meet the legal threshold.

It is anyone’s guess how the civil proceedings will ultimately play out. But what is certain is that we will not know for a very long time.

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The REAL Reason Behind Waco Biker Dismissals

By David “Double D” Devereaux

Waco Biker Dismissals an Attempt to Avoid Millions in Lawsuits

In the interests of justice, on April 2, 2019 all remaining charges related to the May 17, 2015 Twin Peaks shootings in Waco, Texas have been dismissed by the newly elected McLennan County District Attorney Barry Johnson. These dismissals are a significant victory in the history of motorcycle club culture and the fight against motorcycle profiling and discrimination. Although this concludes the criminal chapter of Twin Peaks, the legal battles are far from over. There are currently over 100 civil rights claims pending and the official press release announcing the dismissals makes it obvious that the new DA is attempting to cover Waco’s interests from a liability standpoint. There is no apology and no admission of wrongdoing related to the mass arrests. Instead, Johnson puts all the blame on former DA Abel Reyna, arguing that viable prosecutions could have occurred after the initial arrests had correct procedures been followed. The stakes are massive. In total, these lawsuits are seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in damages for a list of obvious constitutional infringements from false arrest to excessive bail.

A Brief Timeline of Events

It has been nearly 4 years (May 17, 2015) since 9 bikers were killed and 20 injured, many at the hands of law enforcement, after gunfire erupted in the parking lot of a Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco preceding a scheduled Texas Confederation of Clubs and Independents meeting intended to discuss motorcycle rights issues.

Surrounded by pre-staged law enforcement obviously expecting an issue, the violence erupted after Bandidos MC members from the Dallas area pulled into the Twin Peaks parking lot. A club called the Cossacks, not members of the Texas COC&I, were already there. A verbal altercation ensued quickly followed by pushing, shoving, and then gunshots from every direction, many coming from law enforcement.

After the violence, instead of questioning and releasing witnesses, law enforcement, at the direction of the former McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna, used identical generic affidavits and arrested nearly 200 people charging them with Engaging in Organized Crime solely based on their association with a motorcycle club. Every individual was also held on excessive $1-$2 million-dollar bails.

After nearly 2 years, Bandidos MC member Jake Carrizal from Dallas was the first person to be tried. The trial ended in a mistrial and near acquittal after the county spent $1.5 million dollars on its unsuccessful attempt.

The End of Reyna’s Reign.

After the Carrizal trial, the McLennan County DA’s Officer began to implode culminating in Reyna’s election defeat by a 20% margin largely as a result of the grassroots efforts of Texas motorcyclists that vocally and visibly campaigned against Reyna.

After being defeated, Reyna’s administration dismissed charges against all but 24 individuals. These 24 individuals were then charged with Riot, 3 of them also being charged with murder. The sentence for Riot can be at the level of the most serious crime committed during the riot, which in this case means all 24 charged could have potentially faced life in prison.

Johnson Takes Over.

In January 2019, Barry Johnson became the new McLennan County DA and has publicly stated that he has spent 75% of his time reviewing the Twin Peaks cases. Initially, Johnson stated that most of the 24 cases would be dismissed and a handful of the most viable cases would proceed. On April 2, 2019 the number of viable cases in Johnson’s opinion is zero. It was announced that all charges against all individuals would be dismissed.

Johnson Playing CYA for Waco

Although this is a significant win for those facing charges, Johnson’s statements regarding the dismissals are in no way an apology. Johnson argues that there was reasonable suspicion for the arrest of nearly 200 people and the subsequent grand jury indictments of 154 of those arrested. Johnson is attempting to argue that the arrests were constitutional, despite the generic fill-in-the-blank nature of the affidavit. Johnson further argues that the $1 million-dollar bonds were also reasonable and justified surely in answer to lawsuits charging excessive bail in violation of the 8th Amendment.

Johnson’s statements regarding the dismissals puts 100% of the blame on Reyna’s decision- making post the arrests. Johnson argues that Reyna should have charged individuals with crimes that could be demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt such as aggravated assault and attempted murder, charges in which statute of limitations has now run out.

Johnson contends that the Riot charges, even if successful, would unlikely survive an appeal because it was an attempt to charge a misdemeanor as a felony. The likelihood of failure at the appellate level, in Johnson’s assessment, means the only prudent decision was dismissal of all charges.

Johnson is Wrong: Arrests Were False and Bail Was Excessive.

Considering his position, Johnson’s strategy is completely understandable. Johnson feels that dismissal is demanded because of the high likelihood of failure, but that no constitutional violations occurred. No one goes to jail. Waco doesn’t go bankrupt for civil rights violations.

Although understandable, Johnson’s position is incorrect and a clearly veiled political attempt to protect against civil liability. The MPP believes that constitutional violations certainly occurred in terms of the 4th and 8th Amendments. And so do many legal scholars.

There was absolutely no particularized and specific reasonable suspicion or probable cause justifying the arrest of nearly 200 people. Absolutely none. Generic affidavits were used to initiate the arrests. Nothing specific beyond association with a motorcycle club, which does not meet the legal threshold.

It is anyone’s guess how the civil proceedings will ultimately play out. But what is certain is that we will not know for a very long time.

The post The REAL Reason Behind Waco Biker Dismissals appeared first on Motorcycle Profiling Project.

Source:: The REAL Reason Behind Waco Biker Dismissals

Why US v Mongol Nation is Still a Threat Despite Trademark Win

By David “Double D” Devereaux

The recent decision by Judge David Carter in US v. Mongol Nation that the First and Eighth Amendments to the US Constitution prohibits the government’s request to seize the collective membership marks of the Mongols MC, including their club name patch and center-patch, is a victory for all. A victory that should be discussed and celebrated. However, the MPP also believes that part of this discussion should focus on the other implications to Judge Carter’s decision. Implications that aren’t being discussed because the focus has understandably been on the patch forfeiture issues. What other implications? Beyond the issues of forfeiture, a brand-new strategy to target motorcycle clubs under RICO has been born and legally confirmed. The idea that a motorcycle club can be indicted under RICO as an entity, regardless of other members personal guilt, for crimes committed by individuals already punished for those crimes, should equally alarm everyone. Although the government can’t take a club’s patch, they can seize a club’s property and impose huge fines. What else could the government do with this new theory of prosecution?

A Brief History

In the government’s more than decade long mission to take the Mongols MC’s collective membership marks, and property bearing those marks, they stumbled upon a new theory of prosecution after previous attempts to take the patch were ultimately unsuccessful. The 9th Circuit ruled that the government couldn’t take patches and property from members of the club that had not been indicted because that would violate the First Amendment.

However, the court provided a blueprint for the government’s next move. The court concluded that the Mongol Nation, the unincorporated association that owns the collective membership marks in question, would have to be indicted as an entity for the theory to work. So, that’s exactly what the US Attorney decided to do.

US v. Mongol Nation has been the most recent result of the government’s new strategy. The Mongol Nation, as an entity, defined as all full patched members of the club, was charged and found guilty by a federal jury of racketeering and conspiracy to engage in racketeering under the RICO statute. That jury also granted the government’s request for forfeiture of collective membership marks, which Judge Carter set aside for Constitutional reasons. However, Judge Carter upheld the jury’s decision to convict and conditionally granted forfeiture of seized property. Specific items to be seized will be decided at a sentencing hearing set for April 24th, 2019.

They can’t take a club’s patch, but guilty verdict on MC as an entity upheld.

Although Carter doesn’t believe the government can take a club’s collective membership marks, he “agrees with the Government that an unincorporated association including the Mongol Nation can be held liable for each predicate act alleged in the indictment.”(The predicate acts in this indictment include everything from drugs to assault and murder charges)

The Court sees no meaningful distinction between corporate criminal responsibility and liability of unincorporated associations. The Supreme Court addressed the criminal liability of a partnership and specifically held that “the business entity cannot be left free to break the law merely because its owners, stockholders … partners … do not participate in the infraction.

Leadership v. Rogue Actors- determining guilt for an association.

It is not enough that various members and associates of a motorcycle club “are involved in spontaneous criminal acts as an individual or as a small group of individuals. In other words, the spontaneous rogue acts of individual members and associates do not create guilt for an association.”

What element is required to find an association guilty of RICO? An implied connection to leadership is enough. “[T]o the extent that an illegal act was committed at the express or implied direction of the leadership of the defendant Mongol Nation, the entity may be found guilty. This is entirely consistent with corporate criminal responsibility, and is precisely what Congress intended in passing RICO, which expressly targets criminal organizations.

The concerning terms “implied direction of the leadership…”

Further analysis of Carter’s decision may shed some light. Carter argues that Congress may constitutionally impose criminal liability upon an entity for acts of its agents. “Such liability may attach without proof that the conduct was within the agent’s actual authority, and even though it may have been contrary to express instructions.” Carter also argues that it’s not necessary for the government to prove that the act was authorized by the entity formally or in writing. Sounds like the government has a very low threshold of proof to establish that an act was committed “at the implied direction of leadership.”

So, what sentence will Judge Carter impose?

Judge Carter has been very explicit about what he intends to do on April 24th. Carter writes, “The Mongol Nation is guilty of substantive RICO and RICO conspiracy. The criminal organization is subject to sentencing fines and criminal forfeiture consistent with this Order.

Items to be forfeited include weapons, ammunition, body armor, and related items originally seized during ATF raids. This comes as no surprise to the MPP as it seems consistent with other RICO forfeitures.

However, sentencing fines for criminal liability are not explained in-depth. How much can the fine be? Are there limits? Who pays the fine? The leadership? The membership?

What sentences will we see in the future?

Independent of sentencing fines and asset forfeitures, what else could the government seek in terms of criminal liability when a club is indicted as an entity? I’m not sure many people have a solid answer to this question. But I think the question is definitely worth exploring.

After a club is found guilty as an entity under RICO, can the government feasibly obtain an order against any member of the club possessing or carrying a firearm? The answer may vary depending on what state you are in, but even the very pro-2nd Amendment state of Texas is revoking gun rights from individuals solely for membership in a motorcycle club authority label a gang. The sky may not be falling, but possible impacts to gun rights are at least a possibility, particularly in “may issue” states.

What about employment? An individual without a criminal record is a member of an entity found guilty under RICO of Racketeering and Racketeering Conspiracy. Their employment contract requires that all employees not have a criminal record. Could it be argued that they now in violation of their employment contract?

There is no way to predict what the federal government will do moving forward with the newfound strategy of targeting a motorcycle club as an entity under RICO. But there are empirical reasons to believe that whatever strategy authorities employ will not advance civil liberties. Who could have predicted the strategy to completely redefine the First Amendment before they initially tried to take the Mongols MC’s patch? Who would have predicted the government’s initial success? Who would have predicted that nearly 200 individuals in Waco would be arrested on generic affidavits and incarcerated on $1-$2 million dollars bail instead of being questioned and released? Who would have guessed an individual could be arrested for Unlawful Carry in Texas as a LTC holder solely for being a member of a motorcycle club?

The Constitution does not seem to be a barrier in the decision-making calculus of authorities’ intent on targeting motorcycle clubs.

The post Why US v Mongol Nation is Still a Threat Despite Trademark Win appeared first on Motorcycle Profiling Project.

Source:: Why US v Mongol Nation is Still a Threat Despite Trademark Win

Why US v Mongol Nation is Still a Threat Despite Trademark Win

By David “Double D” Devereaux

The recent decision by Judge David Carter in US v. Mongol Nation that the First and Eighth Amendments to the US Constitution prohibits the government’s request to seize the collective membership marks of the Mongols MC, including their club name patch and center-patch, is a victory for all. A victory that should be discussed and celebrated. However, the MPP also believes that part of this discussion should focus on the other implications to Judge Carter’s decision. Implications that aren’t being discussed because the focus has understandably been on the patch forfeiture issues. What other implications? Beyond the issues of forfeiture, a brand-new strategy to target motorcycle clubs under RICO has been born and legally confirmed. The idea that a motorcycle club can be indicted under RICO as an entity, regardless of other members personal guilt, for crimes committed by individuals already punished for those crimes, should equally alarm everyone. Although the government can’t take a club’s patch, they can seize a club’s property and impose huge fines. What else could the government do with this new theory of prosecution?

A Brief History

In the government’s more than decade long mission to take the Mongols MC’s collective membership marks, and property bearing those marks, they stumbled upon a new theory of prosecution after previous attempts to take the patch were ultimately unsuccessful. The 9th Circuit ruled that the government couldn’t take patches and property from members of the club that had not been indicted because that would violate the First Amendment.

However, the court provided a blueprint for the government’s next move. The court concluded that the Mongol Nation, the unincorporated association that owns the collective membership marks in question, would have to be indicted as an entity for the theory to work. So, that’s exactly what the US Attorney decided to do.

US v. Mongol Nation has been the most recent result of the government’s new strategy. The Mongol Nation, as an entity, defined as all full patched members of the club, was charged and found guilty by a federal jury of racketeering and conspiracy to engage in racketeering under the RICO statute. That jury also granted the government’s request for forfeiture of collective membership marks, which Judge Carter set aside for Constitutional reasons. However, Judge Carter upheld the jury’s decision to convict and conditionally granted forfeiture of seized property. Specific items to be seized will be decided at a sentencing hearing set for April 24th, 2019.

They can’t take a club’s patch, but guilty verdict on MC as an entity upheld.

Although Carter doesn’t believe the government can take a club’s collective membership marks, he “agrees with the Government that an unincorporated association including the Mongol Nation can be held liable for each predicate act alleged in the indictment.”(The predicate acts in this indictment include everything from drugs to assault and murder charges)

The Court sees no meaningful distinction between corporate criminal responsibility and liability of unincorporated associations. The Supreme Court addressed the criminal liability of a partnership and specifically held that “the business entity cannot be left free to break the law merely because its owners, stockholders … partners … do not participate in the infraction.

Leadership v. Rogue Actors- determining guilt for an association.

It is not enough that various members and associates of a motorcycle club “are involved in spontaneous criminal acts as an individual or as a small group of individuals. In other words, the spontaneous rogue acts of individual members and associates do not create guilt for an association.”

What element is required to find an association guilty of RICO? An implied connection to leadership is enough. “[T]o the extent that an illegal act was committed at the express or implied direction of the leadership of the defendant Mongol Nation, the entity may be found guilty. This is entirely consistent with corporate criminal responsibility, and is precisely what Congress intended in passing RICO, which expressly targets criminal organizations.

The concerning terms “implied direction of the leadership…”

Further analysis of Carter’s decision may shed some light. Carter argues that Congress may constitutionally impose criminal liability upon an entity for acts of its agents. “Such liability may attach without proof that the conduct was within the agent’s actual authority, and even though it may have been contrary to express instructions.” Carter also argues that it’s not necessary for the government to prove that the act was authorized by the entity formally or in writing. Sounds like the government has a very low threshold of proof to establish that an act was committed “at the implied direction of leadership.”

So, what sentence will Judge Carter impose?

Judge Carter has been very explicit about what he intends to do on April 24th. Carter writes, “The Mongol Nation is guilty of substantive RICO and RICO conspiracy. The criminal organization is subject to sentencing fines and criminal forfeiture consistent with this Order.

Items to be forfeited include weapons, ammunition, body armor, and related items originally seized during ATF raids. This comes as no surprise to the MPP as it seems consistent with other RICO forfeitures.

However, sentencing fines for criminal liability are not explained in-depth. How much can the fine be? Are there limits? Who pays the fine? The leadership? The membership?

What sentences will we see in the future?

Independent of sentencing fines and asset forfeitures, what else could the government seek in terms of criminal liability when a club is indicted as an entity? I’m not sure many people have a solid answer to this question. But I think the question is definitely worth exploring.

After a club is found guilty as an entity under RICO, can the government feasibly obtain an order against any member of the club possessing or carrying a firearm? The answer may vary depending on what state you are in, but even the very pro-2nd Amendment state of Texas is revoking gun rights from individuals solely for membership in a motorcycle club authority label a gang. The sky may not be falling, but possible impacts to gun rights are at least a possibility, particularly in “may issue” states.

What about employment? An individual without a criminal record is a member of an entity found guilty under RICO of Racketeering and Racketeering Conspiracy. Their employment contract requires that all employees not have a criminal record. Could it be argued that they now in violation of their employment contract?

There is no way to predict what the federal government will do moving forward with the newfound strategy of targeting a motorcycle club as an entity under RICO. But there are empirical reasons to believe that whatever strategy authorities employ will not advance civil liberties. Who could have predicted the strategy to completely redefine the First Amendment before they initially tried to take the Mongols MC’s patch? Who would have predicted the government’s initial success? Who would have predicted that nearly 200 individuals in Waco would be arrested on generic affidavits and incarcerated on $1-$2 million dollars bail instead of being questioned and released? Who would have guessed an individual could be arrested for Unlawful Carry in Texas as a LTC holder solely for being a member of a motorcycle club?

The Constitution does not seem to be a barrier in the decision-making calculus of authorities’ intent on targeting motorcycle clubs.

The post Why US v Mongol Nation is Still a Threat Despite Trademark Win appeared first on Motorcycle Profiling Project.

Source:: Why US v Mongol Nation is Still a Threat Despite Trademark Win

Idaho Senate Apologizes To Motorcyclists Forced To Remove Colors

By David “Double D” Devereaux

After individuals were forced to remove their motorcycle club colors before entering the Idaho Senate viewing chambers to observe a vote on a bill addressing motorcycle profiling on March 4th, ABATE of Idaho sent a letter to every legislator in Idaho requesting an end to this discriminatory practice on March 8th.

The President Pro Tempore, Senator Brent Hill, initially responded by apologizing for any inconvenience, but the policy going forward was not clearly stated in his response. So ABATE of Idaho pressed forward requesting an explicit policy. Senator Hill responded in writing that individuals wearing motorcycle club colors would not be denied access to Idaho Senate Chambers going forward.

Although S1109, which would have prohibited motorcycle profiling, failed by one vote on the floor of the Senate this year, this incident and outcome move motorcyclists one step closer to legislative protection and further reinforces the importance of fighting back.

ABATE sends cease and desist to every legislator in Idaho

ABATE responds to Senate’s ambiguous apology

(Cont.)

Idaho Senate clarifies MC colors allowed in Senate Chambers

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Source:: Idaho Senate Apologizes To Motorcyclists Forced To Remove Colors