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Brief history of Daytona Beach’s Bike Week

By General Posts

A history of beer, bikes, cole slaw and ‘rowdyism’

by C. A. Bridges from www.news-journalonline.com

Bike Week, now marking its 81st year, may not be your grandfather’s — or even your great-grandfather’s — bike rally. A gathering for motorcycle race fans, a drunken party, a biker brawl or a family vacation destination, Bike Week has been a lot of things over the years.

It’s our Mardi Gras, our Fantasy Fest, our Carnival. It’s a portable, 10-day street party of motorcycles and biker lifestyle.

CLICK HERE to read this article on Bikernet

17 with ties to motorcycle club indicted on drug charges

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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (AP) – Federal prosecutors have indicted 17 people with ties to a motorcycle club on charges alleging that they operated a drug ring in Indiana and Kentucky.

The indictments announced Thursday by U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler allege that some of defendants are members of the Grim Reapers Motorcycle Club or associates of that Evansville group.

Prosecutors said they believe Evansville residents Gary Wayne Forston, 39, and Jason Wilson, 42, were the ringleaders of a drug operation that allegedly distributed methamphetamine in Evansville and nearby communities.

Forston is the Grim Reapers’ president and was previously indicted on weapons charges after a November raid on the club.

Minkler said officials had seized 23 guns, $35,000 in cash and 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms) of meth that has an estimated street value of more than $250,000.

Most of the defendants were allegedly mid-level distributors who are accused of selling drugs to lower-level drug dealers or directly to users, the Evansville Courier & Press reported.

The indictments are the culmination of a six-month, multi-agency investigation which included federal, state and local law enforcement.

Minkler said his office will consider pursuing forfeiture of the Grim Reapers’ headquarters.

“What we don’t want is the Grim Reapers to come back and relocate in that clubhouse and start doing business again,” he said.

Weapons and drugs seized in raids targeting outlaw motorcycle gangs

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by Rachel Riga from https://www.abc.net.au/

Queensland police say they have targeted several outlaw motorcycle gangs linked to “substantial trafficking of drugs” and organised crime during a series of raids across the Gold Coast.

Officers executed 15 search warrants at properties from Coolangatta to Yatala for offences involving drugs, weapons, fraud and money laundering.

The operation involved more than 110 police from the State Crime Command-Organised Crime Gangs Group, the Gold Coast District, Australian Federal Police and other external agencies as part of Operation Romeo Ionic.

Detective Superintendent Roger Lowe said eight people had been charged with 22 offences.

“Our investigations are centred on this criminal syndicate which operates across South East Queensland into northern New South Wales and their alleged involvement in trafficking dangerous drugs, rebirthing of vehicles, substantial fraud and other serious crimes,” he said.

Weapons, including a handgun and a rifle, various quantities of drugs, and phones were seized during the searches.

“They’re really governed by greed and their involvement in normally illicit drugs and weapons, unlawful trafficking, so it’s not uncommon to see these gangs cross over and do business with each other and particularly even on an international scope.”

A 33-year-old Southport man, alleged to be a member of the Lone Wolf motorcycle gang, is among those in custody.

He is due to appear in the Southport Magistrates Court on Wednesday on weapons and drug trafficking charges, and a 28-year-old man from Redland Bay, allegedly a member of the Mongols, is due to appear in the Beenleigh Magistrates Court.

The police operation was launched last year and investigations are still underway.

Police link South Canberra incidents to outlaw motorcycle gangs

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by Michael Weaver from https://the-riotact.com/

A police taskforce believes a number of shootings and arson attacks committed in South Canberra during the last three months are linked to outlaw motorcycle gangs.

ACT Policing’s Taskforce Nemesis is targeting criminal gang activity in the ACT and believes at least five incidents between September and November this year are linked to outlaw motorcycle gangs.

An ACT Policing spokesperson said at least one of these incidents targeted a home with no known links to outlaw motorcycle gangs.

“We are urging anyone with information or footage of these incidents to contact police, as even a small piece of information may help with inquiries,” the spokesperson said.

The following instances of suspected outlaw motorcycle gang activity are being investigated:

  • About 9:55 pm on 26 September 2019: gunshots were fired at a house on Fraenkel Street, Monash
  • About 10:20 pm on 29 October 2019: gunshots were fired at a house in Fink Crescent, Calwell
  • About 10:40 pm on 29 October 2019: an incendiary device was thrown at a house in Pockett Avenue, Banks
  • About 10:55 pm on 20 November 2019: an aggravated burglary and arson occurred at a house in Chirnside Place, Kambah
  • About 10:10 pm on 25 November 2019: three cars were set on fire at the same residence as a previous incident in Fraenkel Street, Monash.

Police believe these incidents were all specifically targeted and are related to outlaw motorcycle gang activity.

“Officers from Taskforce Nemesis will continue to relentlessly pursue criminal gangs who seek to disrupt the safety of Canberra suburbs,” an ACT Policing spokesperson said.

 

Texas Bikers Stop VFW’s No MC Colors Policy

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from https://www.motorcycleprofilingproject.com/

The National Council of Clubs, representing the interests of motorcycle clubs and thousands of their members in every state in America, is both concerned and appalled at recent reports of Veterans organizations, including some VFW, American Legion, and Eagles posts, among others, denying access to individuals expressing membership in motorcycle clubs.

So what’s the solution? The Texas Council of Clubs & Independents recent campaign in response to a policy of discrimination announced by the state VFW serves as an example of a successful strategy for others facing similar acts of discrimination by private Veterans organizations in their states.

Texas VFW General Orders of discrimination

Dated October 2019, the Department of Texas VFW sent General Orders to all VFW Posts throughout the state outlining a new written policy which includes a provision excluding all 1% MC members, employing gang labeling, from VFW events and property.

The TCOC&I quickly became aware of the General Orders through local VFW posts in numerous areas of the state and immediately began a campaign responding to the new policy of discrimination. Motorcycle clubs have a long history of having events at VFW posts, many motorcyclists are members, and relationships are strong in many places in Texas, as they are throughout America.

TCOC&I uses social media to apply pressure

Representatives of the TCOC&I began spreading the VFW letter through social media channels. Thousands in Texas and across the country became aware. On October 9th, a direct response from the TCOC&I in the form of a formal letter was sent to the Texas VFW outlining the community’s request that the policy be reversed. The TCOC&I emphasized the historical ties between the MC community and VFW’s throughout Texas. 38% of the club community are Veterans, more than five times the national average. MC meetings, benefits, and social events are a common occurrence.

According to a TCOC&I representative, this letter resulted in a meeting between representatives of both the Texas VFW and TCOC&I, including the local Austin VFW President. On Saturday, October 12, 2019, the TCOC&I emphasized the importance of not allowing the actions of the few influence how the VFW regards all motorcycle clubs, including 1%’ERS, and how they are treated. The TCOC&I also made a formal request for written explanation of the specifics that led to the General Orders and confirmation of a policy reversal. VFW representatives committed to bringing the TCOC&I’s concerns to Keith King, Texas VFW State Commander.

The Texas VFW reverses policy of discrimination

On October 22, 2019 Paul Landers, representing the TCOC&I, reached out to the Texas VFW for an update or statement following the October 12 meeting. Landers was notified that King would meet the following day to personally discuss the General Orders at Issue.

After meeting on October 23 the VFW State Commander opened his mind and listened, according to. Landers.

“King explained that the policy was due to publicized incidents of violence and 1% MC’s in Texas. But after listening to our perspective he changed his perspective. The actions of the few should not impact the rights of the whole. King agreed to a written policy change that does NOT exclude MC’s and 1% clubs from VFW property”, says Landers.

A model response to discrimination

The TCOC&I serves as a model example on how to respond to Veteran organization discrimination against the motorcycling community.

First, social media channels were flooded with the VFW’s General Orders in order to increase awareness and generate independent complaint streams. The more individuals that reach out and complain means the more leverage an official complaint will have.

Second, an official complaint and request for policy reversal was drafted and sent to the Texas VFW. The complaint outlined the close connection between MC’s and Veterans and argued the VFW is profiling and discriminating against the very people they exist to serve.

Third, meetings were arranged with VFW representatives in order to resolve the issue. Capable spokespersons persuaded the VFW to not punish all MC members for the actions of the few. The final result was a reversing a discriminatory policy.

The entire TCOC&I campaign was implemented and completed within days of the original letter being sent by the VFW. The campaign was cost-free and 100% relied upon active volunteer participation.

Conclusions

The shortsighted policy of excluding MC’s from Veteran’s organizations is appalling and unacceptable. Many in the MC community are loyal veterans, and Americans, and should not be the target of discrimination at home, particularly at the hands of other Veterans.

The TCOC&I blueprint can be modeled and implemented anywhere, in any state. No need to recreate the wheel.

Silence is consent.

Motorcycle Clubs and the One Percenter

By General Posts

It’s no secret that Americans love outlaws, from the legends and lore of rebellious (and illegal) acts by the Founding Fathers, to the bushwhacking and bank-robbing capers of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, to the “bad boy” music of Elvis Presley, the Rolling Stones and Dr. Dre.

American culture and mass media have led inexorably to characters that embody this bad-boy attitude – a recent example being Jax, the heartthrob outlaw biker star of the TV show “Sons of Anarchy”. Western society has a long established canon from which we “learn” about society from fictional dramas. And the more we watch shows like “Sons of Anarchy,” the more a news story will seem to fit our mental construct of “how those people are.” The same is true of popular TV crime dramas’ portrayal of American minorities’ involvement in violent crime. And it seems that every time outlaw motorcycle clubs are portrayed in the news, it’s because of something terrible, such as the deadly events in Waco, Texas. Add to this the fact that the outlaw biker narrative has been largely controlled over time, not by members of the culture, but by outsiders and the misconceptions grow.

The term 1%er was first used in print in the pages of Life Magazine during the 1960’s. The article was a contrived response to an AMA rally in Hollister CA, after encouraging certain individuals to get drunk and ride through town the media then reported on ‘drunken’ motorcycle clubs giving rise to the popular misconception of bikers and also the movie The Wild One. The American Motorcycle Association stated that 99% of the people at their events were God fearing and family oriented. The other 1% were hard riding, hard partying, non mainstream type people. Thus the term 1%er found its place in popular vernacular.

Motorcycle clubs were historically born of a love of the machine, racing, riding and from military service. Gangs began for various reasons as well, but largely as a form of protection for outsiders or ethnic immigrants residing in inner cities. Their social structure is overwhelmingly democratic from the local to the international levels. Officers are democratically elected and hold office so long as they meet the memberships’ needs.

In contrast, Motorcycle Gangs can be seen as more autocratic than democratic, where leaders emerge more for their charismatic leadership and illicit earning abilities than for their abilities to run organisations. Motorcycle clubs are organised hierarchically, with strictly defined chains of command and lines of communication. MCs elect secretaries whose jobs are to maintain meeting minutes, keep track of committees and chairs, and see that old business is complete and new business is on the agenda. Treasurers also are elected officials and they attend to fiduciary responsibilities such as collecting membership dues, paying clubhouse expenses and financial planning for the future. Both secretaries and treasurers are required to produce written documents for the membership to review and approve during each meeting.

It’s not easy becoming a patch-holder. Many have compared “prospecting” – the process of earning full membership – to that of military basic training, where the individual is broken down in order to be reformed into a part of a collective: To think not of one’s self but of others, and to understand that one’s actions or inactions impact the team and the organisation. But prospecting takes months and sometime a year or more (5 years for one MC). Prospecting is physically, emotionally, and intellectually demanding and not everyone can do it. A significant amount of social status is conferred upon those with the steel to make it. Perhaps this is the only obvious similarity between MCs and gangs.

MC is generally reserved for those clubs that are mutually recognised by other MC or outlaw motorcycle clubs. This is indicated by a motorcyclist wearing an MC patch, or a three piece patch called colours, on the back of their jacket or riding vest. Outlaw or 1%er can mean merely that the club is not chartered under the auspices of the AMA, implying a radical rejection of authority and embracing of the “biker” lifestyle as defined and popularised since the 1950s and represented by such media as Easyriders magazine, the work of painter David Mann and others. In many contexts the terms overlap with the usual meaning of “outlaw” because some of these clubs, or some of their members, are recognised rightly or wrongly by law enforcement agencies as taking part in organised crime.

That sense of brotherhood was on display at a funeral for a patch-holder slain at Waco. Members of the Hells Angels, Bandidos, Mongols, Vagos and more than 50 other motorcycle clubs come together in peace to mourn the passing of a man who touched the lives of so many in his community. To them, he was much more than a biker or a patch-holder — he was their Brother, with all the familial love, respect, and honour that that word conveys. Possibly such a gathering has never happened before. This convergence of contrasting MCs was no media stunt. There were no media in the funeral that day (although there was one white, unmarked van, out of which came uniformed men clad in body armour and armed with assault rifles).

Perhaps the singularly most important distinction between outlaw motorcycle clubs and gangs is evidenced through philanthropy. Many motorcycle clubs are closely intertwined with charity work: MC family members are or have been affected by the maladies the charities seek to eradicate, and members of the local community are in legitimate and immediate need. MCs support a wide variety of local, national, and international charities that seek to end disease, poverty and hunger, but especially supported are disabled veterans organisations. Charity is to members of motorcycle clubs as petrol and oil are to their machines. For some, it’s a major reason why they join and stay in MCs.

Clubs have been observed providing 24/7 security at battered women’s shelters, holding motorcycling events such as Poker Runs to raise money for local families whose homes were destroyed by fire or natural disasters, or to help families stricken by some other tragic event get on their feet. If a member of the community is in legitimate need, and the MCs are able to help, they almost always do. Even if it’s just “Passing the Hat,” where patch-holders literally pass around a baseball cap into which members place what cash they can spare. This might not seem like much, but to a family in desperate need of short-term assistance, this can mean the difference between having electricity and water and going without.

The above puts perspective on the recent statement that certain US law enforcement officials and organisations have labeled outlaw motorcycle clubs as a domestic terrorist threat, something is that is obviously more concerning since many of these clubs are made up of veterans who have fought bravely in recent wars for their country.

Four years later: Twin Peaks survivor hopes to change biker profiling

By General Posts

A Twin Peaks shooting survivor says he trying to rebuild his reputation after he was one of the bikers arrested at the Waco restaurant in 2015.

Friday marks four years since the deadly shootout at the Waco Twin Peaks.

“This was a scheduled meeting,” said Paul Landers.

Landers said he got to the restaurant early that day to set up for a meeting about biker profiling, recent biker legislation and their rights on the road. “That day was different because there were people there that never participated at all in what we do,” he said.

He said he was hanging a banner when he heard the first shots. “Some automatic fire broke out, obviously not small arms fire broke out,” he said.

Nine people were killed and at least 20 were critically injured. If you were there as a biker, chances are you were arrested by Waco Police.

Landers was one of them. “That incident happened 12:30, one o’clock. We were on the hot concrete in 97-degree weather until five that evening. People (were) looking for a restroom. It was total chaos. You don’t know what’s going on, who’s involved. Then we sat on the bus until midnight. I was in handcuff until midnight, plastic cuffs,” he said.

Landers said he spent the next 23 day in jail. He along with 177 others faced felony charges — engaging in organized criminal activity, resulting in murder and aggravated assault.

Charges for Landers were dropped three years after his arrest. In early April, the remaining charges were dropped after a new DA took office.

Landers said his life still hasn’t been the same since his arrest. “I’m not a criminal,” he said.

Before the shooting, Landers said he worked for a well-paying company but was terminated within a week after his arrest. He said the reputation he built as an advocate for biker safety with policy makers at the state Capitol started to diminish. “If you want to single out the bad deed of a couple, but don’t indict the whole group on the actions of few,” he said.

Landers is now part of a civil suit suing the former McLennan County District Attorney, Waco Police and the detective that signed off on the affidavit. He said he’s not suing for financial gain but to prevent bikers from being profiled like he feels they were on May 17, 2015 in Waco.

“Never let this happen again,” he said.

Prosecutors drop all charges in deadly Waco biker shootout

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Prosecutors drop all charges in deadly Waco biker shootout case that left nine dead, 20 injured and 177 arrested

  • Nine bikers from rival gangs died and 20 were wounded in the deadly shootout when rival Cossacks and Bandidos clashed inside and outside Twin Peaks, Waco
  • The deadly shooting happend outside a Twin Peaks in Waco on May 17, 2015
  • Police took away 12 long guns, 133 handguns and found 44 shell casings
  • Some 177 were arrested and 155 charged engaging in organized criminal activity
  • Police officers monitoring the group also fired on the bikers, killing at least two
  • Prosecutors announced today that no one will be convicted for the shootout

No one will be convicted for the 2015 shootout between rival biker gangs in Waco restaurant parking lot that left nine people dead and at least 20 injured, prosecutors in Texas said Tuesday.

In a statement announcing all charges will be dropped in the deadliest biker shooting in U.S. history, McLennan County District Attorney Barry Johnson said any further effort to prosecute the case would be a ‘waste of time, effort and resources.’

‘In my opinion, had this action been taken in a timely manner, it would have, and should have, resulted in numerous convictions and prison sentences against many of those who participated in the Twin Peaks brawl,’ Johnson said.

‘Over the next three years the prior district attorney failed to take that action, for reasons that I do not know to this day.’

The shooting outside a Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco on May 17, 2015, involved rival biker gangs, the Bandidos and Cossacks, and occurred as bikers from various groups were gathering to talk over matters of concern.

Fights and gunfire broke out. Waco police officers monitoring the gathering also fired on the bikers, killing at least two.

Surveillance footage showed many bikers running from the scene and ducking for cover after gunshots rang out.

A smaller number could be seen pointing and firing weapons, slinging a chain or participating in fistfights.

Law enforcement officers recovered dozens of firearms, knives and other weapons from the restaurant and adjacent parking lot, many of which officers organized indiscriminately into piles on the pavement and in the back of a police vehicle, dash-cam video showed.

Law enforcement officials took the extraordinary step of arresting 177 bikers after the shooting, then charged 155 of them with engaging in organized criminal activity. Many were held on a $1 million bond.

Former District Attorney Abel Reyna ultimately dropped charges against all but 24 and re-indicted them on riot charges. Those were the cases that came to an end Tuesday.

Only one case was prosecuted in court and that ended in a mistrial.

More than 100 bikers have filed civil rights lawsuits alleging McLennan County, the city and others violated the plaintiffs’ civil rights by arresting them without probable cause after the shooting,

‘It’s a travesty that so many people were rounded up and then investigated, instead of vice versa,’ Mark Snodgrass, president of the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, said Tuesday. ‘A lot of these people’s lives were put on hold for four years.’

In a statement, Reyna said he disagrees ‘with the overall result as well as several statements and accusations within Mr. Johnson’s press release; however, it is solely his decision on how to proceed with any case in the District Attorney’s Office.’