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.
The Story as Published in the Daytona Beach News Journal
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.
Would you believe someone that said, “I support motorcycle clubs and champion the rights of mistreated riders. But my female Social Ambassador must refrain from promoting any association with motorcycle clubs or political issues relating to motorcycle rights.” Well that’s exactly what Law Tigers has done.
Law Tigers placing ad for an influencer contest, but prohibiting motorcycle club affiliations
Law Tigers, a national franchise business of injury attorneys who market to motorcyclists, boasts on their website that they exist to help all riders. Beyond accidents, Law Tigers claims to stand for the rights of motorcyclists, including clubs. But in seeming direct contradiction to these statements of support, a requirement of a posted Law Tigers Social Ambassador position requires that the ambassador not promote any political or motorcycle club affiliations, a requirement that would be considered unconstitutional if Law Tigers were a state employer.
It’s difficult to square these two perspectives simultaneously. Motorcycle clubs are lucrative marketing ground and also influential among the broader biker community. Supporting attorneys that actually support motorcycle clubs and rights should be an important directive for all club members and rights advocates.
Motorcycle Rights and Accident Attorneys
The motorcycle rights movement has been primary marketing ground for motorcycle accident attorneys for decades. And the social contract can be mutually beneficial. It’s no secret that personal injury law is one of the most profitable forms of practice. It’s also no secret that motorcycle accidents are common, particularly among motorcycle clubs which represent the segment of the motorcycling community that rides the majority of miles ridden in America. Profits from this relationship can fund critical civil liberty lawsuits to fight discrimination against motorcyclists that would otherwise lack sufficient funding. Lawsuits can be very expensive.
The promise to pursue rights based claims can be very persuasive to motorcycle club members. The fact that a portion of profits from an accident settlement/judgement is re- dedicated to fight discrimination provides a mechanism to address issues that would otherwise go unchallenged.
But motorcycle club members realize the value of this relationship and are often skeptical that the attorneys obligations under the social contract are being fulfilled. Of course they have to say they support motorcycle rights and motorcycle clubs. But what if this same organization creates employment requirements that would be unconstitutional infringements on association and speech if imposed by a state employer?
Law Tigers Talks The Talk
The Law Tigers website describes the firm’s goals and background in a third person narrative. In the About section, Law Tigers is described as caring for all riders and even going so far as to say that Law Tigers is a champion of motorcycle rights, including clubs.
“Their passion for riding and marketing acumen have built Law Tigers into a nationally- recognized brand that serves every rider in the US.”
“Warren [Levenbaum’s] work championing the rights of mistreated riders continues to resonate as the soul of Law Tigers, and Ari [Levenbaum] has cultivated thousands of partnerships within the motorcycle world – clubs, vendors, manufacturers, and dealerships.”
Ok. So Law Tigers talks the talk. But what do they require of those representing their brand?
Law Tigers Contract Restricts Female Ambassor’s Association and Speech Rights
These “Biker” attorneys are promoting a contest where the winner becomes the contracted Social Ambassador to the Law Tigers brand. As a condition to the contract, the Social Ambassador “must refrain from promoting political, religious, illegal or motorcycle club affiliation on their personal social platforms.”
Law Tigers is not prohibited from discriminating because they are a private employer and motorcycle clubs are not a protected class. However, if Law Tigers were a government entity, then this contract requirement restricting fundamental speech and association rights would arguably be considered an unconstitutional violation of the 1st Amendment. ( See RONALD GODWIN v. ROGUE VALLEY YOUTH CORRECTIONAL FACILITY, (RVYCF et al.,) U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, No. 14-35042, AUGUST 10, 2016)
Motorcycle club members are a very valuable resource for motorcycle accident attorneys. Regardless of private entities such as Law Tigers legal right to restrict employees expression rights, motorcycle club members and motorcycle rights advocates have a choice when they are the unfortunate victims of an accident. All motorcycle accident attorneys will tell you they support clubs and rights. All accident attorneys say they are the “champion” of motorcycle rights when a victim is deciding whether to retain them for an accident. But not all all motorcycle attorneys walk the walk. Certainly, motorcycle club members and other motorcyclists concerned about civil liberties should be hesitant to hire an attorney that didn’t want their social ambassador to express association with clubs or political issues.
The post Law Tigers Restricts Employee From Associating With Motorcycle Clubs. appeared first on Motorcycle Profiling Project.
The tragic murder of Outlaw Motorcycle Club member Paul Anderson on December 21, 2017 near Tampa Bay has been used by Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco to perpetuate fear about motorcycle clubs generally and to desecrate the memory of a decorated military Veteran. The National Council of Clubs, representing motorcyclists around America, issued a press release expressing outrage at Nocco spreading unnecessary fear and dismissing Paul’s murder as an example of bad things happening to bad people.
Some local news media outlets payed attention and reported this outrage in response to further fear tactics being used. Nocco started to express concern over Paul’s funeral service on January 6th, and the local NBC affiliate balanced these warnings with the NCOC press release issued on January 5th. Based on reports of an MPP contributor on site, Nocco and law enforcement did not act on threats to harass bikers for traffic infractions during the January 6th memorial service. Instead, they served their proper function and even blocked traffic for the procession.
The local NBC1and ABC2 affiliates reported on January 5th that Nocco claims that hundreds and even thousands of outlaw motorcyclists from around the country were descending on Florida, and that law enforcement would profile club members for any little mistake in order to keep everyone in line at Paul’s funeral.
“There is going to be overwhelming law enforcement presence. We are going to make sure there is peace. We are going to make sure everybody abides the traffic laws. There is not going to be blocking traffic, if people are running a red light, they are getting a ticket,” Nocco said.
A visible law enforcement presence to deter another violent incident is specific and justifiable. Paul was shot and killed while sitting in his vehicle, in broad daylight, on a public road. Three members of another motorcycle club were arrested for the murder within hours. But to go beyond a deterant function with specific threats of selective enforcement targeting club members that have committed no crimes is simply deplorable.
NBC also balanced their reporting by quoting the NCOC Press Release:
“The murder of Paul Anderson is a tragedy. Paul was an innocent and valuable human being and his memory does not deserve to be desecrated,” the National Council of Clubs said in a statement.
Anderson’s friends were angered when Nocco told reporters, “Sometimes bad things happen to bad people.”
The NCOC says they are “outraged that authorities are using this tragedy to tarnish Paul’s memory and perpetuate fear that could impact innocent motorcyclists.”
But after the NCOC Press Release was reported in the local news media, Nocco adjusted his explanation and claimed that LE’s function would be confined to deference through visible presence. Nocco responds he just doesn’t “want trouble before or after the funeral.” Based on reports by attendee and MPP contributor Bobby Colella, law enforcement performed their function of deference through presence without incidents of harassment or profiling.
Firsthand Account of Paul’s Memorial Service
Bobby Colella writes:
On 6 January, 2018 at around 1pm, on a sunny Sunday afternoon in New Port Richey, Florida, I was one of hundreds of motorcycle club members who pulled out from the Cross Bayou Chapter of the Outlaws M.C. clubhouse as part of the funeral procession for Paul Anderson.
In the lead were the police, with sirens blaring, then the bike with the hearse in tow, then a small pack of bikes, then a limousine with family members that was followed by the Outlaws M.C., who was then followed by various other clubs and riders who came to pay their respects. Two- by-two we rolled down the dirt road, over the bridge and onto the main highway.
As we pulled onto the main strip, we passed multiple police vehicles to include military tactical vehicles consisting of a HMMWV and a blacked out 5-ton (M939) cargo style vehicle. They were parked across traffic lanes as mobile barriers. As the procession proceeded along the route, one couldn’t help notice the multitude of parked police vehicles and the squads of officers from local, state, and federal agencies that were strategically positioned along the entire route to Dobies’ Funeral Home.
Beyond the initial observation of the heavy law enforcement presence and the constant sound of a Pasco County sheriff’s helicopter overhead, was another presence, the presence of the American citizen. You could not help but notice the hundreds of people that lined the road.
Some we curious onlookers, some were people who were stuck in the traffic, but many were there very deliberately. They had their hats in hand, hands over their hearts standing at attention, and paying their respects to an American war veteran who lost his life in a senseless and tragic murder.
The paradox of an overwhelming police presence, tactical vehicles, helicopters and volatile press-briefings designed to not only criminalize an individual, but also criminalize an entire subset of the American population; overlaid with 100’s, if not a thousand Americans gathering from all corners of the country on a cold January afternoon to pay their final respects doesn’t make sense.
There is no doubt that if left ONLY with Nocco’s version of who Paul Anderson was, these people lining the roads wouldn’t have known the true person this procession was for.
Law enforcement as a whole did a good and safe job of blocking traffic and not harassing the participants. Though, they probably could have saved the taxpayers some money if they left the helicopter on the helipad!
The post Police Respectful at Outlaws Funeral After Media Reports Public Outrage appeared first on Motorcycle Profiling Project.
January 5, 2018
National Council of Clubs
Re: LE statements following Outlaws MC Paul Anderson killing.
Contact: David Devereaux-Spokesperson
The National Council of Clubs, an organization dedicated to protecting the political, legal and legislative interests of motorcyclists nationwide, is very concerned that law enforcement is using the tragic murder of Outlaw Motorcycle Club member Paul Anderson near Tampa Bay on December 21st to dangerously propagate unnecessary fear and bias against all motorcycle clubs and bikers. Law enforcement is using the local news media to imply that Paul was a deserving criminal and to report that outlaw motorcycle clubs nationwide are headed to Florida for retaliation. More than being highly inaccurate sensationalism, such fear-driven propaganda creates very real risks to the civil liberties and safety of innocent motorcyclists in Florida.
After three suspects were arrested within 24 hours of Paul’s murder, Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco conducted a press conference covered in the local news media. (See Video Here) Nocco was completely dismissive of Paul as a person because he was a member of the Outlaws MC. The fact that he was an innocent victim was never reported. Instead, Nocco, when discussing Paul, said “bad things happen to bad people.” There was not a single mention of his decorated military service or of his surviving family. The truth about Paul would not fit Nocco’s false narrative of fear.
“…bad things happen to bad people.”
– Sheriff Chris Nocco
The murder of Paul Anderson is a travesty. He was an innocent and valuable human being and his memory does not deserve to be desecrated. The truth is that he was a hero and a loved son and brother. According to his Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, Paul had a distinguished military career and served in the U.S. Army as a Sergeant who was both Army Ranger and Sniper qualified. His decorations and awards include the Purple Heart, Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Expert Infantryman’s Badge, Master Parachutist’s Badge, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal (2nd award), Overseas Service Ribbon, and the Good Conduct Medal (2nd award) to name a few. Paul was Honorably discharged after 6 years of service to our country and pursued a professional contracting career. Paul is survived by his mother, his sister, and many club brothers. He wasn’t married and had no children. Paul will be laid to rest next to his brother who was previously killed while also serving in the armed forces.
The truth is that Paul Anderson was a hero and a loved son and brother.
Instead of the truth, Nocco chose to use this tragedy to spread fear among the general public and other law enforcement agencies. Nocco says that motorcycle clubs are no different than the Italian mafia, that there are tens of thousands of members. He falsely claims that motorcycle club members are coming into Florida from across America to retaliate.
Further, Nocco urged the public to call police to report any sightings of motorcyclists with out of state tags or motorcyclists riding in a pack with club colors on. He leaves no possibility that most motorcycle club members do not engage in criminal activity. “Don’t be disillusioned,” he said. “There are professionals in these groups, lawyers, in public safety unfortunately. They have 9-to-5 jobs in hospitals and are nurses.” However, Nocco said when they’re not being a nurse, when they’re out here, they are committing crimes.
Nocco urged the public to call police to report any sightings of motorcyclists with out of state tags or motorcyclists riding in a pack with club colors on.
These assertions are absurd. To suggest that motorcycle club members are professionals by day and criminals by night is self-serving nonsense. Nocco, and others embracing his worldview, simply cannot fathom that the majority of motorcycle club members, including those in 1% clubs, are working professionals with no criminal records that regularly participate in 1st Amendment protected activities.
Do some motorcycle club members commit crimes? Of course. Just as some cops commit crimes. But illegal acts committed by individual cops do not mean all cops are criminals any more than this incident means all 1% club members are criminals. It is a fallacy of composition to make a generalized presupposition about a community consisting of thousands of people based on the actions of the few.
The NCOC is outraged that authorities are using this tragedy to tarnish Paul’s memory and perpetuate fear that could impact innocent motorcyclists. Thousands of bikers and motorcycle club members travel to Florida annually for dozens of events that happen around the state, including the Tampa Bay Area. Of immediate concern is the fact that many out of state club members will be coming to Florida in January for Paul’s memorial service. Club members will be coming to show their respects, not to retaliate. They are now all at risk of being profiled, harassed, or worse.
This is not the first time law enforcement has used a tragedy to perpetuate dangerous rumors. Following the Waco tragedy on May 17, 2015, Sargent Swanton of the Waco PD issued similar warnings. Swanton too reported that motorcycle clubs were descending on Waco to retaliate. However, in the end, after many months, law enforcement admitted all of the retaliation claims were false.
The motorcycle club community knew these rumors were false when they were reported in Waco, just as the NCOC knows Nocco’s warnings are false now. It is irresponsible and unethical to use the spotlight created by tragedy to criminalize an innocent victim and perpetuate fear of an entire community of associations protected by the 1st Amendment.
The National Council of Clubs Public Relations Committee
The post All FL Bikers at Risk After LE Statements Regarding Murdered Outlaw. appeared first on Motorcycle Profiling Project.
Mile High Harley-Davidson of Parker, Colorado has announced that it will be hosting a motorcycle swap meet in support of the Colorado Confederation of Clubs (Colorado COC) and to benefit the Colorado Vets 4 Vets program on January 27th and 28th, 2018. Mile High HD of Parker is in full support of the Colorado COC’s decision to not attend the Motorcycle Expo due to the banning of the Mongols Motorcycle Club, a Colorado COC member club. The swap meet is a perfect example of a responsible response to acts of discrimination against the motorcycle club community.
Background: The Mongols And The Denver Swapmeet.
Although the Colorado Motorcycle Expo was cancelled in 2017, the event has returned for 2018. And now the expo has made the decision to exclude the Mongols MC from attending the swap meet based on events occurring in 2016.
As reported on January 30, 2016, during the annual Colorado Motorcycle Expo, commonly called the Denver Swapmeet, Iron Order MC member Derrick “King” Duran shot two members of the Mongols MC, killing a Mongol named Victor Mendoza. Victor was attempting to disarm Duran because he had already shot one of his club brothers and was pointing and waving a gun at dozens of innocent people. The MPP obtained a photo (that subsequently went viral) showing Duran with a gun in his hand moments before he killed Mendoza.
The IOMC, known to have active law enforcement among their membership, has been involved in a laundry list of confrontations around the country with other motorcycle clubs that have resulted in violence or death. Iron Order members have not been held accountable for any of the violence or killings that they have been involved in. The same holds true for the incident in Colorado. Outrageously, the district attorney declined to charge Duran, at the time a Corrections Officer, with a crime.
In response to this decision, the Colorado COC, with the support of the National Council of a Clubs (NCOC), an organization representing the interests of motorcycle clubs nationwide, has decided to withdraw support for the Colorado Motorcycle Expo. In support of the Colorado COC, Mile High HD of Parker is hosting an alternative to the Colorado Motorcycle Expo at their location in nearby Parker, Colorado on January 27th and 28th, 2018. The event will benefit Veterans in the state of Colorado.
NCOC Responds: Press Release December 19, 2017:
The Denver Swap meet had been going on for decades without any incidents of violence. The Mongols MC had attended for many years, as have most of the bigger clubs around the country. But the first time the Iron Order attend the event a deadly confrontation occurs and a Mongol is murdered. The IOMC, with known connections to law enforcement, is not charged in the crime. The event owners and promoters then respond by banning the Iron Order and the victims of the 2016 shooting. The Colorado COC, with national movement backing, withdraws support for the event and a local Harley dealership hosts an alternative swapmeet that benefits Veterans.
Instead of doing nothing, the Colorado COC responded to the act of discrimination prompting a local Harley-Davidson dealership to host an alternative event that also benefits Veterans, not the promoters. The Colorado COC serves as a textbook example of how to unify the community in response to acts of discrimination.
The post Harley Dealership Swap meet Created After Motorcycle Expo Bans Mongols appeared first on Motorcycle Profiling Project.
While attending the 2017 Biketoberfest rally in Daytona Beach, Florida, members of the Iron Horsemen Motorcycle Club (IHMC) were the target of blatant profiling and discrimination at the hands of the Daytona Beach PD. The incident, caught on videotape as a result of quick thinking, is irrefutable.
The impact on civil liberties motivated the combined efforts of the North Florida Council of Clubs (NFLCOC), the National Council of Clubs (NCOC), and the Motorcycle Profiling Project (MPP) to immediately respond with a formal complaint and public record requests. These inquiries, based on the video, have sparked an investigation into the actions of the officers involved and a review of Daytona PD policies regarding motorcycle clubs, says a source inside of Chief Craig Capri’s office. Already, as a result of the State Attorney’s inquiry, a curriculum is being constructed and all Daytona PD officers will be re- trained relating to motorcycle profiling. Activism works.
The Story Captured On Video
On October 20th, 2017, members of the IHMC, while walking down the street doing absolutely nothing wrong, were stopped and surrounded by Daytona PD officers and asked to produce identification. Why? Video captured by the IHMC reveals that the seizure and demand for identification was based solely on individuals wearing colors identifying membership in a 1% motorcycle club. In fact, Daytona PD officers explain on video that stopping and documenting motorcycle club members is standard department policy.
A member of the IHMC, exercising his constitutional right to film police in public, captured the entire event on video. Video can be irrefutable proof of wrongdoing in a case of motorcycle profiling. The video also served as the foundation for a successful complaint that is triggering review from within as well as by the state’s attorney.
This is not the first time that the Daytona Beach PD has been caught on videotape further establishing a clear pattern of motorcycle profiling. Video from earlier in 2017 captures DPD Chief Capri confirming that if you wear a patch in Daytona Beach you will get pulled over. These videos prove that the issue of motorcycle profiling is systemic in Daytona Beach, even reaching the highest law enforcement office, the Chief of Police.
The COC Takes Action: Video Triggers DA Review of Daytona Beach PD
After reviewing the video provided by the IHMC to the MPP, Daytona Beach resident and patch holder Bobby Colella was in a unique position to combine the efforts of three entities focused on the same goal. Colella is a member of the NFLCOC, member of the NCOC PR Committee, and an MPP contributing author. Colella immediately drafted a complaint and sent it to the DPD Police Chief Craig Capri and Mayor Henry by email on 10/24/2017 and by certified mail on 11/03/2017. Colella followed the complaint with a public records request asking for any department policies related to motorcycle clubs or profiling and any records related to the event. Eventually he received a response from the DPD. Colella writes:
“On 11/15/2017 I received a phone call from Jessica Wolfflesnider, executive assistant to Daytona Beach Police Department (DBPD) Chief Craig Capri. Wolfflesnider stated that the video has been submitted to the Florida State Attorney’s office for review. Wolfelsneider also stated there has been an officer (Lt. McBride) assigned to internally review the video and work with the DA’s office throughout the review process.”
“Wolfflesnider stated that dependent on the findings of the state attorney, there could be several actions that occur, to include the officers being reprimanded and additional training being mandated for the officers involved in the 20 October incident, and possible adjustments to the department’s policies.”
On December 18, 2017 Colella received an update from the DBPD. Colella writes:
“Wolfflesnider reports that, in response to the video captured at Biktoberfest, the DBPD Training Department is now working in conjunction with the Florida State Attorney’s office to develop a curriculum to retrain all officers in the department.”
“Wolfflesnider also reported that there is an ongoing investigation being conducted by internal affairs relating specifically to the officers involved in an incident that occurred on October 20, 2017, captured on video by a member of the Iron Horsemen Motorcycle Club.”
This incident is a textbook example of how an effective grassroots movement can handle an incident of motorcycle profiling that occurs in the motorcycle club community.
First, the IHMC, from the beginning, made sure to capture the incident on video. The video is the critical piece of evidence referenced in all further developments.
Second, the video was released through grassroots media like the MPP and shared on social media, which resulted in thousands being exposed. Web media and social networking provides an alternative mechanism to communicate an effective message that is not reliant on traditional news media outlets.
Third, the Florida and National Council of Clubs utilized the video as the foundation for a complaint to the Daytona PD which has triggered an inquiry that has resulted in re- training an entire department and could result in reprimand and/or reform for officers caught profiling on the video.
It’s easy to say that things can’t be fixed or that profiling comes with the territory and has always been a problem for bikers. But fighting back using the democratic process and media that isn’t controlled by monetary motivations can help reduce profiling and secure the freedoms all people should enjoy.
The MPP will report any developments or updates.
The post Biketoberfest Motorcycle Profiling Video Sparks Investigation & Retraining appeared first on Motorcycle Profiling Project.
A recent incident in Modesto, California further evidences that law enforcement is employing a new strategy to target motorcycle clubs. The MPP has reported on the the national trend towards law enforcement attempting to disarm motorcycle club members, including those that have no criminal record, for no other reason than their association with a motorcycle club. In fact, many incidents, including the instant case in California, involve individuals that have a Carry Concealed Weapon license, which also means they have no criminal record and have undergone extensive background checks.
Infringing on the right to legally carry strikes at the heart of biker culture. There are nearly a million registered motorcyclists in California. According to the National Motorcycle Profiling Survey 2017, the Second Amendment right to bear arms is supported by 99% of all bikers. The Second Amendment is likely the one non- motorcycle related issue that almost all bikers agree on.
Unfortunately for California, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that carrying a weapon outside the home is not covered by the Second Amendment, which means concealed carry is a discretionary privilege and not a right. This also means that revoking CCW’s do not violate the Second Amendment.
The positive impact is the hope that this growing threat to the Second and First Amendments will generate further support and participation in the movement to combat motorcycle profiling legislatively, at the state and federal level.
In May 2017, an alleged associate of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club was stopped while riding with two others, one of which authorities claim was a full patched Hells Angel that failed to yield for law enforcement. It was discovered that the alleged associate had a CCW. As a result of this stop, Sheriff Adam Christianson, representing the agency that issued the CCW, was notified by Modesto PD relating to the individual’s alleged association with the Hells Angels MC. Sheriff Christianson then notified the alleged associate that his CCW and right to carry a weapon was revoked based on his alleged association with the Hells Angels.
Sheriff’s Letter Revoking CCW For Associating With Outlaw MC’s. Why do they get away with it?
To many it may seem that this is a blatant violation of the Second Amendment. Essentially, the government is forcing a choice between association and bearing arms, two Constitutional rights. But the applicable 9th Circuit Court of Federal Appeals precedent says that “concealed carry” is a privilege, and not a fundamental right guaranteed by the Second Amendment. The court reasoned “that the Second Amendment does not preserve or protect the right of a member of the general public to carry concealed firearms in public.” There is no Second Amendment right to carry a concealed weapon, and therefore regulations that limit one’s ability to get a CCW permit do not violate the U.S. Constitution. 1
Additionally, California is what is termed a “may issue state”, meaning that it is up to the discretion of the jurisdictional Sheriff to approve or revoke an individual’s right to concealed carry.
Is there a solution?
The long-term impact on the civil liberties of patch holders, and then likely others, is very alarming. To blatantly target a community and revoke their rights to carry solely based on association, with no personal guilt of any crime required, sounds like a slippery slope.
The MPP believes that the ultimate solution lies in legislation that directly challenges statutes that allow extreme discretion when imposing restrictions on privelages like CCW’s based on an individual’s 1st Amendment associational rights. Legislative directives that require those reviewing CCW applicants to disregard protected associations like motorcycle club membership, would provide much needed protection related to legal carry.
1 Peruta v. Cty. of San Diego (June 9, 2016) No. 10-56971
The post Sheriff Revokes Gun Rights for Associating With Hells Angels appeared first on Motorcycle Profiling Project.
The first trial of Christopher Jacob Carrizal has come to an end. As an expert consultant to his defense, the MPP refrained from releasing anything related to the trial in an attempt to avoid any negative impact or potential conflicts of interest. But the trial is now over and it’s time to speak the truth.
Judge Matt Johnson declared a mistrial after two days of deliberations in which the jury was hopelessly deadlocked. The President of the Dallas chapter of the Bandidos Motorcycle Club was facing three separate charges relating to events that took place at the Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco, Texas on May 17, 2015. Carrizal was charged with directing a criminal street gang and engaging in organized criminal activity, or conspiring to engage in criminal activity, as a member of a criminal street gang, resulting in 9 murders and 18 instances of aggravated assault.
Although a new trial setting has been scheduled for April 2018, there are many factors that could impact the decision for a retrial. Regardless, based on observing the trial firsthand, there is every reason to have hope that Jake Carrizal will remain a free man. Why? Because Jake chooses courage over cowardice. And that choice makes America a better place.
The State’s Case Against Carrizal
The state’s case rested largely on two text messages sent by Carrizal to other members of the Dallas chapter, and Dallas area support clubs, in the week preceding Twin Peaks. The first text asks for all members of the red and gold (that aren’t working) to attend the COC meeting at Twin Peaks and to leave their Ol’ Ladies at home. The second text simply suggested that everyone bring their tools. The prosecution contended that these texts were sufficient to establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Fortunately for Jake, the red and gold nation, and the motorcycle club community at large, a jury of 12, all citizens of Waco, disagreed and refused to convict.
The attempt to retry Carrizal will likely be futile. At one point on Friday, November 10th the jury sent a note to Judge Matt Johnson indicating that they had a unanimous verdict on one charge but were hopelessly deadlocked on the other two. But later that day the jury indicated that they were hopelessly deadlocked on all three charges.
According to firsthand accounts, the jury was nearly unanimous in the opinion that Carrizal was NOT GUILTY an all counts. One of the 12 jurors sent a message to Casie Gotro, Carrizal’s attorney, validating this claim after the trial was over:
“Hello my name is ******** and I was one of the jurors on Jake’s case. Please let Jake and his family know that I am so sorry that we couldn’t get 2-3 guys to change their mind to not guilty. They weren’t budging. I hate that you, him, and his family are possibly going to have to do this again. Jake seems like a great guy, and his mom seems so sweet. I think you are an awesome attorney and did a great job. If you have any questions please feel free to reach out to me. If this case happens to go to trial again I hope you get all of the evidence beforehand.”
The Most Important Factors In Carrizal’s Defense
Based on directly observing the trial, the MPP contends that there were two major elements of the defense that resulted in the majority of jurors concluding that Carrizal was not guilty. First, Jake Carrizal, in the MPP’s opinion, was the most credible witness to take the stand during the five week trial in the 54th District Court of McLennan County. Second, Miss Gotro’s closing argument was powerful and convincing. Self- defense and courage are far more credible and persuasive than the McLennan County District Attorney’s discriminatory and specious conclusions related to the Bandidos Motorcycle Club and 1% culture.
Jake Takes The Stand
Carrizal took the stand in his own defense and told the jury a firsthand account of the events of May 17, 2015. Carrizal, arriving in a pack of motorcycles riding from Dallas, was immediately ambushed by a large number of members from the Cossacks Motorcycle Club. Dozens of Cossacks jumped over a rail and poured out of the Twin Peaks patio area surrounding Carrizal’s group. Words were exchanged. Things quickly escalated. A Cossack hit a Bandido. More punches were thrown and gunshots quickly followed. Police responded and subdued the conflict. Police killed four of the Cossacks that died that day. One Bandido and one Bandido supporter were killed by the ambushing Cossacks.
Carrizal, based on his vivid testimony, says he was acting in self-defense when he shot two bullets from a .38 Derringer that his father had given him for protection. (Ballistics confirm that neither of these shots hit anyone.) Carrizal’s father, also ambushed, was shot by a Cossack but survived.
Interestingly, based on Carrizal’s account, there is only one party responsible for the tragedy at Twin Peaks. While many people over the last two and a half years have insisted that law enforcement is the culpable party, Carrizal’s testimony directly disputes this notion. In fact, Carrizal maintains that law enforcement saved his life that day. Not once. But twice. Two Cossacks, shooting at Jake from less than ten feet away, were justifiably shot by officer Jackson of the Waco PD. According to Carrizal, the Cossacks were solely responsible for the conflict that day by violating sacred ground among motorcycle clubs. With the exception of a few minor incidents over decades, Confederation of Clubs meetings have been peaceful gathering places, even among alleged rivals.
Miss Gotro’s Closing Argument
The prosecution contended that Carrizal only had two choices on May 17, 2015. The DA essentially argued that running away like a coward, leaving his father and Club brothers behind, was the only legal option. The state argued that the choice to stand his ground was criminal because they consider the Bandidos MC a criminal street gang. But Miss Gotro rebutted this notion with only one word.
Miss Gotro argued that there has to be another choice other than being a coward or a criminal, reminding the jury that they had the option of carving out space in between these two extremes. The courage to stand your ground in the face of an ambush in defense of yourself and others must be an option.
Why? Because, as Gotro argued, men like Jake make the world a better place. We are better off with men that display courage in the face of fear and extreme circumstances instead of those that display cowardice or criminality.
Some Final Thoughts
In a world where our civil liberties and the right to free association and expression are heavily under attack, the MPP strongly agrees with Gotro’s argument. The founding of America was based on courage. There would be no free republic if those that fought for our independence chose cowardice. They too were labeled criminals for displaying courage in the face of oppression and fear.
We are better off because of men like Jake Carrizal and their commitment to loyalty, honor, love and respect. Our world would be a far better place if society defined righteousness by the display of courage as opposed to the cowardice suggested by Reyna, Jarret, and the entire McLennan County DA.
Jake represents a free society. The state’s prosecution represents the lack of honor driving the attempt to erode the freedoms and liberties many real men have fought against for over 200 years. Jake deserves to be fully exonerated and issued an apology from the state of Texas.
Indeed, it’s cowardice that ought to be considered criminal.
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