Apr 172011

In light of my previous post about attending a biker funeral and having snapshots taken of practically everyone there by a certain, national law enforcement/investigation type agency, I thought the below article was refreshing.

I used to live in Bellingham, Washington and know full well the effects of certain law officer’s tactics.  I would also be interested to see and re-post the video that Burns put up on youtube a few years back… if you know where to find it, please send me a note.


Love, Respect, and Ride Safe,



******* UPDATE******


Tacoma Twitch sent me a note to let me know this personal YouTube address.  The video mentioned below can be seen here and many more are available on his channel.  Thank you very much Twitch!




VANCOUVER, Wash. — Bikers will have something to celebrate at today’s Motorcycle Mountain Jam in Clark County: Gov. Chris Gregoire has signed into law a bill that outlaws profiling of motorcyclists by state troopers and local law enforcement officers.

Engrossed Senate Bill 5242, which prohibits singling out bikers for police stops without a legitimate reason, passed both legislative chambers unanimously and was signed by the governor Wednesday.

A similar bill in the 2010 Legislature passed the House decisively but ran out of time in the state Senate.

The new law is modeled on a 2002 state law outlawing racial profiling by police, and it includes similar safeguards. It requires the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs and the Criminal Justice Training Commission to add a statement condemning motorcycle profiling to their existing policies banning racial profiling.

Motorcycle profiling is defined as when law enforcement officers single out people who ride motorcycles or wear biker garb, stopping, questioning, searching or arresting them without legal grounds.

Motorcycle enthusiasts presented compelling evidence to legislators, including a video of a state trooper crawling through bushes near the Legislative Building in Olympia two years ago and writing down motorcycle license numbers while bikers were holding a rally.

Jeff “Twitch” Burns, a member of a Tacoma-area motorcycle club, has produced an 86-minute video documenting the emergency of the anti-profiling movement. “It chronicles our growth and how it developed between the independent motorcycle community and the club community,” he said.

Burns said he has been stopped repeatedly for wearing motorcycle paraphernalia.

“As soon as you are stopped, officers don’t treat you like a normal person,” he said. “They search you, they ask you about your tattoos, they try to take pictures of your tattoos. They ask you about your motorcycle club and its affiliation with other motorcycle clubs.”

Burns has posted a YouTube video from 2008 showing a state trooper pulling over a biker in Thurston County for no apparent reason and ordering him to remove his helmet. When the biker refused, he was arrested.

“We have been instructed by our attorneys not to remove our helmets,” Burns said. “There is no statutory basis for that. As a result of that arrest, the Washington State Patrol was forced to pay the motorcyclist $90,000.”

Burns’ brother, Dave Devereaux, whose handle is DD, testified in Olympia about the need for the bill last year and again this year. He said many lawmakers were unaware of the problem until he showed video of the 2009 rally at the Capital, which drew more than 100 motorcyclists.

“We captured a state trooper crawling through the bushes writing down the license number of every motorcycle,” he said.

Also in 2009, a state trooper involved in a profiling case admitted to using a Washington State Patrol “Basic Biker 101” manual that had been banned years earlier, Devereaux said.

“We could prove law enforcement was continuing to promote discriminatory tactics,” he said.

Attitudes toward bikers and biker clubs are changing in Olympia and elsewhere, Devereaux said. “In 2010, there was such a massive amount of law enforcement when we arrived that we had to walk through a gantlet. In 2011, they had completely changed their tactics.”

“My hopes are high,” he said. “I don’t think it’s going to completely solve the problem, but it provides the necessary training and clarifies the definition of what motorcycle profiling is.”


Feb 112010

This is from Maks Goldenshteyn who is covering this issue for The Olympian and News Tribune:

Rep. Steve Kirby’s latest attempt to curb the alleged profiling of motorcyclists by law enforcement officers gained a little more traction Tuesday after his bill was passed out of committee on a 7-to-1 vote.

HB 2511 would force local law enforcement agencies to adopt a written policy designed to condemn and prevent the profiling of motorcyclists, who have testified that police target them out of the mistaken assumption they belong to biker gangs. The language used in HB 2511 is borrowed from a bill passed in 2002 that dealt with racial profiling, and it would institute training to address the problem.

“If we have to make it a legislative matter to make it stop, so be it,” said Kirby, a Tacoma Democrat. “We shouldn’t have had to pass a racial profiling bill, but we did because it was the right thing to do. And this is the right thing to do.”

Kirby said he hoped his previous two bills on motorcyclist profiling would solve the problem by at least bringing attention to it. But motorcyclist advocates say police still target them for stops and enforcement.

Official s from the Washington State Patrol and the Washington Association of Sheriffs & Police Chiefs deny the claims.

David Devereaux of the Washington Confederation of Clubs said before the House Committee on Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness that almost every member of every club, and even motorcyclists who aren’t in clubs, has been profiled.

Motorcyclis ts present at Tuesday’s hearing point to a specific incident involving the Washington State Patrol in January of 2009 as one of many incidents that prove they’re being profiled. At Black Thursday, an annual legislative lobbying day for motorcyclists, riders went inside the Capitol to try to find sponsorship for a bill that would stop motorcycle profiling. Outside, the Washington State Patrol arrived and began taking down their license plate numbers.

Video footage taken of the officers shows some crawling through bushes to get the information. Committee Chairman Christopher Hurst, D-Enumclaw, said he never profiled anyone in his 25 years in law enforcement, but acknowledged that “what you’re talking about has happened.”

Rep. Brad Klippert, R-Kennewick, a Benton County Sheriff’s deputy, said he doesn’t profile motorcyclists either. He voted against moving the bill forward because he wants to see it tweaked.

Donnie Landsman, who’s in charge of legislative efforts for the Washington chapter of ABATE, said he was profiled in the halls of the John L. O’Brien Building before Tuesday morning’s hearing.

“Oh there’s a motorcycle gang. I wonder what they’re here for?” he heard someone say after he and a group of other motorcyclists arrived early to find out what room the hearing was going to be in.