Monthly Archives: March 2019

No MC Colors Allowed in Idaho Senate for Profiling Bill Vote

By David “Double D” Devereaux

On Monday March 4th, 2019 members of the motorcycle club community were victims of unconstitutional discrimination inside the Idaho State Capitol when they were told by Capitol Security personnel that they would have to remove their motorcycle club colors if they wanted to enter the Senate chambers to observe a floor vote on S 1109, a bill prohibiting motorcycle profiling. These individuals (one a member of the Brother Speed MC and one an associate of the Vagos MC) also participate in ABATE, the primary grassroots group lobbying for a law in Idaho, and complied in order to watch the vote. ABATE of Idaho responded by sending a cease and desist request to every legislator in Boise on Friday, March 8th, 2019.

Constitutional Issues

ABATE’s letter to Legislators reads: “Any government agent denying an individual access to Senate Chambers because they are wearing motorcycle club colors is a clear violation of speech, association and due process rights protected by the US Constitution. Motorcycle club colors are First Amendment protected expression and wearing motorcycle club colors is considered expressive conduct, particularly when that expression is political.

Bree Walker, representing ABATE of Idaho, reported to the MPP that she talked with the Capitol Security Officer that denied MC members wearing colors access on March 4th and confirmed that the Idaho Senate Sergeant at Arms; Sarah Jane McDonald, ssgt@senate.idaho.gov, (208) 332-1400, was responsible for giving the order.

Motorcycle profiling and discrimination have literally followed motorcyclists inside the Idaho State Capitol, a place where freedom of expression in a free society is supposed to be paramount, while participating in the democratic process to address issues of profiling and discrimination. Unfortunately, S 1109, a simple measure codifying Constitutional principles, fell one floor vote shy of passing.

Denying access to individuals because they are wearing motorcycle club colors exposes the government officials involved to potential civil liability under 42 USC Section 1983 for violations of the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

Cease and Desist Request

ABATE of Idaho sent a letter to all state Senators and Representatives requesting “that the Idaho Senate, House of Representatives, and all law enforcement and other personnel involved with Capitol security, take whatever action necessary to guarantee that such unconstitutional acts of discrimination targeting those wearing motorcycle club colors at the Idaho Capitol immediately ceases.”

There is nothing in the Senate Rules that would prohibit motorcycle club colors. That’s freedom of expression. Why would there be?

It appears that evidence of motorcycle profiling in Idaho can no longer be denied.

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Texas Man Charged with Unlawful Carry Solely for Being a Bandido

By David “Double D” Devereaux

The MPP has heavily reported on the recent trend of individuals being arrested for possession of handguns merely for membership in a motorcycle club. This includes individuals with no criminal records and License To Carry holder’s. The MPP has even issued a travel warning to motorcyclists traveling through Texas. One such case against a member of the Bandidos Motorcycle Club (Ashley Becker) in Lubbock, TX continues with a refiling of charges for Unlawful Carry for mere membership in the club, which authorities label a criminal street gang. Law enforcement and prosecutors should dismiss all such cases in the name of justice because they rely on an unconstitutional application of statute which ignores the basic principle of personal guilt.

The Details

Texas Penal Code 46.02, the statute prohibiting gang members from carrying weapons, is being misapplied to individuals simply for being members of motorcycle clubs. Take Ashley Becker, who was originally charged with Unlawful Carry and suspicion of possessing a controlled substance in Lubbock, Texas in 2018. The weapon wasn’t illegal, and no crime was committed. He was arrested under 46.02 for being a Bandido in possession of an otherwise legal weapon. The alleged controlled substance, after being tested multiple times, turned out to be inconclusive.

While prosecutors make no admission that they misapplied statute 46.02, they filed a motion to dismiss. The motion reads, “The interest of justice cannot be served through further proceedings in this matter.”

Although the 2018 indictment was dismissed without prejudice, on February 9, 2019 charges were refilled against Becker on the Unlawful Carry charges. The affidavit identifies Becker’s membership in the Bandidos as the only probable cause for arrest.

Authorities persist despite absurd, unconstitutional interpretation of law.

Despite the fact that their interpretation of statute is unconstitutional and in violation of established state and federal rules of evidence, law enforcement and prosecutors persist in wasting public resources targeting individuals like Becker for participating in Constitutionally protected expression and association. This absurd interpretation of 46.02 would mean that carrying a weapon is unlawful for any individual that is a member of the Bandidos Motorcycle Club, with no other evidence, even with a License to Carry.

“If this seems outrageous, your instincts are correct. The MPP, after conducting cursory research on 46.02, has identified precedent, Ex Parte Flores 483 SW 3d 632 (2015), that clearly articulates how law enforcement is currently misinterpreting and misapplying Texas statute in violation of the basic rules of evidence and the US Constitution.”

“Law Enforcement and prosecutors should immediately cease and desist misapplying Texas statute. Applying Texas Penal Code 46.02 to members of clubs with no criminal records, and even LTC’s, would chill 1st Amendment Association and ignore the doctrine of personal guilt, “a cornerstone of American Jurisprudence.”

In the name of justice, prosecutors in Lubbock should again file a motion to dismiss all charges against Becker, this time with prejudice. Furthermore, prosecutors and law enforcement in El Paso, Dallas, and across the state of Texas should follow suite.

After motorcycle clubs, who’s next?

Everyone should ask themselves, “After motorcycle clubs, who’s next?” Every large identifiable group has individuals that have committed crimes. Should your civil liberties be taken based on the actions of other individuals you associate with even if you had no involvement in criminal activity?

The blatant attempt to disarm the entire community regardless of an individual’s personal involvement in criminal activity will not stop with motorcycle clubs if authorities are successful. Every American should be deeply concerned about this assault on basic civil liberties. Unpopular speech, including unpopular association, is the most important speech to protect. Or so long has held the Supreme Court.

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Motorcycle Profiling is Official Daytona PD Policy

By David “Double D” Devereaux

Video footage obtained by the MPP from the North Florida Council of Clubs confirms that motorcycle profiling is not only widespread in Daytona Beach, but it is also official law enforcement policy. In the words of Daytona PD Chief Craig Capri, “If you wear your colors [in Daytona Beach], you’re going to get stopped.” This official policy is unconstitutional and exposes the entire Daytona PD to civil liability. This video evidence also justifies a cost-free legislative solution in the form of a simple prohibition against motorcycle profiling combined with relief for victims.

Chief Capri’s Statement Proves Unconstitutional Practices Are Policy

Without any other evidence, Chief Capri’s Statement alone proves that the Daytona PD profiles motorcycle club members as a matter of policy. This official policy irrefutably violates the 1st, 4th, and 14th Amendments to the US Constitution.

Federal courts have confirmed that motorcycle club colors are protected by the 1st Amendment. To punish an individual through seizure in the form of a profiling stop anyone “who wears the insignia of [a 1% motorcycle club], without regard to or knowledge of that individual’s specific intent to engage in the alleged violent activities committed by other members, 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)

Chief Capri’s statement also violates the 14th Amendment because it represents Selective Enforcement of the law. Capri’s statement proves that the strategy to use traffic stops as a way to punish those exercising their rights of expression and association is premeditated and selective. In terms of the 4th Amendment, any minor traffic pretext used to stop a club member in Daytona Beach should be presumed invalid.

Exposure To Civil Liability

Motorcycle profiling as a matter of policy implicates the entire Daytona PD at an organizational level. Independent of individual officers and incidents, each profiling stop exposes the Daytona PD as an entity to civil liability. Chief Capri is the highest authority at the Daytona PD and clearly articulates a policy of discrimination and Selective Enforcement. 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 provides:

Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress.

An Epidemic In Florida

The National Motorcycle Profiling Survey validates the Florida’s profiling epidemic. The 2018 NMPS lists Florida as one of the top motorcycle profiling concerns in America. According to the 2018 NMPS, 65% of Florida survey participants reported being the victims of motorcycle profiling at least once since 2012. These survey statistics are 99% reliable with less than a 2% margin of error. (See NMPS Executive Summary 2018).

Despite promises, Daytona PD has failed to address motorcycle profiling

There is a long history and pattern of evidence establishing that motorcycle profiling is engrained in the Daytona Beach PD. And the Daytona PD has made empty promises when caught with their hands in the cookie jar.

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, the National Council of Clubs, and the Motorcycle Profiling Project to immediately respond with a formal complaint and public record requests. These inquiries, based on the video, sparked an investigation into the actions of the officers involved and a review of Daytona PD policies regarding motorcycle clubs, said a source inside of Chief Craig Capri’s office. As a result of the State Attorney’s inquiry, a curriculum was supposed to be constructed and all Daytona PD officers were to be re- trained relating to motorcycle profiling.

Unfortunately, almost 2 years later, motorcycle profiling is alive and well in Daytona Beach. As articulated, motorcycle profiling is still official policy.

A Legislative Solution

Motorcycle profiling is a legitimate national policy discussion. In December, the US Senate unanimously approved S.Res.154 which directs all states to follow the lead of Washington State and Maryland by legislatively addressing and condemning the practice of motorcycle profiling. A prohibition combined with injunctive and actual relief for victims is a simple solution with no fiscal impact. A legislative prohibition would immediately increase exposure to the issue therefore reducing incidents of profiling.

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