Well, for those of you who were there, ya probably already know all about it… for those that couldn’t make this year’s Sturgis Rally, you still probably know about it… Seems like the Hells Angels and the Mongols got into it a little bit last Wednesday night just off Main Street, in front of the Angel’s Clubhouse (Pee-Wee’s Shop). One member from each club went to the hospital with stab wounds, and both have been released.
Two Hells Angels are in custody and face assault charges after a biker fight in downtown Sturgis. Mark Allen Duclos, 48, is charged with aggravated assault, and George James Caruso, 57, is charged with simple assault.
This will certainly go down as one of the better known clashes between clubs in the states… There are of course the instances in Laughlin, the shooting in Custer State Park, and the recent activity in Arizona. You can read about most of these things in my blog if you wanna keep up.
We also have a few links to a video someone shot from One Eyed Jack’s Saloon. The first part is the most interesting (and easy to watch)… then the sun goes down and it becomes hard to see.
It’s late at night, or early in the morning… hard to differentiate when you are in a Casino. They don’t have windows, they don’t have clocks, and they have a heck of a lot of security. Friday night slips into Saturday, April 27, 2002 and two groups of bikers are about to face off on the floor of the Harrah’s Casino.
The Laughlin River Run is in full swing and bikers and citizens alike are enjoying the sights, sounds, and gambling of Laughlin, Nevada. The casino’s security cameras catch the action on the floor as gamblers scatter and run for cover. A fight has broken out between members of the Hells Angels and members of the Mongols.
Hells Angels members Jeramie Bell, 27, and Robert Tumelty, 50 were both shot and killed. Stabbed to death was Mongols member Anthony Barrera, 43.
Harrah’s attorneys had argued the casino wasn’t liable for the criminal acts of the bikers, including a “spontaneous and tragic biker club brawl” just after 2 a.m., as the melee was not foreseeable. However, a civil court jury seems to agree with Las Vegas attorney Brent Bryson and found for his clients, five bystanders who were caught up in the deadly brawl. Bryson said Harrah’s Laughlin officials knew trouble was brewing but did nothing to stop Hell’s Angels and Mongols motorcycle club members from clashing on the casino floor.
The bystanders at the casino were “diving around, fearing for their life, jumping on the floor, seeing people shot, stabbed, hammers being used, wrenches being used on individuals,” Las Vegas attorney Brent Bryson said at a press conference at his office Monday. “It was quite traumatic and certainly a life-altering event.”
One of the five bystanders, Dean Daniels, of Norco, Calif., said that for himself and his wife, Andrea, “it was actually quite terrifying because we feared for our life.”
“I had to actually take my wife down underneath the blackjack table and cover her up, for fear of being shot,” Daniels said. “There’s no words to describe the way you feel when you think you’re going to die.”
“There had been information that an incident had been building between these two organizations and there had been a history of bad blood and feuding between these organizations, as well as the Hell’s Angels and a coalition of other outlaw biker gangs,” Bryson said.
On Thursday, Bryson said he believed this is the first time the Laughlin casino, which is owned by Harrah’s Entertainment Inc., has been held responsible for failing to protect bystanders. Phil Sindlinger, one of the eight jurors, said the panel was deadlocked for most of its two hours of deliberations. In the end, he said, the vote was 6-2 for the plaintiffs.
One of the plaintiffs, Michael Bower, claimed in the lawsuit he was caught in the crossfire between the Hell’s Angels and Mongols, with the bikers armed with guns, knives and other weapons.
Bower said he badly injured his spine as he dove off his gaming chair to seek cover. He also said he experienced emotional trauma and flashbacks to combat during the Vietnam War.
“I thought I was having a heart attack. I was shaking to no end,” he said Monday. “… I was in the hospital with 11 Hell’s Angels. They put that hospital on lockdown, saying the Mongols were coming and they were going to kill everybody in that hospital.”
Bower had been suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder prior to the Laughlin incident and since then has been permanently disabled with posttraumatic stress disorder syndrome, a court filing said.
Plaintiffs Kathy and Steven Fuller, Goodyear, Ariz., weren’t at the press conference, but gave Bryson a written statement to read.
“I believe it was a reasonable expectation and an expectation that most people would believe, that a resort hotel would provide a safe environment for its guests,” Fuller’s statement said.
Papers filed with the court said the Fullers were gambling in the casino when they were engulfed by a stampede caused by the biker fight and at one point found themselves in an elevator with several Mongols armed with guns.
Six members of the Hells Angels were sent to prison in 2006; charges against 36 others were dismissed. Frederick Donahue, a Hells Angel from Rodeo, Calif., vanished after indictments were handed down in 2002. He surrendered in 2008 and was sentenced to 30 months in prison. Six members of the Mongols motorcycle club were sentenced in 2007. The amount the 5 bystanders were awarded has not been disclosed.
Outlaw BikerComments Off on Hells Angels Handbag Case Closed
A quick update on the Hells Angels vs. Alexander McQueen case. You will remember it from just last week (read it here).
It seems that the lawsuit has been settled against McQueen, Saks 5th Avenue, and on-line retailer Zappos.com. Not only will the companies pull all merchandise featuring the clubs trademark “death’s head” insignia, but will also attempt to recall and destroy any and all merchandise already sold that infringes upon the trademark.
I tell you what… it seems some people never learn. I know that as an educator I have to deal with issues of plagiarism on an all too frequent basis. But that type of behavior happens outside the classroom as well. Instead of plagiarism, we often call it copyright infringement or intellectual property rights.
The Hells Angels Motorcycle Club has had issues with their ideas, logos, and name being used by people from all walks of life. Just a few years ago they went to court because someone had bought up and was trying to sell domain names that were directly linked to the group. I think that was settled with a hand slap and a glare, but I sure wouldn’t want to step on toes. You can read some of the older entries about the issues here:
Luckily, the man who “borrowed” inspiration from the Angels this time around is, well, dead. I am not happy he is no longer of this earth, but I sure hope that if I ever get in major trouble with any MC, it happens after my “life cycle” has ended naturally.
According to a complaint filed yesterday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles,
The Hells Angels Motorcycle Corp. said fashion design house Alexander McQueen, through New York-based Saks and retailer Zappos.com Inc., have been selling infringing products in stores in California and online.
At the center of the suit is the Hells Angels skull with wings, which dates back to at least 1948. While fashion designers could say they just drew inspiration from skulls in general, as many have done before, the items that carry the likeness are actually named after the famous motorcycle club; Hells Angels Jacquard Box Dress and Hells Angels Pashmina (that’s a scarf… I had to look it up) are among some the items named in the suit. A woman’s handbag designed by McQueen called “Hell’s Knuckle Duster” is listed on Zappos.com, owned by Seattle-based Amazon.com Inc, for $2,329, so we are not talking chump change here.
Representatives of the Hells Angels who filed the suit, officially, the case is Hells Angels Motorcycle Corp. v. Alexander McQueen Trading Ltd., 10-08029, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles), claim it’s not necessarily about money but the logo and those members who are allowed to wear it.
“From decades of notoriety, the HAMC marks have acquired very widespread public recognition. Consequently they evoke strong and immediate reactions whenever used,” the complaint states, “The impact of these marks is virtually incomparable, and as a result they have great commercial value,” it says, alleging that the defendants seek “to exploit that value for their own gain”.
Alexander McQueen past away last February, but it looks like the battle of his designs is alive and kicking.
Each year the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club brings together two representatives from every Hells Angels chapter for a business meeting. This international gathering of members is known as the World Run. Laconia has been selected as the destination for 2011 and members from all over the world are looking forward to the trip. The last World Run held in the New Hampshire town was in 2003.
“A World Run will take place in Laconia,” said P. Scott Bratton, the legal representative of the Hells Angels, adding that it would be centered on the club’s Laconia clubhouse on Fillmore Avenue in The Weirs and will take place July 27 – 31. This is not the same weekend at the famous Laconia Bike Week Rally, which is historically held over Father’s Day Weekend in June.
“We expect approximately 2,000 Hells Angels to attend with their families who will be vacationing at the lake and we see it as a positive event for the community since it will financially benefit local merchants and retailers,” said Bratton.
Belknap County Sheriff Craig Wiggin said that he, like Laconia Police Chief Mike Moyer, did not expect many problems during the World Run. Wiggin did say, however, that his and other law enforcement entities were concerned about “people trying to make a name for themselves” who may provoke an incident with the Hells Angels, or the Hells Angels coming into contact with members of rival clubs. Part of this worry is undoubtedly due to the event that took place in Manchester last week where a man was supposedly assaulted by HA members. Michael Keller, 39, of Derry, NH claims to have been attacked by members of the club. He then went to Derry to get guns with intent of coming back for retaliation. It never got that far as Keller was arrested while sitting in his vehicle in front of Cactus Jack’s, the restaurant where the incident took place.
Following the 2003 World Run, the Hells Angels through Bratton thanked residents of the city and the Lakes Region for their “respectful hospitality.” He said, “Most would agree that the event was a success, including the Hells Angels, local merchants, the law enforcement community and, importantly, the citizens of the Lakes Region.”