What is being hailed as the “largest federal bust of alleged g*** activity in Indianapolis’ history,” just went down at the Outlaws Motorcycle Club’s clubhouses in Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, and Gary.
Evidently SWAT members cleared the way this morning for FBI and local authorities to come in and search the clubhouses and surrounding blocks. Evidence was boxed up and motorcycles removed from the premises’, but with the court documents remaining sealed, we are unsure as to exactly what the feds are looking for. However, we do know that there were 43 arrests warrants issued and ranges in charges from Racketeering to Mail Fraud. We also know that more than 300 federal and local law enforcement agents were involved in the bust.
More info as it becomes available… there will be a new conference at 2pm local time.
Motorcycle Clubs take their colors, insignias, rituals, traditions, and place in society very, very seriously. As someone who has worked to start a three-piece patch club in an area with a very powerful dominant club, I understand how important it is to watch your p’s and q’s, pay your respects, and play by the rules as they are laid forth.
In Australia there is a group of social riders that has recently been asked to change their patches. This kind of thing happens. You may or may not agree with it, but the honest truth is, the MC world belongs to the 1% clubs… if you wanna play in their yard, you had better follow their rules. What you find below is an article from the Gold Coast Bulletin, followed by the front page of the Gold Coast Cruiser Club’s website…
I am not asking for judgement… rather I would like to make sure folks understand the kinds of things that are reality in the MC world.
Much Love and Respect,
The Nomads bikie [club] has warned a Gold Coast social motorcycle club to remove their club insignia because it ”offends” the outlaw organisation.
The Gold Coast Cruiser club, which has more than 160 members, was ordered to ”get the patches off” after a member wearing the social patch was spotted by a member of the Nomads outlaw [club].
The Nomads from the southside chapter of the [club] confronted the biker as he was coming out of a doctor’s surgery, the Gold Coast Bulletin said.
A statement on the Cruiser website has urged members to remove their patches.
”I have had a phone call from a 1 per cent club The Nomads, Southside Chapter. A member rang me stating our back patch is too much like a motorcycle club back patch and all members should remove them and replace them with one which Nomads would be happy with and to come up with a design as a replacement,” the statement reads.
”I did put the point forward regarding the round back patch worn by members of Ulysses Club who, like Gold Coast Cruiser Club, are social motorcycle riders.
”The problem the Nomads have with our patch is the wording around our logo making the patch look like it has rockers, which had been deemed at the 2005 Ulysses AGM in Canberra to be avoided and never to be worn on member’s vests.
”I consider it advisable to remove the Gold Coast Cruiser Club back patch.”
The statement said the club understood the ”annoyance and frustration” as in the club’s seven-year history, the insignia has never been an issue.
”All I can say is, I have been given this message to pass on to everyone as soon as possible.
”The message is ‘Get the patches off and that’s it!’ from the Nomads.”
The cruiser club has appealed to the United Motorcycle Council of Queensland to mediate the dispute.
It is not the first time an outlaw [club] has attempted to strong-arm a social motorcycle club.
In 2005, a Canberra-based Rebels motorcycle [club] warned that the Ulysses veteran social to remove their insignia.
Ulysses Club members were confronted, intimidated, and threatened their bikes would be destroyed by members of the Rebels Motorcycle Club if they did not remove the cloth patches, known as ”rockers”.
In a bid to avoid violent incidents, Ulysses’ national committee has instructed its 5000 members attending the Canberra rally to remove the rockers from their riding apparel.
I have had a phone call from a 1% club ‘The Nomads’ – Southside Chapter. A member rang me stating our back patch is too much like a Motorcycle Club back patch and all members should remove them and replace them with one which Nomads would be happy with and to come up with a design as a replacement. I had a discussion with Beau of Southside Nomads and it was in a respectful manner from each of us.
I did put the point forward regarding the round back patch worn by members of Ulysses Club who, like Gold Coast Cruiser Club, are social motorcycle riders. Beau’s reply was it had been discussed at a United Motorcycle Council meeting of 1% clubs and agreed that the Ulysses patch was OK. The problem the Nomads have with our patch is the wording around our logo making the patch look like it has rockers, which had been deemed at the 2005 Ulysses AGM in Canberra to be avoided and never to be worn on member’s vests.
As all Gold Coast Cruiser Club members are aware our club is a club in name only. We have no committee and the club basically runs on the input of its members. We don’t have any ‘offical’ back patch, the back patch available is not compulsory and is a personal choice by anyone to purchase and wear. Our only offical patch is the one small patch purchased to initiate being on our list for emailing and being one of the groups of 160 who call themselves Gold Coast Cruisers Club.
I consider it advisable to remove the Gold Coast Cruiser Club back patch. I understand the annoyance and frustration which will be felt by many of you, and have had the comment as to why after 7 years have none of the eight 1% clubs on the Gold Coast had a problem with this, but now this comes from a ‘South Brisbane Chapter’! Along with many other comments; all I can say is, I have been given this message to pass on to everyone as soon as possible.
The message is “Get the patches off and that’s it!” from the Nomads.
ALBANY, N.Y. — A federal judge has rejected motorcyclists’ claims that their constitutional rights were violated by New York State Police highway checkpoints that stopped thousands of riders and ticketed many of them.
The main focus of the 2008 statewide initiative by troopers, timed to coincide with rallies drawing crowds of riders, was safety, Judge Gary Sharpe concluded. That distinguishes the checkpoints from “a general interest in crime control” that could have amounted to unconstitutional seizures when there’s no “individualized suspicion of wrongdoing.”
Four motorcyclists sued troopers claiming safety was a mere pretext in looking for criminals and that the practice was intrusive and unfair to riders as a group. Attorney Mitchell Proner said many motorcyclists are interested in the case, the only such federal suit nationally though some other states have similar checkpoint programs, and he will appeal.
According to Sharpe’s Thursday ruling, 5,342 vehicles passed through 17 checkpoints in 2008. Authorities inspected 2,278 and made four criminal arrests in addition to issuing 1,064 tickets, including 365 for helmet violations, 99 for other safety violations, and 600 for non-safety violations.
The ruling cited state data showing an increase in motorcycle fatalities the preceding nine years, and an increase in tickets issued for illegal helmets from 35 in 2007 to 796 in 2008, almost half at the checkpoints. Sharpe also cited a 17 percent decrease in motorcycle fatalities from 2008 to 2009.
“The court concludes the checkpoints were enacted to promote motorcycle safety, a manifest public interest; they were effective in addressing this interest; and that any interference with individual liberties was not only minimal, but also grossly outweighed by the interest advanced,” Sharpe wrote.
The program gave police “appropriately” limited discretion and was “minimally intrusive,” with depositions showing bikers were detained at most 45 minutes even when they got secondary inspections and were cited for inadequate helmets, he wrote.
Lt. James Halvorsen, detail commander of the state police motorcycle unit, said the ongoing program, similar to seatbelt enforcement, succeeded in raising safety awareness. Most riders with approved helmets are waved through the checkpoints, where they slow but don’t stop, he said.
Statewide motorcycle fatalities were 188 in 2008, 155 in 2009 and 180 last year, while the peak in 2006 was 192, Halvorsen said. Whether other police showed up at the checkpoints, that wasn’t coordinated and the troopers’ program was strictly about safety, he said.
“The intrusion on civil liberties is something that shouldn’t be countenanced,” Proner said. The New York checkpoints have continued since even though motorcycles, like other vehicles, are already subject to annual safety inspections, he said.
“It’s obvious just from their own internal documents they’re looking for criminal activity,” Proner said. A checkpoint near Buffalo’s Peace Bridge included border patrol agents, and one in central New York near a rally sponsored by a motorcycle club included gang task force officers, he said.
“The fact they didn’t find crime doesn’t mean that wasn’t what they’re fishing for,” he said. “That just shows you’ve got law abiding citizens on motorcycles primarily being inconvenienced.”
The 18th Annual Street Vibrations Motorcycle Rally is… er… WAS going on this weekend… but as you can see in the press release below, it’s ovah…
In light of a shooting involving rival members of motorcycle clubs at a Spark Casino Friday night, and a subsequent drive-by shooting on Victorian Avenue in Sparks this morning, a state-of-emergency has been declared by the City. It is expected the Governor will also declare a state-of-emergency on behalf of the City of Sparks. Pursuant to the police powers vested in the City of Sparks, the Street Vibrations motorcycle event in Sparks will be cancelled for the remainder of the weekend.
“The safety and security of the public is our number one priority,” said Sparks Mayor Geno Martini.
But, I can understand the safety issue. I have some guys there now and a few friends working the event and am so very glad they are all safe and sound… But, just in case you didn’t hear the news of what went down, here is the rough edit.
It seems that a brawl began in Trader Dick’s, which spilled out onto the dance floor of the casino in which the bar is located. Patrons of John Ascuaga’s Nugget Casino were ushered out of the building when shots began ringing out from the area of the dance floor.
Looks as if 20 or 30 club members from the Hells Angels MC and the Vagos MC mixed it up. Jeffrey Pettigrew, President of the San Jose Chapter of the Hells Angels, was killed and two Vagos members were shot, but are in stable condition.
Renown Regional Medical Center was put on lockdown earlier today after members of the Vagos motorcycle club showed up at the hospital.
While the Sparks events have been shut down, I believe the event is still rolling right along in Reno. If you are out there, please be careful and watch out for each other. Ride safe and I hope there are no more instances to report from this weekend.