NCOM Biker Newsbytes
Federal Anti-Profiling Resolution Introduced In U.S. House
Last December, the United States Senate passed a nonbinding resolution by unanimous consent calling for an end to the discriminatory profiling of motorcyclists by law enforcement, and now the U.S. House of Representatives has introduced an identical bipartisan measure in the 116th Congress, H.Res.255; “Promoting awareness of motorcycle profiling and encouraging collaboration and communication with the motorcycle community and law enforcement officials to prevent instances of profiling.”
Sponsored by Congressman Tim Walberg (R-MI), the anti-profiling resolution was introduced in the House on March 26 to thwart ”the illegal use of the fact that a person rides a motorcycle or wears motorcycle related apparel as a factor in deciding to stop and question, take enforcement action, arrest, or search a person or vehicle with or without legal basis under the Constitution of the United States,” as profiling is defined in the resolution’s text.
“Michigan has a strong and vibrant riding community, myself included, that use motorcycles as a source of recreation and transportation,” Walberg said in a statement. “Making sure riders are free from profiling coincides with motorcyclists’ appreciation for our law enforcement community. I’m proud to work with Rep. Burgess on this effort to foster a greater understanding of the issue of motorcycle profiling and ensure our roads and highways are safe for all to enjoy.”
Congressman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX) is one of three original cosponsors, among 12 cosponsors from both sides of the aisle, and said that with Texas being home to thousands of motorcyclists, he is committed to advocating for riders both on and off the road.
Walberg and Burgess are also co-chairs of the Congressional Motorcycle Caucus which aims to improve public knowledge of motorcycle issues, promote safety on the roadways, and encourage Americans to enjoy responsible motorcycle riding.
All motorcyclists are encouraged to contact your Congressional Representative and ask that they join their colleagues as a cosponsor of H.Res.255 and help put a stop to law enforcement unfairly targeting motorcycle riders for traffic stops, questioning and citations.
Twin Peaks Update — Prosecutions Unravel
It was portrayed in the national press as a gang war shootout at a family restaurant on the edge of a shopping center in Waco, Texas on May 17, 2015, leaving nine bikers dead and more than 20 wounded.
Nearly two hundred bikers were incarcerated in the aftermath of that deadly melee involving police who had surrounded motorcycle club members attending a regularly scheduled Texas Confederation of Clubs and Independents meeting at the Twin Peaks restaurant, raining down a hail of police gunfire.
From the start, lawyers and others pointed out that it was very unlikely indeed that all the 177 arrested had committed any crimes at all, and that the initial $1 million bond set for each of them charged with a blanket crime of “engaging in organized criminal activity” seemed unreasonably punitive. The police strove in the aftermath to keep a detailed account of what actually happened from reaching the public eye, or that of defense attorneys.
Over the next four years, as the cases began moving into the courtroom one-by-one, they each began to fall apart until ultimately only two dozen remained indicted, with not a single successful prosecution to date. The first and only case to go to trial ended in a hung jury and mistrial in November 2017.
McClennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna, the D.A. at the time of the arrests, lost re-election last year, and before leaving office he “dismissed the vast majority of the 154 pending indictments his office sought in the Twin Peaks shootout,” according to the Tribune newspaper. On April 2, 2019, newly-elected D.A. Barry Johnson announced that his office has chosen not to prosecute the remaining 24 cases, calling the way the former D.A.’s office handled the situation “a harebrained scheme” that was “patently offensive.”
“This is a difficult decision which must be made based on the existing facts and evidence in accordance with the laws of this state and in the interest of justice,” stated Johnson.
McLennan County reports that the shootout has run up $1,317,835.96 in total identifiable costs, with nothing so far to show for it, and all the while realizing the final cost is not yet calculated for the defendants and in some cases may never be.
Many of those bikers who’ve had charges eventually dropped, after spending months in jail on million dollar bonds, have subsequently filed civil rights suits, and as of January there were 133 federal lawsuits naming McLennan County, Waco police, the district attorney, the sheriff, police chief and individual officers, charging violations against the 4th and 14th Amendment Constitutional guarantees, plus a number of other civil rights violations.
Texas AIM Attorney Bill Smith will be presenting an update on the Waco situation during the Confederation of Clubs Patch Holders Meeting at the upcoming NCOM Convention in Orlando, Florida, Mother’s Day Weekend May 10-12, 2019 at the Doubletree by Hilton – Universal Orlando.
Mongols Case Still Presents A Threat Despite Patch Victory
“The recent decision by Judge David Carter in US v. Mongol Nation that the First and Eighth Amendments to the US Constitution prohibits the government’s request to seize the collective membership marks of the Mongols MC, including their club name patch and center-patch, is a victory for all,” writes Kit Maira of Easyriders Magazine in his Biker’s Rights blog. But, he adds; “Beyond the issues of forfeiture, a brand-new strategy to target motorcycle clubs under RICO has been born and legally confirmed. The idea that a motorcycle club can be indicted under RICO as an entity, regardless of other members’ personal guilt, should equally alarm everyone.” Read More