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New Jersey Tramples on 1st Amendment To Target Pagan’s MC

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The New Jersey State Commission of Investigations recently held public hearings on the Pagan’s Motorcycle Club (PMC) and it was business as usual. 1The NJSCI, in a trend being repeated by government and media sources nationwide, continued the process of eroding and ignoring the 1st Amendment in an attempt to vilify motorcycle clubs, in this instance the PMC due to the club’s alleged rapid growth recently. The actions of the few do not, and should not, dictate policy towards an entire demographic. Yet,  that is the exact tactic being employed by the NJSCI by exploiting and sensationalizing the alleged actions of a few members in an attempt to encourage policy condemning the entire organization. That is simply not how the 1st Amendment works.

 

Same old song and dance

 

The NJSCI hearing was intended to expose policymakers to the allegedly growing threat presented by the PMC. The NJSCI has no power to prosecute. They do, however, provide guidance to policymakers that directly influence legislation and law. Ignoring the fundamental liberties embodied in the 1st Amendment, the NJSCI presented a familiar narrative echoing a biased and inaccurate stereotype by presenting as evidence actions of individual members in an attempt to condemn all PMC members. Moreover,  many of the examples presented have not been subjected to judicial scrutiny or due process. Although no one goes to prison as a direct result, the NJSCI directly influences legislation without the requirement that an individual is innocent until proven guilty.

 

The false 1% narrative

 

NJSCI investigative agent Edwin Torres begins by advancing the falsehood that being a 1%’ER is synonymous with being a criminal. This assertion is an attempt to condemn an entire community and constitutionally protected symbol and association.

 

“Make no mistake. They are gangs”, says Torres. He then breaks into the apocryphal AMA narrative dating back to Hollister, California in 1947 in which the AMA declared that 1% of motorcyclists were not law-abiding citizens. Torres testified that 1%’ERS “wear a patch advertising that they are not law-abiding citizens.”

 

The assertion is ridiculous to members of the 1% club community. At worst, 1’ERS are advertising rebellion against mainstream society’s rules, not its’ laws. Things like long hair, tattoos, loud motorcycles, and parties.

 

The truth is that 1% clubs are considered elite among clubs, generally with higher levels of commitment and participation requirements, not criminality requirements. 1% clubs are a lifestyle, not a hobby. The truth is that the vast majority of 1%’ERS are employed, many have families, and don’t have criminal records. The statistics strongly dispute claims of criminality.

 

NJSCI claims about women are offensive and false

 

In an attempt to provoke fear in policymakers and the public, NJSCI investigators  assert women are abused and mistreated. Nicole McCann, investigative analyst for NJSCI testified, “According to the Pagan Motorcycle Club, women are below dogs. Women  are treated like  their property … shared sexually among the group. They are typically given as many drugs or drinks as they want.”

 

This assertion is highly offensive to PMC members and their Ol’ Ladies. One self-proclaimed proud Pagan Ol’ Lady writes to the MPP: “Lower than dogs?!” Come on! My Pagan Ol’Lady sisters are top quality wives, girlfriends, and mothers! My property patch indicates that I’m loved, valued, and cherished by my man. And in return, we honor, love and respect our men.”

 

Although not as sensational as Hollywood’s version of biker culture, the claims regarding the intrinsic abuse of women are simply not true.

 

Assertions regarding drug use and inherent criminali

Texas Bikers Stop VFW’s No MC Colors Policy

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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.

 

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Why Motorcycle Clubs Are Not Gangs

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There has been a one-sided war going on between law enforcement and motorcycle clubs for many years. This war is not a literal physical conflict in the traditional sense, but rather a war of words most often played out in the media and courtrooms across America. A war over public perception. And there is no better example than government authorities and the media applying the term “gang” to vilify and persecute motorcycle clubs and their members.

 

The National Council of Clubs (NCOC), representing the interests of motorcycle clubs and thousands of their members nationwide, is adamantly opposed to using the term “gang” to describe motorcycle clubs. The NCOC requests that media outlets and public officials immediately discontinue the practice.

  • Gang labeling results in Selective Enforcement of the law and profiling, tangibly impacting civil liberties. Motorcycle clubs are First Amendment protected associations and most clubs and members are living examples of expressive conduct, as demonstrated by an irrefutable dedication to charitable causes and political

 

  • The only statistical and demographic data available invalidates the “gang” label. 87% of MC members vote and are politically active, 73% are employed, 98% have no felony record, and 38% have served in the US military.

 

  • Just as the highly publicized criminal actions of a few officers does not mean all cops are corrupt, the criminal acts of the few do not justify applying the term “gang” to all members of a motorcycle club. That would amount to guilt by

 

Gang labeling and civil liberties

 

Gang and gang member defined

The term “gang” in the legislative or legal arena has a much more specific definition than in media circles and even law enforcement. In the legal context, the Due Process Clause and the 1st Amendment require that an individual be directly connected to criminal activity of the alleged gang before they are considered a gang member. This is a more stringent standard than the mere “membership in an organization” standard that the media uses for reporting and that law enforcement uses for inclusion into a gang database, for example.

 

In fact, when prosecuting a member of an alleged gang, evidence of criminal wrongdoing by other members of an organization that don’t involve the defendant are properly excluded by the Federal Rules of Evidence because such evidence is cumulative and unduly prejudicial. This interpretation of the term “gang” or “gang member” is consistent with the First Amendment to the US Constitution. On the other hand, targeting an individual based on the “gang” label for mere membership in any organization is unconstitutional.

 

It’s a matter of semantics with tangible implications. Being put into a gang database does not mean that an individual is considered a gang member by statute because gang databases are intended only for investigation, not as evidence. So, a direct connection to criminal activity is not required before entering and individual into a gang database. The problem occurs when law enforcement makes a gang member determination based on the mere membership standard when enforcing statutes that legally require a direct connection to gang crimes.

 

Gangs, Due Process, and the First Amendment

Motorcycle clubs are First Amendment protected associations. Restrictions solely based on association in a motorcycle club violate the First Amendment. There is “no evidence that by merely wearing [motorcycle club] “colors,” an individual is “involved in or associated with the alleged violent or criminal activity of other [motorcycle club] members. It is a fundamental principle t

PA Biker’s Firearm Illegally Seized After Major Injury Accident

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The MPP has reported extensively about the alarming trend of law enforcement and government officials charging individual with crimes, or having personal property seized simply for belonging to motorcycle clubs. Many of these instances are clear violations of the US Constitution. The following is a report about a Pennsylvania man’s ordeal. He has zero criminal history and is a legal Pennsylvania and Utah Concealed Carry Permit holder. While riding his motorcycle he was struck by a truck in a traffic accident. His firearm, nonsensically, was confiscated under the guise of being evidence in the investigation of a traffic accident. Such incidents highlight the urgent need for legislation addressing the practice of motorcycle profiling as recently urged by the unanimous consent of the US Senate. Although the incident happened in May, court proceedings begin tomorrow, September 18th.

 

The Incident

 

On May 11th, 2019, a member of the Pagan’s Motorcycle Club was traveling on Rt. 291, just outside of Philadelphia. A pickup truck driven by an uninsured, out-of-state driver pulled out of the left-hand shoulder of the road and hit the member’s Harley-Davidson motorcycle. He was thrown approximately forty feet from the motorcycle, receiving multiple, major injuries. Fortunately, traveling behind was a member of the Brookers MC, and his wife, both former EMT’s. She helped keep the victim calm and stable until an ambulance could arrive. While waiting for ambulance and police to arrive, the Pagan’s MC member gave the Brookers MC member his legally owned handgun to safely secure. The Bookers MC member placed the firearm in his truck inside the locked glove box. Once medics arrived and took over the scene, the victim’s jacket was unzipped and, according to the Bookers MC member’s wife, a Chester police office noticed a Pagan’s t-shirt, remarking “oh, he’s a Pagan.” While being loaded onto the ambulance for transport to a local hospital, another Chester police officer noticed the victim’s empty firearm holster.

 

The Seizure

 

The Chester officer asked the Bookers MC member if he knew where the firearm was. He informed the officer that he had taken possession of the firearm and would transport it to the victim’s home. The officer falsely stated that it was illegal and that he was required to seize the firearm. The Bookers MC member responded that he has a current and legal Concealed Carry Permit in the state of PA, and it is legal for him as such to take possession of said firearm. The officer demanded the firearm while he spoke with a supervisor about the law. The Bookers MC member complied and gave the officers the firearm. The officer returned to his squad car, and left the scene within five minutes, taking the firearm with him.

 

The Realization

 

After five days in the hospital with serious injuries, including head and brain trauma, the victim was cognizant enough to speak with his wife about the accident. He was informed that the police had indeed seized his firearm. When he spoke to a member of the Chester police department, he was told that his firearm was sent to Delaware County District Attorneys Criminal Investigation Unit (CID) for ballistic testing. He was told that he would have to petition the DA’s office for the return of his legally owned firearm.

 

4th Amendment Violation

 

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be vio

Utah Police Admit They Profile MC Members

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By Dave “Irish” Dohrmann

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.

 

First Stop

 

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.

 

Second Stop

 

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

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