The next meeting for the Front Range Colorado COC Will be held;
January 6th @ NOON
LOC: Will be provided after venue confirmation.
LOC: Will be provided after venue confirmation.
July 10, 2018
National Council of Clubs
The National Council of Clubs (NCOC), dedicated to protecting the legal and political interests of motorcycle clubs coast-to-coast, is extremely concerned about an imaginary war between motorcycle clubs and the government, created in the minds of some law enforcement and government prosecutors, playing itself out in courthouses across America. This ideology of war has followed us to the steps of the criminal justice system, where visibly draconian security measures have been implemented based on unsubstantiated and ambiguous sources, even though there have been no validated examples of motorcycle clubs storming courthouses during a trial. A topical example reinforcing such irresponsible claims has been recently memorialized in a Texas District Attorney’s press release relating to the supposed and constant threat of violent retaliation that prosecutors face during biker trials.
Despite the absurdity of the claim that any motorcycle club would storm a courthouse or target prosecutors with violence, there are no consequences for these falsehoods meant only to perpetuate fear and reinforce false narratives about 1% motorcycle clubs. And, of course, these false threats are used to justify excessive security measures during biker trials.
This fear-based tactic has real implications. Inside the courtroom, juries will be biased against biker defendants because of the perception that their safety is in jeopardy. Outside the courtroom, law enforcement will increasingly treat those exercising the constitutional liberties of association and expression as a direct violent threat based on inaccurate information and training. Incidents of motorcycle profiling and selective enforcement of the law will likely continue at epidemic levels until a more accurate narrative is reported by the media, both grassroots and mainstream.
Sharon Wilson, the Tarrant County District Attorney, issued a press release on June 28, 2018 (below) reporting that Assistant District Attorney Pamela Boggess has been named “2018 Prosecutor Of The Year” by the Texas Gang Investigators Association for the successful prosecution of Ft. Worth Bandido Howard “Drifter” Baker, convicted last year of directing a criminal organization.
Without debating the merits of Drifter’s prosecution, or the sufficiency of his legal counsel, the NCOC believes that the Tarrant County District Attorney’s press release further perpetuates baseless claims only intended to sensationalize and prejudice public perception against defendants and motorcycle clubs generally. Boggess is being recognized not only for a successful prosecution, but also for being successful under the constant threat of gang retaliation, a theatrical claim at best. The Press Release states:
“Prosecutors were the target of violent threats from gang sources throughout their handling of the case, and Tarrant County Sheriff Bill Waybourn maintained an unprecedented lockdown of the courthouse, including deputies positioned on the rooftops, for the duration of the trial.”….”These gang members rely on intimidation tactics, but they find out quickly they’ve met their match in Pam Boggess.”
What gang sources? What information did these sources provide? Why has no one been arrested or prosecuted for these threats? Unfortunately, this “made for Hollywood” scenario in Ft. Worth is NOT an anomaly. Similar incidents in Waco and San Antonio courthouses involving enhanced security measures based on fictitious threats, with the same unanswered questions, have been widely publicized in the media.
In fact, NCOC participants were present during both trials and witnessed firsthand the ridiculous security measures employed, again based on unsubstantiated claims. In Waco, the Sheriff’s Office constructed a fence around the entire courthouse and paid hundreds of thousands for extra security at the courthouse, and for personal security for prosecutors away from the courthouse. In San Antonio, a person was required to go through two metal detectors and have their ID photographed before they could enter the courtroom and sit in designated seats. Marshals surrounded the defendants in court, even when the jury was present.
The idea of using a tragic incident, whether it be a trial or a shooting, to advance a campaign of fear and draconian security, is not a new one. And it’s particularly not new in Texas.
Years before the mistrial in the first Waco prosecution of Dallas Bandido Jake Carrizal, Sgt. Swanton of the Waco Police Department declared on national TV, as nearly 200 people were rounded-up to ultimately be arrested on generic fill-in the blank arrest warrants based solely on their associations, that they had received credible threats that bikers had “green-lit” law enforcement and were coming to Waco to retaliate. 1 Immediately following the incident at Twin peaks Waco law enforcement issued a statement warning “bikers to stay off the streets because it was difficult to distinguish between law-abiding riders and those bent on criminality.” The local Harley Davidson dealership was even closed. 2 The Federal Board of Prisons, the Texas Border Intelligence Agency, and the Texas Department of Public Safety all issued bulletins based on these reports about retaliation. 3But in the end, after the national spotlight had disappeared, authorities admitted that none of the threats of retaliation were found valid or true.
Law enforcement quietly acknowledged, but failed to emphasize, that these reports were based on completely unsubstantiated information provided by an unnamed informant. 4 Additionally, the alleged
informant lost all credibility and believability by naming a non-existent club called the “Black Widows” as the source of the information. “The Black Widows Motorcycle Club, while it might carry a looming scary name, is actually the fictitious group from a Clint Eastwood movie “Every Which Way But Loose“. There is no actual Bike Gang called “The Black Widows” anywhere in the South or Southwest.” 5
Furthermore, NCOC participants observed firsthand Waco PD and Texas DPS officers admitting under oath during the Carrizal trial that threats reported by Swanton in 2015 turned out to be false and unsubstantiated. But even after the Waco PD’s original story started to fall apart, most of the media that originally swallowed Swanton’s narrative without question, never doing their own investigation or fact checking, never went back to correct the record even though many were present during this testimony.
After the smoke and mirrors are removed, no valid threat of violence from motorcycle clubs against law enforcement or government authorities exists. An NCOC participant from Nevada with vast trial experience, including trials with excessive security issues, confirms that authorities have zero historical basis when he writes, “We have asked judges or prosecutors to find a biker trial where they have had court issues, and they cannot.” But the headlines have already done their perceptual damage. The outlaw image is simply too easy to exploit, too easy to sensationalize, and too easily manipulated to generate real fear. Fear in the eyes of jurors, law enforcement, the general public, and even other motorcyclists.
The NCOC believes that public officials and law enforcement should be challenged by the media when they feed reporters sensationalized rhetoric. The media should demand an answer to these questions before irresponsible and one-sided messaging is used to generate fear and hysteria that has tangibly negative impacts on motorcycle clubs and their members. The imaginary threats faced by law enforcement do not exist. But the ability to influence juries, justify draconian security on the taxpayer’s dime, and perpetuate law enforcement profiling and abuse is very real.
Until that happens, grassroots media unconstrained by institutional control must continue to challenge mainstream media with balanced and investigative reporting. Reducing the use of one-sided media reports that reinforce stereotypes of danger reduces bias, and the probability of treating bikers as criminals, Media that counters stereotypes can reduce perceptions of danger. There is even evidence that “counter-stereotypic information can reduce or even eliminate bias.” (*See JOSHUA CORRELL from the University of Chicago, The influence of stereotypes on decisions to shoot, Eur. J. Soc. Psychol. 37, 1102–1117 (2007))
Balanced media that highlights the positive contributions and attributes of the motorcycling community directly impacts the general perception that all bikers are dangerous. Beyond the inherent value of truth, reducing perceptions of danger can directly reduce mistakes made by police when dealing with bikers.
1 See “Bikers put out ‘green light’ against officers following Waco shooting”, Dane Schiller, Houston Chronicle, May 18, 2015. http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/Total-arrests-announced-in-Waco-Twin- Peaks-6270189.php
2 See “Waco Biker Shooting Giving Bars Pause About Letting Gangs In”, By Howard Koplowitz, ibtimes.com, May 21, 2015 10:53 AM EDT; see Police want bikers off streets after deadly Texas shooting, BY LISA MARIA GARZA, Reuters US , Tue May 19, 2015 11:25am EDT;
3 See “Texas Oﬃcers Warned About Retaliation After Deadly Waco Biker Shootings”, CBS News DFW, May 18, 2015 6:06 PM, http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2015/05/18/texas-oﬃcers-warned-about-retaliation-after-deadly-waco-biker-shootings/
4 See “Waco authorities investigate new threats from biker gangs”, Xinhua News, Houston, May 22, 2015. http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2015-05/23/c_134262912.htm
5 See “A Narrative Of Convenient Paranoia – Waco Police Claim Threats From Non-Existent Motorcycle Gangs….”, The Conservative Treehouse, May 22, 2015. http://theconservativetreehouse.com/2015/05/22/a-narrative-of- convenient-paranoia-waco-police-claim-threats-from-non-existent-motorcycle-gangs/
White Settlement, Texas City Councilman Dave Mann, also a Tarrant County Deputy Sheriff, abruptly resigned Tuesday night, a week after the city, he said, “recognized local Bandidos motorcycle gang members during a proclamation for Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.” Mann is extensively quoted by local media vilifying the Bandidos Motorcycle Club, even members participating in protected political conduct, suggesting that Bandidos not be recognized for any civic achievements or even be allowed at public events.
The comments by employees of the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Department reveal a fundamental flaw in law enforcement’s understanding of the 1st Amendment and the rights of expression and association embodied within. This fundamental flaw, to treat all members of the Bandidos or their associates as criminals, based on the actions of other members, increases the probability of illegal profiling and other acts of discrimination targeting individuals for their associations, not behaviors.
On May 8th, 2018 members of motorcycle clubs openly displaying support for the Bandidos MC were among a group recognized by the city council for their efforts during Motorcycle Awareness Month. Because of this recognition, local news media reports Dave Mann as saying that he could no longer serve on a council that did not value and protect its citizens.
The Star-Telegram reports Mann writing in his letter of resignation, “It is a sad day when city officials invite violent criminal street gangs into our city who thrive on selling heroin, marijuana, methamphetamine and other narcotics and promote prostitution, human trafficking, gun trafficking, murder and other criminal activities.”
This discriminatory mindset extends to Mann’s direct supervisor. “I commend you for taking the higher road,” Capt. B Hardin wrote. “Not just as a City Councilman but as a Texas Peace Officer. We really have to watch who we associate with and it’s obvious there are some people on your City Council who prefer to associate with the wrong people.”
Mann doesn’t even think members should be allowed at public events. The Star Telegram reports, “The letter also stated that when the motorcycle gang members were leaving the city hall, a city official “openly” invited them to the Fourth of July parade, a family friendly activity. “I cannot be a part of a council who openly honors criminals and their illicit activities. Council members are sworn to protect our citizens!”
(See Star-Telegram, “Did White Settlement honor Bandidos? This councilman says so, and now he has resigned,” May 15, 2018)
It’s a good thing Dave Mann has resigned. Unfortunately, he and his supervisor are law enforcement officers and their discriminatory mindset follows the former council member to the streets where real damage can occur. Mann’s desire to exclude Bandido supporters from public events or political activities in the community would violate the 1st Amendment.
Motorcycle clubs, including those clubs labeled organized or criminal gangs by authorities, are 1st Amendment protected associations. Restrictions such as Mann appears to endorse, solely based on association in a motorcycle club, would violate the 1st Amendment.
There is “no evidence that by merely wearing [1% motorcycle club] “colors,” an individual is “involved in or associated with the alleged violent or criminal activity of other [1% motorcycle club] members. It is a fundamental principle that the government may not impose restrictions on an individual “merely because an individual belong[s] to a group, some members of which committed acts of violence.” In fact, the Supreme Court has long “disapproved governmental action . . . denying rights and privileges solely because of a citizen’s association with an unpopular organization.” Healy v. James, 408 U.S. 169, 185-86 (1972).
If Mann were permitted to impose restrictions on any person “who wears the insignia of [a 1% motorcycle club], without regard to or knowledge of that individual’s specific intent to engage in the alleged violent activities committed by other members,” it would be “antithetical to the basic principles enshrined in the First Amendment and repugnant to the fundamental doctrine of personal guilt that is a hallmark of American jurisprudence.”
(see Coles v. Carlini 162 F.Supp.3d 380 (2015))
If Mann responds to Motorcycle Awareness Month with such venomous rage, how do you think he treats club members on the side of the road? Mann’s abusive and discriminatory rhetoric is unacceptable as a public servant and serves to demonstrate why legislation addressing the issue of motorcycle profiling is so important.
Maybe it’s time that Dave Mann writes another letter of resignation.
The post Texas Sheriff Dave Mann Resigns from City Council After Bikers Honored appeared first on Motorcycle Profiling Project.
If you believe that motorcycle profiling by law enforcement agencies is wrong and should not be tolerated, please use the link below contact your representatives in Congress and ask them to support the Motorcycle Profiling Resolution (H.Res.318 and S.Res.154).
The Motorcycle Riders Foundation is working with the National Council of Clubs and the Motorcycle Profiling Project to call on our elected officials to end unconstitutional profiling of motorcyclists across our county. If your member of congress has signed on, you can still ask them to lean on their colleagues to support these resolutions.
As the McLennan County District Attorney’s Twin Peaks debacle continues to crumble, an important and previously prolific motorcycle rights activist has emerged from the dust. Thomas Paul Landers, along with most of those arrested in May 17, 2015, has had all charges against him related to Twin Peaks tragedy recently dismissed. Paul, although very relieved, is still angry about the continued prosecution of innocent people also arrested and jailed that day that continue to face the prospect of life in prison for being ambushed at a political gathering.
On May 17th, 2015 I arrived home after a 350 mile ride following a club event in Oregon, to my son telling me to watch CNN because they were reporting a shooting at a biker event in Texas. I began watching the news coverage and immediately called my friend Paul Landers when I realized it was a COC meeting. Paul is a prominent motorcycle rights activist and always attended COC events in Texas, so I immediately began worrying about him.
Paul answered the phone from the parking lot of the Twin Peaks. I asked him if he was alright. He said he wasn’t injured but didn’t know what was going to happen. We hung up, and the rest of the story has been a 3 year nightmare for Paul and nearly 200 others arrested, jailed, and held on $1-$2 million dollar punitive bonds. Paul’s nightmare ended Monday, May 14th, 2018 when his charges were dismissed by the McLennan County District Attorney. In fact, most of the charges have been dropped against most individuals.
But, unfortunately, the nightmare is not over for 24 individuals re-indicted and charged with rioting, three of them also charged with murder. And because a murder occurred, the sentence can be enhanced to the same level of life in prison.
The McLennan County DA’s office refuses to let go, has shifted from organized crime to rioting, and persists in charging individuals that irrefutably “retired” from any conflict and still others acting in self defense of themselves or others.
Take the examples of Marshall Mitchell and Jacob Carrizal, both obviously not guilty for different reasons. Marshall Mitchell never engages in any conflict, can be seen shaking a Cossacks hand on video, and quickly “retired” from the area of the ambush and gunshots, just as most that were able. Jake Carrizal, on the other hand, was unable to retreat from an ambush in which he clearly acted in self defense, as the video, his mistrial, and reports of overwhelming support for not guilty from most jurors demonstrates.
The fight to free those that are not guilty must not end. In fact, now is the time to further unite the motorcycle club community and continue he fight to protect the right to associate with a motorcycle club without fear of targeted prosecution. And now that the shackles on one of the most important motorcycle rights activists of our time have been removed, we all stand a better chance of succeeding. #FightTheGoodFight.
The post Charges Against Key Motorcycle Rights Activist Dismissed in Waco appeared first on Motorcycle Profiling Project.
The Daytona Beach News Journal (News Journal) is disrespectfully using the anniversary of a biker’s murder as an opportunity to promote a discriminatory and highly inaccurate stereotype about motorcycle clubs, even going so far as quoting an investigator from Wisconsin saying that motorcycle club members have a history of killing children.
The National Council of Clubs, a movement representing the political, legal, and legislative interests of motorcycle clubs nationwide, is outraged that any media source would desecrate the memory of a man that lost his life prematurely by irresponsibly propagating fear and false narratives about tens of thousands of individuals that belong to motorcycle clubs.
Outlaw MC member Louie Da’ Lip was murdered in Daytona Beach on April 2, 2017.
The News Journal released an article on April 2, 2018 titled, “1 year later, murder of Daytona Outlaws biker ‘Louie da Lip’ remains unsolved.” But instead of merely reporting on the facts of Louie’s murder, the News Journal used the 1 year anniversary of this incident to spread fear and sensationalized falsehoods regarding motorcycle club culture. The News Journal reports:
“Members of biker gangs have committed murder, rape and other violent crimes and they have a history of degrading women and even killing children, said Charles Berard, a criminal investigator from Wisconsin who has studied biker gangs for more than three decades.”
The above quote is so highly inaccurate and offensive that it’s printing alone should disqualify Mr. Berard and the News Journal’s credibility. To imply that motorcycle clubs have a history of killing children is as far from the truth as possible. There is a fundamental and foundational principle among members of motorcycle club culture that crimes against children are absolutely not tolerated.
Basic research by the News Journal would have revealed that even qualified law enforcement experts recently testifying in trials in Waco and San Antonio recognize that motorcycle clubs will not allow members that have committed crimes against children and that committing a crime against a child is grounds for expulsion from the club. Indeed, there are dozens of motorcycle clubs such as Bikers Against Child Abuse (BACA) that are dedicated to the mission of protecting children.
On the other hand, law enforcement officers do truly have a long and irrefutable history relating to crimes against children and women. The Associated Press recently reported 1,000 cases of sex crimes committed by police, including sex crimes against children. The State of Florida is not exempt. Consider the recent conviction of a Florida cop for statutory rape while on duty. And in terms of law enforcement killing children, there is simply not enough time or space to discuss even the most recent incidents that have happened coast to coast, including Florida.
Motorcycle club members, by comparison, have far less propensity to commit felony crimes. Have some members of motorcycle clubs been convicted of felony crimes? Most certainly. But, just as the egregious acts of some police officers do not define the whole, the vast majority of motorcycle club members, including 1%’ERS, do not have criminal records. The sensationalized hype is simply not true.
What do the available statistics reveal? The 2017 National Motorcycle Profiling Survey, with only a 1.4% margin of error, demonstrates that less than 2% of club members in Florida have been convicted of a felony crime.
The News Journal should be admonished for irresponsible and one-sided tabloid reporting. Louie Da’ Lip’s memory should be respected with dignity. His murder should not be, must not be, used for the purpose of spreading fear and sensationalism. This fear is, in-turn, being used to justify the current epidemic of profiling and discrimination targeting motorcycle clubs, particularly in Daytona Beach.
Professional ethics would dictate that the News Journal cease taking an active role in law enforcement’s campaign of discrimination and begin to responsibly report balanced and researched journalism relating to motorcycle clubs.
The post Daytona Beach News Journal Falsely Reports Bikers Kill Children appeared first on Motorcycle Profiling Project.
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.
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?
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?
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.
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.