Motorcycle profiling is an issue that knows no state bounds. From coast to coast, police and other governmental agencies are violating the constitutional rights of Motorcycle Club members. Typical of this trend, six members of a motorcycle club in Utah were recently stopped on three separate occasions, all within an hour, simply for associating with what one sheriﬀ supervisor referred to as a threat group. No traﬃc infractions were issued.
This incident is is just the most recent in the undeniable pattern of evidence. Motorcycle profiling is proliferating nationally. The best hope of combating this epidemic is cost free legislation at the state and federal level that prohibits the practice and provides a mechanism of relief for victims.
Start of the Night
Just after midnight on August 18, 2019, members of the Undefined Limits Motorcycle Club decided to go on a ride in beautiful Utah summer weather. Meeting at a Maverick gas station to pick a destination, MC members noticed two Utah police cars, carrying four oﬃcers, parked oﬀ in the distance. Member Buster, believing that a traﬃc stop was inevitable, waved the other members of the group to the front. At the first stop sign, a complete stop was made, and both feet were on the ground. Regardless, Buster and a hang-around of the club were pulled over for a stop sign violation.
Buster and the hang- around were pulled for a stop sign violation. The two sheriﬀs approached the riders with their hands on their firearms, and demanded identification. After providing their drivers licenses, for his and his brother’s safety, Buster informed the sheriﬀs that he was carrying a firearm, and had a legal CCW, even though no law in Utah dictates that holders are required to do so. The two riders were told to keep their hands on the handlebars, and keep their kickstands up, while one oﬃcer wrote the citation, and the other kept watch on the two riders. Thirty minutes into the stop, member Big Rig came back to the scene to check on the safety of his brothers. The sheriﬀ demanded his identification since he “was on the scene.” No citation was given to Big Rig. The total time for the simple traﬃc stop of the two individuals, took a total of forty-five minutes, a clear violation of his civil liberties, as outlined in Rodriguez v. United States.
After twenty minutes of waiting, several riders decided to head back in the direction of the Maverick Gas station. While pulling onto I-89, member Clash noticed a Utah police car sitting in the darkness with all of the lights oﬀ. Once the group passed the parked patrol car, the oﬃcer immediately pulled out and approached the group. Quickly the oﬃcer pulled over the rear rider, Clash, for an alleged turn signal violation. Clash was given a citation for an expired drivers license, and a warning for the turn signal violation. During the stop, the sheriﬀ mentioned that the department had just “broken up” a party being held by another Motorcycle Club, and the sheriﬀs assumed the riders were coming from said party.
The Real Reason for the Stops
Club members Tech and R2 pull into the Maverick gas station and are immediately pulled over by one sheriﬀ for yet another alleged turn signal violation. Member Tech asks to speak with a supervisor. Tech questioned the supervisor as the real reason for the stops, since six members were stopped in the previous forty-five to sixty minutes. The supervisor responds, “ Why do you think? Why do you think? “ Tech responds, “because we have this on?!” , referring to his vest. A Utah Police Supervisor responds, “You are documented, ok. The (club name) are a documented threat group, that’s how it is. So that’s why we’re doing this. That’s why we’re pulling people over,” showing a clear bias and prejudice towards Motorcycle Club members. Neither rider was issued a citation, though both were given written warnings.
None of the six Club members had any registration or insurance verified by the Davis County Sheriﬀs, nor were any inspections stickers verified. This is one of the reasons the MPP believes this was nothing more than a intelligence gathering expedition.
The above events are just one more reason why legislative relief is needed in Utah, and across the country. The intrusions on individuals civil liberties, simply for expressing their 1st Amendment right to freely associate needs to stop. And as the MPP has demonstrated, Motorcycle Profiling bills are the correct avenue to take.
–From the Motorcycle Profiling Project