This was the second attempt by the City of Milwaukee to force the Outlaws MC to remove their club logo from their clubhouse
By Tony Sanfelipo
This was the second attempt by the City of Milwaukee to force the Outlaws MC to remove their club logo from their clubhouse
By Tony Sanfelipo
Illinois, Texas, New York, North Carolina, Wisconsin and Connecticut were among the dozens of states represented Saturday at the funeral of the infamous former international president of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club – known to all as Harry Joseph “Taco” Bowman, at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds.
Police estimate there were more than 2,000 people at the funeral Saturday morning, coming in from all over the world on 1,200 motorcycles and hundreds of other vehicles.
Mark Lovett, a detective in the Columbus Police division’s intelligence unit said he saw patches from England as Outlaws drove in, and the crowd was large because many drove up Interstate 75 from Daytona Beach Bike Week, which is running from March 8 through today.
Lovett has been to more than 15 Outlaws motorcycle funerals in the last 20 years and this is by far the largest one he has witnessed. Even larger than the funeral for Dayton’s Harold “Stairway Harry” Henderson, Bowman’s mentor and one of the last International presidents of the Outlaws, Lovett said.
“This is one of those events that really only happen once in our career, to see something this big,” Lovett said.
Several police agencies and task forces were at the funeral outside of uniform to observe. Most of the funerals are peaceful, Lovett said. But uniformed police and fire departments were ready to respond to any needs, including general health concerns of members attending the services.
“You just never know what’s going to happen at a motorcycle gang funeral. They say they’re not a gang, but they fit the description,” he said.
Members of the Outlaws would not comment to the Daily News Reporters, but they said Bowman is a legacy.
Bowman died March 3 at age 69. He was serving two life sentences in a North Carolina prison after being indicted in Florida on murder, bombing, drug trafficking and racketeering charges. He had previously been a fugitive on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list, according to CNN.
The Outlaws were established in 1935 and have 119 chapters including in Dayton, Columbus, East Columbus, Warren, Middletown, Toledo, Sandusky, Canton and Athens, according to its website.
PHOTOS: Thousands of bikers attend funeral for former Outlaw Motorcycle Club president
‘Taco’ Bowman was president of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club.
DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Harry Joseph “Taco” Bowman, the former president of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club who was on the FBI’s top ten most wanted fugitive’s list, will have his funeral on Saturday at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds.
Bowman’s funeral is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. A procession from the fairgrounds to Bear Creek Cemetery on North Union Road in Madison Twp. will begin at 12 p.m.
Sheriff’s Deputies will be shutting down North Union Road to Hoover Avenue in Trotwood for the funeral.
Additionally, deputies will also partially close down Infirmary Road from the Montgomery County fairgrounds to SR-35 for the procession.
Montgomery County Sheriff Rob Streck said officers are not expecting any safety issues but given the size of the crowd and the reputation of the group, they do have contingency plans in place.
“There’s always concerns when you have get large groups of people who have been known to be violent. They do not try to hide that fact,” Streck said. “(But) We don’t have any chatter of suspected violence, we don’t have any indications that other clubs are going to try and cause trouble at the event.”
Bowman, who was serviving a life sentence in federal prison, died on Sunday at the Federal Medical Center in North Carolina. He was 69 years old.
According to the Detroit News, Bowman was considered one of the most infamous motorcycle gang leaders in U.S. history. The Outlaws were rivals to the Hell’s Angels.
Bowman was placed on the FBI’s Most Wanted List in 1998, interrupting what had been a relatively low profile kept by Bowman while serving as leader of the Outlaws.
In 2001, he was convicted in a Federal court in Florida of the murders of several rival gang members, firebombings, racketeering and conspiracy among other charges. He was sentenced to two life sentences plus 83 years.
Bowman had a long-running feud with Hell’s Angels leader Sonny Barger over which gang was superior.
Several members of the Outlaws were previously interned at Bear Creek Cemetery.
The Final Chapter of Re-Birth of a Shovelhead
By the Stealth
There were bikes from all over the country, California, Texas, Michigan, New York, Virginia just to name a few. There was serious competition here! Every style bike was represented, early style choppers, antiques, club style, baggers, drag and retro stock, they were all here!
I think there were eight bikes that won the Peoples’ Choice vote, and they were moved into the Invitational class.
I love the Shovelhead, the bike is named GLORY DAYS because it takes me back to some of my GLORY DAYS!
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.
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.
FROM National Motorists Association https://www.motorists.org
Motorist rights cases have made news and even history recently. There have been so many as of late, we are dedicating two separate newsletters to provide some insight on the legal rulings that are affecting drivers around the country.
This week’s newsletter focuses on recent rulings and pending US Supreme Court and federal court cases. Part 2 next week will outline state court decisions.
TheNewspaper.com, featured prominently in these two newsletters, is a great supplement to the NMA’s Motorists.org site for the latest news and opinions on the politics of driving.
The US Supreme Court (SCOTUS)
Last week’s unanimous decision that curtails excessive government fines and property seizures has provided further impetus for one of the NMA’s primary lobbying initiatives: civil asset forfeiture (CAF) reform. The decision received broad bipartisan praise. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote in the ruling that the excessive fines clause is a fundamental restriction that applies to the states under the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. While the SCOTUS decision is monumental, the fight is far from over. Some states still allow the seizure of property from citizens — motorists are prime targets — who have never been charged with a crime. Our work for reform at the federal and state levels continues in earnest.
Additionally, SCOTUS accepted a case in January that will decide whether an unconscious drunk person has given implied consent for a blood draw to determine alcohol level. The case might resolve an important constitutional question: Can state legislatures obviate the warrant requirement by “deeming” that citizens can consent to Fourth Amendment searches without explicitly expressing that consent?
Federal Appeals Court Cases
Judges for the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in late January that a person driving a registered vehicle on a public road is not “reasonably suspicious.” Federal authorities appealed a motion to suppress evidence obtained from a border patrol traffic stop in Freer, Texas. The driver turned onto a public road that happened to bypass a checkpoint 50 miles inland from the Mexican border. The U.S. government has declared anything within 100 miles to be under Border Patrol jurisdiction. The Court ruled that turning onto a road that is “known” for smuggling in a truck registered to an individual is not enough to support reasonable suspicion. If it were, then virtually anyone driving within 100 miles from the border could automatically be deemed suspicious.
In December, judges in the Eighth Circuit US Court of Appeals ruled that it is appropriate for officers to use force to ram a driver with an expired registration sticker off the road. The driver sued the Arkansas state trooper for using excessive force and a US District Judge agreed with the plaintiff that the officer was out of line. She felt that at the time the trooper turned on his lights to make the stop, she could not reasonably do so on the shoulder which was unlit, dark and narrow. She continued to drive 20 mph under the speed limit for 42 seconds to find a safer spot, but after she passed an exit the trooper used a precision immobilization technique (PIT) maneuver to push her vehicle into a ditch. She and her young daughter were both injured. The Appeals Court sent the case back to the same district judge who now must determine if the lawsuit can proceed on the basis of malicious intent.
In early February, the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that police do not need a reason to place American citizens on a ‘Suspicious Person’ list. Judge Milan Smith wrote, “Tips and leads required only ‘mere suspicion,’ a lower standard than the reasonable suspicion required for criminal intelligence data and is up to the discretion of law enforcement and other government officials. This case is chilling in the sense that the government can put anyone on the list for not much more than a whim.
The Ninth Circuit US Court of Appeals ruled in January that police cannot demand ID from car or truck passengers without a reasonable suspicion of a crime. The judges agreed that in this Arizona case, the US Supreme Court ruling in Rodriquez v. US, which prohibits police from prolonging a traffic stop by asking unrelated questions, established precedent.
In January, the Eleventh Circuit US Court of Appeals upheld a traffic stop over a fast blinker. Apparently, driving with a turn signal that flashes “too fast” is potentially a criminal act in Georgia. The blinker was actually working properly; the Georgia Code does not stipulate how fast a turn signal should blink, only that all equipment be kept in “good working condition.” The appellate panel suggested that the plaintiff’s blinker was not in compliance because it was in working condition, just not “good” working condition. American jurisprudence at its best.
Check out Part 2 next week when we showcase recent state cases that could impact motorists.
The National Motorists Association is a membership-based organization dedicated to protecting the rights of the motoring public.
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.
The post Motorcycle Profiling is Oﬃcial Daytona PD Policy appeared first on Motorcycle Profiling Project.
The Mongols motorcycle club has won its latest round in a decade long battle with the federal government, when a California judge found that a jury’s recent decision to strip the club of trademarked logo was unconstitutional.
On Thursday, February 28, 2019 U.S. District Judge David O. Carter ruled that denying Mongol members the right to display the logo would overstep the constitutional right to free expression embedded in the 1st Amendment, as well as the 8th Amendment’s ban on excessive penalties.
“We are ecstatic that the Mongols motorcycle club has been able to win this 1st Amendment battle for itself and all motorcycle clubs,” said Stephen Stubbs, an attorney for the Mongols. “The government has clearly overreached into a realm that the Constitution does not allow. They tried to ban symbolic speech,” Stubbs told the Los Angeles Times. Stubbs, a.k.a. “Bowtie” as bikers call him, is a member of the National Coalition of Motorcyclists Legislative Task Force (NCOM-LTF) and is legal counsel for the Southern Nevada Confederation of Clubs (COC).
In December, after a lengthy trial, a jury convicted the Mongols Nation entity as an organization of racketeering and conspiracy charges stemming from a 2008 investigation, and the ensuing guilty verdict thus allowed prosecutors from the U.S. attorney’s office to pursue a court order forcing the club to forfeit the trademarked symbol that appears on their back patches and other membership paraphernalia.
Judge Carter affirmed the RICO convictions, which could carry fines at sentencing in April, but his written ruling marks a setback for federal prosecutors after they convinced a jury in January to allow the government to seize the club’s patches and trademarks as criminal instruments.
“The collective membership mark acts as a symbol that communicates a person’s association with the Mongol Nation, and his or her support for their views,” Carter wrote about the first-of-its-kind findings, which have drawn national attention. “Though the symbol may at times function as a mouthpiece for unlawful or violent behavior, this is not sufficient to strip speech of its First Amendment protection.”
Joseph Yanny, a criminal defense attorney who argued the case for the Mongols, described the victory as a win for all motorcycle clubs and criticized the government’s attempt to impose “collective guilt” on an organization for the crimes committed by some of its members. “That’s never been the law in this country,” he told the Associated Press (AP).
Carter’s ruling is expected to be appealed and possibly make its way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“On behalf of the Mongol Nation I want to thank everyone that helped & supported us during our fight through this long battle,” e-mailed Mongols MC member “Rags” to supporters, adding that “Today was a VICTORY FOR ALL CLUBS! It’s not over but we will continue to FIGHT THIS BATTLE FOR ALL CLUBS.”
“Save the Patch” and Motorcycle Profiling will be among the many issues that will be discussed at the upcoming NCOM Convention in Orlando, Florida over Mother’s Day Weekend, May 10-12. For more information, contact the National Coalition of Motorcyclists at (800) ON-A-BIKE (662-2453) or visit www.ON-A-BIKE.com.
SANTA ANA, Calif. (CN) — In an unprecedented ruling, a federal judge blocked the U.S. government Thursday from stripping the Mongol Nation Motorcycle Club of its identifying logo.
U.S. District Judge David O. Carter found that allowing federal prosecutors to use criminal forfeiture laws to take control of the Mongols’ trademarks in their “patch” designs – often worn on the bikers’ vests – would violate the club’s rights to free speech and association and constitute an excessive fine, prohibited by the Eighth Amendment.
Allowing the forfeiture “immediately chills” the rights of the club and its members to wear or use the symbols. Therefore, “the forced transfer of the collective membership marks to the United States violates the First Amendment,” the Orange County-based judge wrote in his 51-page ruling.
The judge also ruled that taking away the rights to “a symbol that has been in continuous use by an organization since 1969” would be “unjustified and grossly disproportionate” to the group’s crime, in violation of the Eighth Amendment.
Carter refused to throw out a December 2017 jury verdict finding the Mongol Nation guilty of racketeering and conspiracy to commit racketeering in connection with a murder, an attempted murder and two drug sales by club members and associates over several years.
He also upheld the jury’s decision permitting forfeiture of a number of physical items seized by law enforcement, including guns, ammunition and knick-knacks bearing the club logo.
Las Vegas attorney Steven Stubbs, the Mongol Nation’s general counsel, said he and the club are “ecstatic that we could defend the First Amendment for the members and all motorcycle clubs.”
Stubbs described the prosecutors’ forfeiture attempt as “a massive overreach” and an attempt to control symbolic speech.
In a statement, the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles said it is disappointed by Carter’s decision and considering an appeal. “While affirming the jury’s guilty verdicts on racketeering charges, the court’s ruling nullifies the jury’s finding that these marks are a core component of the Mongols’ decades-long pattern of murder, assault and drug trafficking,” the statement said.
Stubbs and Joseph A. Yanny, the Mongols’ lead defense attorney during the case, said they plan to appeal Carter’s decision affirming the racketeering convictions.
Before and during the trial, the judge called the case one of first impression – or a case containing a legal question never before addressed – that might reach the U.S. Supreme Court.
Lawyers on both sides have described the club’s logo as an important symbol that members see as marking their identity as Mongols. Several times before and during the trial, Yanny said taking away the club’s trademarks would be “a death sentence” for the organization.
The patch shows a cartoon Genghis Khan-type figure brandishing a sword and riding a motorcycle under a curved banner bearing the word “Mongols.”
In arguments to the jury, Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven R. Welk said that Mongols are “empowered by these symbols that they wear like armor” to maintain a vicious “beehive of pernicious criminal activity” including murders, assaults and narcotics trafficking.
After one effort to win the marks failed, prosecutors filed the current criminal case against the Mongol Nation Motorcycle Club as an entity. A jury convicted the club of racketeering and conspiracy in December 2017. Then last month, it found a “nexus” between the logo trademarks and the gang’s conspiracy to commit racketeering and that therefore the government had the right to take the trademarks through forfeiture.
“That certain individual members of the Mongol Nation displayed the symbols while committing violent crimes … does not justify the government’s attempts to bootstrap a conviction of the motorcycle club into censorship of uncharged members or supporters,” the judge wrote.
The Mongols club traces back to the late 1960s, when Latino Vietnam War veterans who loved riding motorcycles formed it because they could not join the Hells Angels or other groups, Yanny explained to the jury during the trial. Now based in West Covina, the group has chapters in many states as well as a few in other countries, he said.
A team of agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has been targeting the gang since before 2008. That year, the agents and local police rounded up dozens of members and associates in a widespread, coordinated series of raids.
Eventually, 77 of those arrested pleaded guilty to crimes. At the time, then-U.S. Attorney Michael Mukasey boasted that securing the club’s patch trademarks would allow police to “literally take the jacket right off [a Mongol’s] back.”
David Santillan, the national president of the Mongols, who sat with defense counsel throughout the trial, said the group would probably have a party next weekend to celebrate Carter’s decision.
“It’s a weight lifted off all our shoulders,” he said. “It’s been a long 11 years.”
Carter set the sentencing hearing for April 24.
Diane Wakoski describes biker life as “… just being so joyfully alive/ Just letting the blood take its own course/ In intact vessels/ In veins…/ – the motorcyclist riding along the highway/ Independent/ Alone”.
Shirley Dent says, “There is precise science in the recklessness of both riding a bike and writing a poem. A good Biker Poet is taking life on, in all its mad, fast-paced complexity, and turning out something that is precise, clear, true.”
Lucinda Williams describes, “The perfect man? A poet on a motorcycle. You know, the kind who lives on the edge, the free spirit. But he’s also gotta have the soul of a poet and a brilliant mind. So, you know, good luck.”
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