Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Former Hells Angels MC president goes to court

Manitoba, Canada (April 30, 2019) BTN — The former president of the Manitoba Hells Angels is taking the Correctional Service of Canada to court for allegedly infringing on his "right to life, liberty and security of person" when it reclassified his security threat level and moved him from a minimum-security unit to medium.

Dale Jason Sweeney, 48, is currently serving the remainder of a 10-year prison sentence at Stony Mountain Institution for his role in a cocaine trafficking ring. He was arrested in March 2012 as part of a Winnipeg police investigation dubbed Project Flatlined and later pleaded guilty to instructing someone to commit an offence for a criminal organization and possession of property obtained by crime.

Manitoba Justice seized hundreds of thousands of dollars in property and cash from Sweeney's Autumnview Drive home, including a Harley Davidson motorcycle.

Police raided Sweeney's Autumnview Drive home in 2012 and seized a number of items, including a Harley Davidson motorcycle. Sweeney was sentenced to 10-years in prison for instructing someone to commit an offence for a criminal organization and possession of property obtained by crime.

In a March 2019 affidavit filed in the Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench, Sweeney said in the summer of 2015, while serving his sentence at Stony Mountain, the correctional service assessed him to be a minimum security risk and he was moved to a minimum-security unit of the prison.

Sweeney said he participated in offender programming and has had "no serious disciplinary offences of any kind." Despite that, in August 2018 his security threat level was increased and he was sent back to a medium security unit.

Police raided Sweeney's Autumnview Drive home in 2012 and seized a number of items, including a Harley Davidson motorcycle. 

Sweeney was denied parole in 2017.

His lawyer says he is up for parole again in June. "This is the second time that this has occurred with Mr. Sweeney," said Sweeney's lawyer, StephanThliveris.

In 2017, a few months before Sweeney was to appear before the Parole Board of Canada, his security level was increased from minimum to medium and as a result, his parole was denied, said Thliveris. Sweeney will be up for parole again in a few months, and Thliveris alleges his client's security level was increased in an effort to thwart his application.

Allegations 'completely fabricated': lawyer 

"Every time his parole comes up, all of a sudden there's these security intelligence officer reports that allege all these shenanigans, for lack of a better phrase, and they increase the security classification," said Thliveris.

Thliveris said there is no substance to the allegations, which he said include accusations of drug trafficking. He said if the correctional service had any evidence against Sweeney, his client would have been charged under the Criminal Code, or at the very least would have faced institutional charges.

"It's our position that these are completely fabricated charges, which is done in a deliberate attempt to get as much time out of him, to make him serve as much time as possible, and really just trump any sort of chance he has before the parole board," said Thliveris.

In 2017, Sweeney filed what's called a writ of habeas corpus application to fight his security level reclassification. His lawyer said when the matter appeared before a judge, the Attorney General of Canada conceded its case and signed a consent order.

Within 72 hours, his client was back in a minimum-security unit where he remained until he was moved to a medium-security unit last August, said Thliveris.

"I've been doing work with inmates for the better part of a decade now, I've never quite seen anything as egregious as this. They're really doing everything they can to hamper his ability to have a proper parole hearing and be able to present his position properly," said Thliveris.

'People get killed all the time' In January, Sweeney filed another writ of habeas corpus application.

The writ of habeas corpus is very serious, said Thlivaris. The deprivation of liberty is the moste severe punishment in Canadian society, which doesn't have the death penalty, so placing someone in an unnecessarily high security classification is "a major no no," he said.

There is a vast difference between life in a minimum-security unit versus medium security, he said. In minimum, inmates have an abundance of freedom and are able to move around the unit with ease. There is no wall or fence forcing offenders to stay to a certain area. They are even allowed to cook their own meals.

In medium security, life is a lot more dangerous and the environment is more restrictive, said Thliveris.

"You'll go to lockdown and people get killed all the time in medium security. This is often not reported in the papers, because they don't want people knowing about it," said Thliveris.

Sweeney still a Hells Angel 

This is not the first time Sweeney has served time in prison. He was convicted of discharging a firearm with intent after a brazen 2001 daylight shootout with a rival gang member on Portage Avenue. He's also been convicted of assault, break and enter and commit mischief, attempt to obstruct justice and attempting fraud under $5,000.

According to parole board documents, despite spending the past few years in prison, Sweeney is still a member of the Hells Angels. In 2017, he told the parole board that he plans to leave the motorcycle club when his is "able to quit face to face", and that he needs to do it "with a handshake" when he is released from prison.

Sweeney's writ of habeas corpus application is scheduled to appear in court on May 13, about a month before his next parole board hearing.

If Sweeney's parole application is successful, he will be out of prison at the end of June, said Thliveris. Otherwise, he said his client is up for statutory release in December after serving two-thirds of his sentence. 


Mongols MC President Arrested

El Paso, Texas, USA (April 30, 2019) BTN — The president of the El Paso chapter of the Mongols Motorcycle Club was arrested Monday during an early Monday raid at his Northeast home, police said.

Charles Edward Anderson Jr. is accused of assaulting a former rival club member earlier this month at a motorcycle garage, El Paso police said.

The Mongols Motorcycle Club are a recent arrival in El Paso and one of the world's largest "1 percenter" clubs, which law enforcement considers an outlaw biker gang. Anderson, 46, was arrested on a charge of engaging in organized criminal activity-assault causing bodily injury.

Anderson allegedly assaulted David Griego , 48, on April 5 at the Busted Knuckle Motorcycle Garage on Hondo Pass Drive, police said in a news release.

The garage is owned by Anderson, according to county business records.

Anderson was arrested at 4:45 a.m. Monday when a multi-agency law enforcement team raided his home in the 8300 block of Mount Latona Drive, police said.

The arrest and search warrants were served by a team including the police SWAT team and Gang Unit, Texas Department of Public Safety, FBI Safe Streets Gang Task Force and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

A jail log shows that Anderson was later released from jail on Monday on a $25,000 bond.

The Mongols are a recent arrival in El Paso and one of three major motorcycle clubs in the city, a police gang [sic] investigator testified earlier this year in the trial of a member of the Kinfolk MC convicted of killing the El Paso Bandidos chapter president.

Kinfolk member Javier "Jake" Gonzalez was sentenced to 56 years in prison in the murder of Juan "Compa" Martinez Jr. and wounding three other bikers in a bar shooting.

The Bandidos have been in El Paso for more than 50 years and the Kinfolk began in 2016.

Last August, Anderson was identified by El Paso police as a member of the Heathen Horde Motorcycle Club. Anderson was among Heathen Horde members arrested for allegedly assaulting members of the Valley Boys Motorcycle Club at the 5 Points Bistro in the Five Points neighborhood.

Anderson is scheduled to go on trial in June on aggravated assault charges in that case. Social media posts show at least one other then-member of the Heathen Horde now displays Mongols membership.

The Mongols began 50 years ago with 15 members in the East Los Angeles before expanding to other parts of Southern California. The Mongols display the diamond-shaped "1 %" patch used by what law enforcement term outlaw motorcycle gangs.

The term "1 percenter" originated after the 1947 biker riot in Hollister, California, when the American Motorcyclist Association declared that 99 percent of motorcyclists were good, law-abiding citizens, implying that one percent were outlaws.

The Mongols now have chapters across the U.S. and a dozen countries. The Mongols website lists 11 chapters in Texas, though El Paso is not one of the cities on the list.


Sunday, April 28, 2019

Hells Angels MC in Woodbridge grows

Toronto, ON (April 28, 2019) BTN — There was cake, hockey on TV and no reports of arrests at a party in Woodbridge on Saturday night to welcome Prince Edward Island bikers into the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club. The Charlotteown bikers were given their winged skulls patches at the party, announcing full membership into the motorcycle club, which now has 467 charters in 58 countries.

The addition of the new Maritime charter comes as Quebec Hells Angels have re-rebounded on the streets in Quebec and Ontario after dozens of members were imprisoned in the early 2000's. Quebec police hit the club with a string of massive operations targeting drug trafficking and marijuana production in the 2000's that seriously hobbled the club.

In 2009, there were just eight members in good standing in Quebec on the streets and another four junior members, LaPresse newspaper reported. The rest of the club’s members were in prison, dead or fugitives.

At the start of 2000, the Hells Angels had 18 charters in Canada. The Woodbridge Hells Angels sponsored the Martimers for membership in the club, which now has 44 charters in Canada, including two in the Maritimes.

There are five charters in Quebec, 10 in B.C., 6 in Alberta, 2 each in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, 17 in Ontario and one in New Brunswick, according to the club’s website.

The Ontario charters are in Keswick, Kitchener, Oshawa, Simcoe County, Toronto, East Toronto, West Toronto, Windsor, Woodbridge, North Toronto, London, Hamilton, Niagara, Brantford, Thunder Bay, Brooklin and a chapter called the Nomads, based near Ottawa.

Prince Edward Island bikers began wearing patches with “Woodbridge” on them two years ago, announcing their connection to the Ontario bikers.

At that point, they were considered a “hangaround” charter but they have now grown into a full charter of the international club. Only bikers who have been voted into the club are allowed to wear the club’s distinctive wings skull patch. The Hells Angels were driven out of the Maritimes in 2001, when police shut down the Halifax charter.

During that police operation, four of the club’s seven Halifax members went to prison and authorities seized the clubhouse. The Woodbridge charter of the Hells Angels played host last month to more that 350 bikers from across Canada and at least one from the Dominican Republic at the funeral of murdered Mississauga Hells Angel Michael (Diaz) Deabaitua-Schulde.

Deabaitua-Schulde was shot dead shortly before noon on March 11, 2019, outside a gym in Mississauga. Three Montreal men have been charged with first-degree murder for Deabaitua-Schulde’s death and another Montreal man has been charged with complicity after the fact.

SOURCE: The Star

Friday, April 26, 2019

Hells Angels funeral in Bonn

Bonn, Germany (April 26, 2019) BTN — At the North Cemetery in Bonn, around 300 members of the Hells Angels have gathered to bury a man from their own ranks. About 70 came on motorcycles, the police shows presence around the cemetery.

The memorial service lasted for about an hour on a grassy area outside the cemetery. Two daughters of the deceased held funeral speeches in front of the assembled rockers and emphasized that their father had not been "a criminal" or "thug", but had spent his entire life doing honest work. At 4 pm the Hells Angels started their journey home in small groups. According to police, there were no incidents.

The late 58-year-old was a full member of the Hells Angels, confirmed Frank Hanebuth, longtime boss of the Hanoverian charter of Rockergang General-Anzeiger. "He has been with us for about two years," says Hanebuth. "A reliable man with experience in the security industry." The dead man comes from the Bonn region; his family chose the Nordfriedhof for the urn burial.

There were mourners from all over Germany, some from the Netherlands and Great Britain. What the rocker has died, according to Hanebuth seems to be unclear. The results of the autopsy are still pending, said the Hells Angels president.

In Spain, Hanebuth and 45 others are charged with forming a criminal organization allegedly active in Mallorca. The rocker boss himself sat on the holiday island long in custody and is released after media reports on bail. According to charges, he faces 13 years imprisonment and a fine of 4.2 million euros.

The prosecutor Hanover is currently investigating on suspicion that Hanebuth in the spring of 2018 had been involved in a protection racket in Langenhagen. The victim was said to have been a workshop owner. Hanebuth denies the allegations.

SOURCE: Express

Sons of Silence MC members facing charges

Williston, North Dakota, USA (April 26, 2019) BTN — Two members of the Sons of Silence Motorcycle Club are accused of conspiring to commit an assault in late March. Michael Jon McCreary, 52, was charged Wednesday, April 24, with aggravated assault and conspiracy to commit aggravated assault, both class C felonies. Earl Benjamin Brewer, 49, was charged Thursday with conspiracy to commit aggravated assault, a class C felony.

Police say that Brewer paid McCreary $2,000 to attack one of Brewer’s former co-workers.

Officers were called to the 900 block of Energy Street on the morning of March 28 and found a man with a bleeding cut on his head, according to an affidavit of probable cause filed in Northwest District Court. The man told police that at around 7 a.m. that day, he’d heard a knock on his door and saw someone outside he didn’t recognize, so he didn’t answer the door.

He said about two hours later, the same man knocked again, but he still didn’t answer, court records indicate. He saw the man, later identified as McCreary, get into a silver Ford F-150 pickup. Around 9:30 a.m., the man got in his own pickup truck to leave, but when he put it in gear, he heard a loud noise, charging documents state.

He saw the lugnuts had been removed from the front passenger-side wheel, causing the wheel to fall off.

The man told police that he saw McCreary in the same silver F-150 from earlier in the morning parked about 100 yards away and started to walk toward him. McCreary introduced himself as “John Bishop” and the two shook hands, investigators wrote in the probable cause affidavit.

When the man turned around, McCreary hit him in the head with a large wrench, court documents said. The man threw his phone and headphones at McCreary, and McCreary drew a large knife and started to chase him. McCreary shouted “That’s what you get for trying to snitch on work!” as the man ran away, police said. The man told officers he believed the assault was related to a previous job, and that some of his coworkers from that job were associated with the Sons of Silence Motorcycle Club.

A witness saw the assault, police wrote in the charging documents, and a witness also told officers that Brewer paid McCreary $2,000 to make sure the man McCreary assaulted “did not make it to work.” Police were able to review text messages between McCreary and Brewer, who recently became associated with the Sons of Silence, court records state. Brewer is a former coworker of the man who was attacked.

The two charges are the second time this month McCreary has been accused of an assault related to the Sons of Silence. On April 12, he was charged with a class C felony count of aggravated assault after an incident on April 6 at the Grand Williston Hotel.

A man at the hotel told police he’d been working as a security guard when there was a private party that included members of the club. He said he saw McCreary hit another person on the head and stepped in to stop the situation from escalation, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

McCreary, who was wearing a vest with “Sons of Silence” on it, pushed him, and a group of other men in similar vests surrounded him, court records said. The group told him to “Stay out of club business,” the man told investigators. The man said he fell and then McCreary hit him on the head with a foot-long metal flashlight, charging documents indicate.

At a bond hearing Wednesday, Eric Lundberg, assistant state’s attorney for Williams County, said McCreary was accused of committing three assaults on three different people in less than a month. McCreary was charged with a class B misdemeanor count of simple assault on Tuesday, April 23. “The state is very concerned about the danger to the community,” Lundberg said.

Jeremy Curran, McCreary’s defense attorney, said his client had a limited criminal history and had never failed to appear for court. He said McCreary had ties to the community and lived with his wife of 25 years. Northwest District Judge Josh Rustad set McCreary’s bond at $15,000 for both cases. A bond hearing for Brewer had not been scheduled as of Thursday afternoon.

SOURCE: Williston Herald

Fight breaks out during Bike Night

O'Fallon, Illinois, USA (April 26, 2019) BTN — Members of two motorcycle clubs got into a fight Thursday night at the Green Mount Road Harley Davidson dealership.

Around 6 p.m., police were called to a fight in progress at the business in the 1500 block of Green Mount Road, a news release from Capt. James Cavins stated. The dealership was hosting a Bike Night event.

When police arrived, the fighting had stopped, according to the release. It was determined that approximately 5 to 10 members of two motorcycle clubs, the Hells Angels and the Outlaws, and associates of both clubs, were involved in a physical fight.

According to the release, no injuries were reported and all parties refused medical treatment. The event was shut down for safety reasons, and there were no further incidents.


Thursday, April 25, 2019

Grim Reapers MC members fight off attacker

Evansville, Indiana, USA (April 25, 2019) BTN — A man that opened fire at the Grim Reapers MC clubhouse was sent to the hospital after the members fought him off with pool sticks. Evansville Police were called to the motorcycle club on Wednesday evening in the 1100 block of Diamond Avenue.

Cale Winternheimer, 47, reportedly drove a truck into the club’s building and came out with a gun. City police say he went into the club and began firing. The suspect is out of the hospital and now in jail.

“He had brought with him a five gallon gas can, he attempted on more than one occasion to light that on fire in front of the building,” Evansville Police Department Sgt. Jason Cullum said.

Police said after Winternheimer drove the truck into the building he tried to get away, the Grim Reapers stopped him with both gunfire and force.

“At that point several members that were inside the club came out, they discharged firearms, due to the suspects behavior that he tried to set their building on fire and was now ramming it with his truck,” explains Sgt. Cullum.

Police say no one was hit by those gunshots. Winternheimer was taken to the hospital after he was physically assaulted by pool sticks, fists and feet.

One woman who owns a business next door said she’s never had an issue like this with the club before.

“If I need something I went down and talked to them if someones harassing me a few times, they went down and took care of it,” said Patti Hurley.

At this time police don't know why Winternheimer did that.

He is facing several charges including arson and criminal recklessness while armed with a deadly weapon.

SOURCE: Tri State

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Hells Angels MC clubhouse to remain closed

Haarlem, Amsterdam (April 24, 2019) BTN — The mayor of Haarlem has closed the clubhouse of the Haarlem Hells Angels motorcycle club and has determined that it must remain closed for at least two years. The Council of State states that on Wednesday.

The Council of State is the highest administrative body for administrative law in the Netherlands.

This means that the mayor will not have to process another request for the reopening of the clubhouse located behind Central Station until next year. The Council of State is of the opinion that the mayor has sufficiently demonstrated that ninety motorcycle club members have committed crimes in the clubhouse in the past. The members were sentenced for this with penalties ranging from one to nine years.

Related | Hells Angels want clubhouse back

If the motorcycle club submits a request for reopening in early 2020, it must unambiguously demonstrate that no offenses will be committed in the clubhouse. The ruling is a damper for the Hells Angels. Earlier they successfully opposed the closure of the clubhouse for an indefinite period. The mayor then decided in early 2018 that the building would be locked for at least two years.

The motorcycle club previously wanted to request a reopening. According to the members, there is no longer any chance of criminal activities in the clubhouse. In addition, they believe that the mayor, by not taking a reopening request into consideration, affects the right to association.

The Council of State sees it differently and supports the line of the mayor.


Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Alleged Outlaws MC member jailed for battery

Ocala, Florida, USA (April 23, 2019) BTN — Marion County sheriff’s deputies scrambled to Sharkey’s Bar, located at 10163 SW Hwy. 484, shortly before 3:30 a.m. When they arrived, they found a man who had been shot in his right arm. He was then transported to AdventHealth Ocala for treatment.

A witness told deputies that 28-year-old Robert Patrick Wilson had been in an altercation with the shooting victim. The witness said he tried to break up the fight and the victim exited the bar and started walking toward his vehicle. He said he then heard two shots come from behind him in front of the bar and he took cover behind a vehicle, the report says, adding that the witness said he planned to sneak up behind Wilson and take the gun away.

Another witness told deputies that he’d known Wilson for some time and had “never seen him act like this.” He said he had been talking with him earlier in the evening and after last call, an altercation broke out between Wilson and another man. He said he wasn’t sure what that altercation was about but believed a second altercation then broke out between Wilson and the shooting victim, the report says.

The witness said that Wilson was “freaking out” and allegedly saying, “I am part of the Outlaw gang” and “He is going to be dead in the parking lot.” He said Wilson said, “He’s a dead man” multiple times. And the witness said he tried to call Wilson down several times before the shooting took place, the report says.

The witness said he believed Wilson eventually had calmed down, so he went outside to speak with the victim, who was standing across the parking lot next to his vehicle. He said he then heard a gunshot and turned to see Wilson standing in front of the bar holding a gun, the report says.

The witness reported hearing two shots altogether and then called 911. And he said he saw a bartender and another bar employee surround Wilson and take him to the other side of the building.

Deputies also spoke with a bartender, who said she came out of a bathroom and saw Wilson holding a small handgun. She said he was waving it around and appeared to have the slide in the locked-back position. And she said she followed Wilson as he ran to the other side of the bar to make sure he didn’t leave, the report says.

After two other witnesses told the same account of the shooting, a sheriff’s K-9 deputy responded to the bar and his dog located a black-and-silver SCCY 9mm handgun near where Wilson had been detained. It had three rounds in the magazine, one round in the chamber and was jammed with the slide locked in the back position, the report says.

During the investigation, it was determined that Wilson, who was wearing an Outlaws motorcycle club vest, is a convicted felon and didn’t have a concealed weapons permit. He appeared to be intoxicated, was slurring his words and smelled of alcohol. And after being read his rights, he refused to speak with the deputy, the report says.

Wilson was transported to the Marion County Jail and charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon or firearm, using a firearm under the influence of alcohol, firing a weapon in public, possession of a weapon or ammunition by a convicted United States felon, displaying a firearm during a felony and carrying an unlicensed concealed firearm. He is due in a Marion County courtroom on May 21 at 9 a.m. to answer to the six charges.

SOURCE: Ocala-News

Monday, April 22, 2019

Pagan's MC clubhouse raided

Everett, MA, USA (April 22, 2019) BTN — A nighttime raid on the Pagan's Motorcycle Club in Everett ended with three men arrested — and two arraigned Monday on weapons charges, according to authorities.

A tactical squad of state troopers burst into a suspected Pagan's Motorcycle Clubhouse on Orient Avenue in Everett around 10:15 p.m. Friday, according to Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan’s office.

As the staties — including the State Police Special Tactical Operations Team — entered, they identified about a dozen Pagan's Motorcycle Club members wearing their club affiliation patches and other insignia, as well as several other people hanging out there, the DA said.

Cops say a search of the building turned up an illegal cash bar — and four illegally possessed semi-automatic handguns with loaded magazines, as well as another magazine containing ammunition.

The state police arrested James Snow, 28, of Tewksbury, who was arraigned Monday on two counts of illegal possession of a firearm, illegal possession of a large-capacity feeding device and two counts each of illegal possession of ammunition and improper storage of a firearm. Judge Jane D. Prince set bail at $1,000 — and then ordered bail revoked on an open firearms case out of Lowell District Court, so Snow remains behind bars, according to Ryan’s office.

Jeff Wentworth, 47, of Gilmanton Iron Works, New Hampshire, also was arrested and was arraigned Monday on charges of illegal possession of a firearm, illegal possession of ammunition and improper storage of a firearm. Prince ordered the defendant released on $500 bail.

Wentworth and Snow are due back in court on May 21.

The cops also arrested Marcus Basiliere, 26, of Derry, N.H., on an open larceny warrant from the Granite state for larceny. Basiliere was arraigned in Malden District Court as a fugitive from justice. The judge ordered him held without bail pending extradition to his home state. His next court date is May 1.

The Pagan's Motorcycle Club — also known as PMC or simply the Pagan's — is an East Coast motorcycle club that’s been around since 1959, according to various media reports, which have cited cops as saying that the club can be violent. The investigation remains ongoing.


Gary Gauger: Investigating innocence claims

McHenry County, Illinois, USA (April 22, 2019) BTN — Gary Gauger awoke early the morning of April 8, 1993, to a heavy rainfall beating on the windows of his Richmond home, dampening his plans to transplant seedlings on the family farm.

While Gauger went back to sleep, two members of the Outlaws motorcycle club made their way to the motorcycle repair shop that Gauger’s father operated in a garage near the farm. Although Outlaws members James Schneider and Randall Miller were responsible for robbing and murdering Ruth and Morrie Gauger that day, it would take law enforcement three years to come to that conclusion.

In the meantime, Gary Gauger was pinned for his parents’ murders and sentenced to death by lethal injection. After serving 3½ years in prison and nine months on death row, his conviction was overturned in 1996.

Exonerated McHenry County men weigh in on proposed legislation

Gauger was aided in his appeal process by Northwestern University Law Professor Lawrence Marshall, who founded the Center on Wrongful Convictions. “The police get a theory on what happened and they don’t seem to care if it doesn’t match the facts,” Gauger said. “They just work on their theory.”

Illinois Innocence Project co-founder Bill Clutter asked Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul last week to support legislation that would create a “conviction integrity unit” to investigate innocence claims. A statewide unit in Illinois would benefit counties that don’t have the funds to implement their own conviction review boards, or simply don’t see enough claims of actual innocence to justify an integrity unit, Clutter said.

Today Gauger, 65, lives on a farm just yards away from the site of his parents’ murder. He leads a quiet, secluded life with his wife, Sue Reckenthaler, and their dog, Diego. “This is my home,” Gauger said Wednesday. “I’m not going to let those guys run me out of my home.”

Gauger’s case is one of two in McHenry County in which perjury or false accusations, official misconduct, and false confessions have led to convictions and subsequent exonerations since 1989, according to the National Registry of Exonerations. 

Mario Casciaro was convicted in March 2013 of killing Johnsburg teen Brian Carrick. He served 22 months in the Menard Correctional Center on a 26-year sentence before the Second District Appellate Court overturned his conviction in September 2015. 

Although he doesn’t feel McHenry County is “progressive enough” for its own integrity unit, the area would benefit from a statewide effort, he said. “McHenry County specifically is probably a little bit too small right now, but in the future, if there’s continued growth in the population, I imagine there should be an independent conviction investigation unit,” Casciaro said.

Illinois has a history of wrongful convictions. Former Gov. George Ryan labeled the state’s system of capital punishment “haunted by the demon of error” when he halted executions in 2000. 

By the time Illinois abolished the Death Penalty in 2011, wrongful death sentences imposed on 20 people had been reversed, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. 

The Illinois Second District Appellate Court, which includes McHenry County, saw 445 criminal appeals in 2017, according to the Administrative Office of Illinois Courts. Of those, 393 cases were disposed. 

In Cook County, where former state’s attorney Anita Alvarez created a Chicago-based conviction integrity unit in 2012, the office receives about 150 applications annually from those convicted of felonies, but many do not meet criteria for review, spokeswoman Tandra Simonton said. 

Seventy convictions have been reversed since 2017, Simonton said. 

A similar system in Lake County successfully helped exonerate Jason Strong, a man previously convicted of killing Carpentersville resident Mary Kate Sunderlin. “I thought, ‘Man what’s going on?’ This doesn’t happen,” Strong said. “This is like what happens only in the movies.”

For a case to be considered by Lake County’s panel, the defendant’s claim must contain new evidence that was not known at the time of trial, previously untested evidence, or some other affirmation of innocence. Strong is a proponent for the conviction integrity panel that helped exonerate him, and attributes its success to objective thinking within the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office. 

“I admire that, and I think that if you have that kind of quality in a prosecutor then you’re going to get a better integrity unit,” Strong said. Both Gauger and Casciaro generally are proponents for conviction integrity units. Gauger’s experience, however, has left him with doubts about whether McHenry County could handle a unit of its own. “How do you get politics out of McHenry County?” Gauger said. “It’s difficult.”

Casciaro has also been critical of how McHenry County prosecutors handled his case, going as far as to call State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally “delusional.” Kenneally has stood by his office’s handling of the case, and said he’s a proponent of taking every reasonable step to prevent wrongful convictions. The state’s attorney is reserving judgment on the idea of a statewide conviction integrity, however, until he can review an actual Attorney General Office’s policy.

In an email Tuesday, Kenneally cited an analysis by University of Utah law professor Paul Cassell to emphasize his belief that people often overlook the context surrounding wrongful convictions. Cassell estimated the wrongful conviction rate in the U.S. to be between 0.016% and 0.062%, Kenneally said.

“In other words, the criminal justice system gets it right in more than 99.9% of the cases,” he said. “In a system where, in keeping with basic democratic rights, the fundamental decision-makers are ordinary, everyday and imperfect human beings, this is incredibly good.” 

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Motorcycle Club agrees on right to choose

Brighton, Michigan, USA (April 20, 2019) BTN — It's been seven years since the universal motorcycle helmet law was repealed in Michigan and the debate between whether riders should wear a helmet or have the choice to wear a helmet is still going strong.

Channel 6 News got the chance to go to the Forbidden Wheels Motorcycle Clubhouse in Brighton. One member named Jerry Jaskloski, also known as 'Jitterbug' has been riding since he was 16 years old and rode for only three years with no helmet law. "Just about turning nineteen the helmet law came on," said Jaskloski.

For most of his years riding, the law was in place, until April of 2012, when the law was repealed and riders had the choice to wear or not wear a helmet. Jaskloski says he was used to wearing his helmet when the law changed but over time, he slowly stopped wearing it. He added that when it hails, rains, etc., is usually the only time when he wears it.

Another rider, Russell Cockerham, says whether it's rain or shine, it's his decision to wear it or not wear it. "I was happy it got passed, not because I'm going to stop wearing my helmet, I'm happy I got my choice," said Cockerham.

According to study done by the Center for Management of Information for Safe and Sustainable Transportation, the percentage of riders who were wearing a helmet while involved in an accident dropped from 97.7 percent in 2011, to 68.8 percent in 2017. It also showed the the number of motorcycle accidents isn't increasing, but the number of fatal motorcycle accidents are.

The study also compared the number of accidents before and after the law was modified and how many of those were fatal.

Channel 6 News took the topic to our WLNS Facebook page where we asked people to vote whether they think riders should always wear a helmet or it should be the riders choice. After the poll was closed, 66 percent of people voted that motorcyclists should always wear a helmet and 34 percent voted that it should be the motorcyclists choice.


Cops go after Rebels MC President

Sydney, Australia (April 20, 2019) BTN — The cops are seeking a court order that will ban Rebels Motorcycle Club National President Damian "Big D" Vella from associating with his mates for two years, by using the state’s tough anti-bikie laws.

The NSW Police have applied to the NSW Supreme Court for an order under 2016 laws that aim to make life so hard for bikies that they give up being bikies.

If the cops are successful, Big D won’t be able to approach any member, former member, associate, hang around, nominee or prospect of an Motorcycle Club. He also won’t be allowed to travel in “any vehicle” between the hours of 9 pm and 6 am except “in the case of a genuine medical emergency”.

The police also want him banned from any location vaguely connected to any motorcycle club, and the police want him banned from using any encrypted communication device, including apps like Whatsapp, or even owning more than one phone.

Vella became the Rebels national president after his uncle, Alex Vella, was stranded in Malta when Australian authorities cancelled his visa. The case will return to court on August 1.

SOURCE: The Daily Telegraph

Gypsy Joker MC members stopped at airport

Perth, Australia (April 20, 2019) BTN — Five international motorcycle club members including three Gypsy Jokers and two associates of the club have been banned from entering the country after being stopped at Perth Airport.

The men all arrived in Perth in the past week to attend an event being held on Saturday night to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the motorcycle club.

Baggage search bench at Perth Airport

But the Australian Border Force (ABF) said they were all stopped and questioned before having their visas cancelled because "they presented a risk to the health, safety or good order of the Australian community, or a segment of the community".

The men included two Germans, aged 33 and 61, a 34-year-old Norwegian and two Spaniards aged 43 and 44. The ABF said the German pair, both members of the Gypsy Jokers, arrived in Perth on a flight from Hong Kong on Monday night.

The Spanish men, both club associates, also arrived on Monday on a flight from Dubai. The Norwegian member of the Gypsy Jokers arrived on a flight from Singapore on Wednesday. The ABF said the men were held at the Perth immigration detention centre before being sent home.

ABF regional commander for WA Rod O'Donnell said they were focussed on disrupting the activities of outlaw motorcycle gangs.

"These gangs pose a significant threat to our community and are known to be involved in serious criminal activity including drug trafficking and violent crime," he said. "Any non-citizen involved with a criminal organisation, including outlaw motorcycle gangs, can expect to have their Australian visa cancelled on arrival and be removed from the country."

The event to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Gypsy Jokers, at the motorcycle club's Maddington clubhouse in Perth's south-eastern suburbs, is expected to be watched closely by police.


Friday, April 19, 2019

Outlaws MC member killed in accident

Tampa, Florida (April 19, 2019) BTN —  Sunday night, a car turned into the path of motorcyclist Mike Tapp on Dale Mabry Highway. To avoid a collision, the biker braked hard and lost control, throwing him and his passenger to the pavement.

The biker died and the passenger, his longtime girlfriend, was seriously injured. The driver of the car didn't stop and the Florida Highway Patrol is looking for the person who was behind the wheel.

Mike Tapp, Boston Mike to his friends, hugs friend Gina Henry in December after buying the 2016 Harley Davidson Street Glide at left. Tapp, 49, was killed Sunday when a driver turned into his path while he was riding on Dale Mabry Highway. [Courtesy of Andrew Mora]

It's the kind of crash that would have angered Mike Tapp and spurred him to action.

A friend of the couple, Andrew Mora, is now offering a $2,000 reward for information leading to the identification of the driver. If Tapp were around, his friends say, he would light up Facebook with the reward offer, determined to do his part for members of his biker family. But the 49-year-old Tampa father was the motorcyclist killed in the crash, and his longtime partner, 46-year-old Kymberle Meade, is still in the hospital.

"He really was a pillar," said Mora, owner of Moramoto, the motorcycle dealership where Tapp bought the 2016 Harley-Davidson Street Glide he was riding Sunday. "If someone were in need, he would be the first to help."

Known as Boston Mike for his native city, Tapp had lived in Florida for many years. He and Meade had been together nearly three decades and had children together.

Tapp was a proud member of the American Outlaw Association, one of the biggest motorcycle clubs in the country, his friends said. Law enforcement considers the Outlaws a criminal gang, but Tapp was far from a menace to society, Mora said. For Tapp, the club was about camaraderie centered on a shared passion for riding.

When a friend needed a hand, Tapp would help spread the word, taking to Facebook and banging out public posts in all capital letters. Most days, he'd wake up early and send friends messages with irreverent memes and the latest news in the biker scene.

"He was the one of the funniest, most humble guys I've ever met," Mora said.

Tapp had worked a variety of jobs over the years, from fueling planes at a local airport to manning phones at corporate call centers, said friend Morley Henry, 35. Tapp and Meade often hosted cookouts where Tapp served up his signature chicken marsala.

"He was that personality who walks into a room and everything lights up," said Henry, a motorcycle technician at Moramoto. "It didn't matter was mood you were in, put a smile on your face. He went out of his way to make everybody happy."

In December, Tapp traded in his old Street Glide with 90,000 miles on the odometer and bought a 2016 model, Mora said. Within a couple of months, he put about 10,000 miles on that bike.

On the night of the crash, Tapp and Meade were riding north on Dale Mabry when the driver of a small, light-colored sedan heading south turned across their path to head east on West Idlewild Avenue, just north of Bill Currie Ford, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. Troopers released footage of the crash caught by a surveillance camera at the Volvo dealership across Dale Mabry, but the camera is too far way to determine the make and model of the car.

"You can see clearly the action of that car caused the crash even though they didn't collide," said Sgt. Steve Gaskins, a spokesman for the Highway Patrol.

It's unclear what, if anything, the driver would be charged with if identified, however. Troopers would have to confer with the Hillsborough State Attorney's Office, Gaskins said.

Mora said the driver should come forward. Otherwise, he's hoping his reward will provide an incentive to someone who knows something.

"We'll never have closure," Mora said, "so the only thing we can possibly have is justice."

SOURCE: Tampa Bay Times

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Cop arrested in drug bust granted parole

Repentigny, Quebec (April 18, 2019) BTN – A police officer who was arrested along with dozens of people rounded up following a major drug trafficking investigation into the Hells Angels has been granted parole on the 18-month sentence he received in January.

Carl Ranger, a member of the Repentigny police when he was arrested in Project Objection last year, quit the police force shortly after he was charged. He admitted that in 2017 he approached an undercover agent who was involved in Project Objection and asked him for a $6,000 loan, and then broke the law to get it.

The undercover agent said he would agree to the loan if Ranger did a few favours for him. The first was to research a license plate in a police database for the undercover agent, who was posing as a criminal. After carrying out that task, Ranger agreed to transport 10,000 meth pills to a drug dealer and returned with $10,000 for the undercover agent.

When Ranger pleaded guilty in October, no evidence presented in court suggested that what he agreed to had anything to do with the Hells Angels. Several full-patch members of the motorcycle club have been arrested since April last year, when the first series of arrests were carried out. Some have since pleaded guilty to running drug trafficking networks in different parts of the province.

According to a written copy of the decision made by the Commission québécoise des libérations conditionnelles on Monday, Ranger said his career as a police officer spiralled after he discovered the body of a woman who had been murdered in 2008. He said he slipped into a depression following the gruesome discovery and he received minimal support from the police force. He said he drank more and fell into financial trouble after he took a leave of absence to deal with his depression.

Ranger was eligible for parole after having served one-sixth of his sentence.

This story will be updated.
SOURCE: Montreal Gazette

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

The Hells Angels have left the building

New York, NY (April 16, 2019) BTN — Since 1968, 77 East Third Street in Manhattan's East Village housed the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club's New York City clubhouse and apartments for some of its members. But the building was recently sold and the Angels have purchased new digs, a former church on Long Island.

The New Yorker's Sarah Larson stopped by on moving day and wrote the article below.

On a drizzly Sunday at the end of March, a white-and-yellow moving van occupied a space in front of 77 East Third Street that had long been reserved—and carefully delineated with traffic cones—for gleaming Harley-Davidson choppers. From August, 1969, until that day, the six-story lightly gargoyled Renaissance Revival apartment building with a first-floor brick façade was the New York City headquarters of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club. Its distinctive front door, between two Doric columns painted with sevens, depicted a motorcycle-helmeted skeleton gleefully wielding a pitchfork atop a bed of flaming skulls.

Related | Hells Angels might sell their 3rd Street clubhouse 

A plaque read “in memory of big vinny 1948-1979: ‘when in doubt, knock ’em out.’ ” That day, the Post’s front-page headline was “hell freezes over: yuppies bounce snowflake bikers out of east village.” After fifty years, the Hells Angels were moving out.

Hells Angels near their New York clubhouse on East Third Street between First and Second Avenue in March 1971.

The building had functioned as both clubhouse and Angels-only apartment complex. Its buyer, Nathan Blatter, of Whitestone Realty Group, has been approached by someone who wants to open a Hells Angels museum there, but he is not interested. “It’s going to be a regular apartment building,” he said. That day, several brawny men in vests that said “prospect”—a club membership level between “hang-around” and “full patch”—did the heavy lifting from No. 77 to the van: a metal shelving unit, shipping containers, a stray broom. The club had been moving out piecemeal. Its infamous park-style sidewalk bench, tempting to look at but dangerous for civilians to sit on, was gone.

Earlier in the month, a student from the Conservatory of Dramatic Arts, next door, saw members moving boxes out of the basement; another neighbor reported seeing the emergence of “motorcycle stuff and other unmentionable paraphernalia.” He warned an onlooker to stay away. “It’s like a skunk—you touch it and you start to stink,” he said, and hurried off. Other neighbors, though wary of being identified, were more wistful. At a dive bar, two veterans of the eighties post-punk scene—call them Nancy and Janet—reminisced over a glass of house red, with ice cubes.

“I’m going to miss the sound of their motorcycles,” Janet said. She moved to the East Village in 1980. “They’d have big Fourth of July parties. We’d go up to my roof and the fireworks would come right up to your face.” The Angels launched their fireworks from metal garbage cans. (A local illustrator described this as “absolutely terrifying.”) “The parties used to be great,” Nancy said. “Until the explosion.” In 1990, a garbage-can firecracker killed a fourteen-year-old boy.

Over the years, the East Village Angels both caused and prevented mayhem. In 1994, the Times characterized this mayhem, part “lore and part police reports,” as “countless decibel-cranking parties, LSD-laced misadventures, drug deals, orgies and random acts of violence against passers-by.” In recent years, parking-space tussles resulted in beatings and a shooting; a woman who pounded on the door, screaming, was badly beaten.

In 1978, the chapter president, Vincent (Big Vinny) Girolamo, of plaque fame, allegedly pushed his girlfriend off the roof, to her death. (He died, of stab wounds, before he could stand trial.) Innumerable bad vibes were doled out after unwanted bench-sitting, dog-peeing, and photography incidents. But, from the scuzz era to the N.Y.U.-and-condos era, club members also defended their neighbors; the Angels’ block was considered the safest around.

“I haven’t heard anybody say ‘Good riddance,’ ” Janet said.

“I’ll miss the way they decorated at Christmas,” Nancy said. “They used to break people’s cameras,” Janet said. In the Instagram age, unwanted photography had skyrocketed.

The group is aggressively private. Only members were allowed inside the clubhouse—but Janet, decades ago, was invited in after a peppery conversation with an Angel. “I was scared shitless and trying to be tough,” she said. The interior, she recalled, “was like a suburban house”—couches and so on. “The women were cleaning and the men were partying.

Where were the Angels going? “I don’t know yet,” a prospect said. “Goin’ somewhere!” Would they miss the East Village? A wary, noncommittal nod. When the van was almost full, the Angels packed one final item: a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, eased onto a truck lift, raised up, and strapped in. A ponytailed Angel picked up a little girl, hoisted her onto his shoulders in front of the Big Vinny sign, and, smiling, posed for a picture. After some inter-Angel hugs and back pats, the men drove away. By the next afternoon, the plaques, signs, and flaming skulls were gone. ♦

SOURCE: The New Yorker

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Freeway Rider's MC free to fly colors

Hagen, Germany (April 14, 2019) BTN – Ministry of Interior sees no handle: Why the motorcycle club Freeway Rider's in Hagen may continue to show their colors, while the motorcycle club Bandidos may not.

Will this step generally lead to de-escalation? Probably at the end of this week, the first trial in the Hagener Rocker war with the confession of a Hagener Bandidos will come to an end. The 31-year-old will then admit that he has shot on the Saarlandstraße on a car in which sat members of the enemy Freeway Riders - and then probably go for about three and a half years in custody.

Displeasure at Bandidos peak

As can be heard from the environment of the Bandidos, the disputes with the Freeway Riders in Hagen with several sometimes bloody acts in public at the leading forces of the rocker grouping in Germany caused displeasure. Accordingly, it is likely for the Hagener Bandidos who try to gain a foothold here since 2016, give little support for further clashes. The official Bandidos spokesman left a request from the WP unanswered.

Nevertheless: The Hagen investigators remain vigilant and want to continue consistently. They are pleased that there have been no serious clashes since the arrests and raids in the fall and winter against Bandidos and Freeway Riders. The self-proclaimed dissolution of the Hagener Bandidos-Chapters , however, is considered more tactical feint.

In the Federal Constitutional Court And indeed, both groups remain present in the cityscape. The bandidos, however, not with the actual club emblem, the shooting Mexican, but with the letters "BMC". Why are not they allowed to show their club signs, but the freeway riders already ? "That's because the Freeway Riders has not yet banned a chapter based on club law," says Wolfgang Beus, spokesman for the NRW Interior Ministry.

This was the case with the Bandidos: in Aachen. "And according to the law, showing the symbols for all chapters is forbidden if one is forbidden," said Beus. The Bochum lawyer Reinhard Peters, who also represents the Bandido in the district court Hagen in the current process, considers this legally untenable. He moved to the Federal Constitutional Court for a client: "Our constitutional complaint has also been accepted unusually quickly for consultation. I expect a decision later this year. "

SOURCE: West Falen Post

Hells Angels MC lay a brother to rest

Prince Edward Island, Canada (April 14, 2019) BTN – Island RCMP and Charlottetown police are on high alert this weekend with Hells Angels members from across the country in P.E.I.

There was a heavy presence of Hells Angels members, as well as several other motorcycle clubs, at a “celebration of life” for fisherman Ian Roulston Kennedy in Three Rivers Saturday.

Kennedy was a full-patch member of the Hells Angels.

Cpl. Andy Cook, the RCMP’s provincial motorcycle club coordinator, said law enforcement stayed close to the funeral for public safety reasons. “The funeral was for a member of the Hells Angels and we’re there for public safety and also for intelligence gathering to do with a large number of Hells Angels who were here in the province,” he said.

Cook said RCMP estimates there were 75 Hells Angels on the Island in total, from every province in Canada. He said due to the history of some Hells Angels members, a law enforcement presence is necessary anytime the club meets in P.E.I.

“As much as I’m sure the Hells Angels didn’t want to see us around, we’re here to protect the public and when they come into a community, because of their reputation, because of their history, they make that place unsafe and we’re not going to let that happen here,” he said. “So they can expect to see us each and every time they come here.”

Cook said there was an incident at a bar in downtown Charlottetown Friday night. “Information was provided to me that someone did get punched by a Hells Angels member last night so certainly we’re worried about the violence,” he said, adding that club members typically do not stay in P.E.I. for long periods of time. “We don’t expect them to be here beyond the weekend.”

RCMP were unable to say whether Kennedy became a full-patch member of the club prior to his death, or posthumously. However, his love for motorcycles and the club was clear during the funeral, which was livestreamed on the Ferguson Logan Montague Funeral Home website.

During a eulogy, Mark Gauthier of Vicious Cycle Motorcycle Club, said Kennedy “completed the program of the biggest motorcycle club in the world, earning his spot amongst them all the while never complaining or expecting any special treatment because of his health.” “He wanted to earn his spot just the same as the guy beside him and that’s exactly what he did."

Gauthier described Kennedy as an adventurous man who fished through chemotherapy and whose memory will live on in the hearts of those he knew. “When we ride, Ian rides,” he said. “When we’re on the water, Ian is on the water.”

SOURCE: The Guardian 

Friday, April 12, 2019

Victim's mother reacts to murder conviction

Edwardsville, Georgia, USA (April 12, 2019) BTN – Former Alton resident Brandon Chittum may spend the rest of his life in prison after a jury found him guilty of first-degree murder, but the victim’s mother has an additional punishment in mind.

“He will burn in hell,” said Elizabeth Kovach, the murder of victim Courtney Coats after the hearing. “It’s been a very long time, too long; I’m so happy he was convicted on all three counts.”

Chittum, 35, a former member of the Alton Outlaws motorcycle club, was found guilty Monday of dismembering a human body and concealment of a homicidal death, in addition to the murder charge. State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons said his office, including assistant state’s attorneys Crystal Uhe and Lauren Heischmidt have been fighting for the victim and her family.

Related | Grisly allegations open Chittum trial 

“After five long years fighting to get this case to trial, it is a great relief to know the remaining half of this murderous duo has finally been held fully accountable for this most gruesome crimes against this innocent young woman. This case is a most terrible example of the real-life destruction caused by an alcohol and methamphetamine-fueled life of violence.

He was charged after the Nov. 23, 2013, murder of Coats.

Her boyfriend, Patrick Chase, then violently choked her to unconsciousness, then slit her throat. Chase and Chittum, on a 12-hour bender of liquor and methamphetamine, then dismembered her remains, put them in trash bags and dumped the bags in the Illinois River near Hardin. The bags were found along the store in Greene County.

Chittum, who was charged on Dec. 20, 2013, finally faced trial after five years’ delay caused by an appeal, multiple defense continuances and changing of defense attorneys.

Police investigated the case for 27 days as a missing person. Chase eventually confessed and lead authorities to the spot at which the body was found.

In prison, Chase radically changed his appearance and testified in Court that Chittum was sleeping the entire time he, Chase, was choking, cutting and dismembering the victim.

Assistant State’s Attorney Crystal Uhe argued it is unlikely a man could sleep through such a horrific event. She also noted that Chase’s room mate, Brian Northcutt, was advised to leave the apartment, then returned to find Chittum awake, not wearing a shirt. The water was running in the bathroom, and Chittum told Northcutt to leave again.

“There are things going on here you don’t need to know about,” Chittum said, according to Northcutt’s testimony.

During his testimony, Chase was asked why Thursday was the first time he mentioned to Uhe that Chittum was not involved in the killing. “It slipped my mind,” Chase said.He admitted Chittum drove the body to the Joe Page Bridge, where it was dumped.

He claimed he liked when he detailed in a police interview the way Chittum “coached” him through the death process. Defense attorney Evelyn Lewis suggested the jury may find her client of concealment, which carries a much lighter sentence that murder or dismembering a human body.

She said the idea that the member wanted to “put her out of her misery” amounts to a “mercy killing,” which she termed “a crazy story.”

“Courtney’s death took a terrible toll on so many people around her and, indeed, on our entire community,” Gibbons said Monday in a press release. “I pray this verdict will grant some peace to everyone who knew and loved her and to the Citizens of Madison County.

We can all sleep much safer knowing he will never walk the streets of our community again.”

The murder charge carries a sentenced of between 20 and 60 years in prison. The dismembering charge carries a sentence of between six and 30 years in prison. He has a previous conviction for felony aggravated domestic battery and a misdemeanor conviction for battery and domestic battery.

SOURCE: The Neighbor

Hells Angels Motorcycle Club headed to Clemson

Clemson, South Carolina – (April 12, 2019) BTN – The Hells Angels Motorcycle Club is headed to Clemson. According to Clemson Police Chief Jimmy Dixon, around 750 members of the club will descend upon Tigertown as part of their annual summer rally.

Dixon said the Hells Angels were initially planning a visit back in 2017 but ultimately chose another city. Last November, he said he was contacted by the group about their upcoming summer plans. “They gave me an 11-month heads-up to start preparing for their being in Clemson” Dixon said. “These guys are not dumb. They know their reputation.”

Dixon stressed that his department has been in communication with other police and sheriff’s offices that have also had the group visit their towns and cities. He believes it’s in their best interest to work with the bikers, not against them.

“The last time I checked, this is America, and also the last time I checked we don’t have gates at each end and entrance to our city where our officers raise them up and let you come in and go,” Dixon said.

However, the U.S Deptartment of Justice says otherwise. According to its website, the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club is listed as an “outlaw motorcycle gang” and is involved in drugs and criminal activity.

The primary concern people in downtown Clemson had about the bikers coming to Tigertown dealt with parking. “Parking is a major problem in Clemson all the time, so this would definitely present a problem,” said downtown store worker Connie McKee. “I’m an open-minded person, and so I think everybody deserves a chance to come in and let us see. Let us experience what they’re like, and maybe we won’t want them to come back, maybe we would.”

WYFF News 4 conducted a Facebook poll to gauge community opinion on the matter. At the time this article was written, 2,500 people voted “let them come” while 380 voted “stay away.”


Cornwall police signs target motorcycle clubs

Cornwall, Ontario – (April 12, 2019) BTN – The Cornwall Police Service (CPS) is striving to reduce the presence of motorcycle clubs locally by launching a “No Gang Colours, No Gang Clothing” program.

“As Cornwall experiences an increased presence of outlaw motorcycle gangs, it is important to send a clear message that the city is not ‘open for business’ to the activities of any criminal enterprises…(this) is a partnership between the police and participating businesses in an effort to stop outlaw motorcycle gangs from intimidating other patrons, and preventing future crimes from occurring on their property,” read a statement in a CPS press release.

The CPS will supply signs to interested local businesses, which clearly state the “No Gang Colour, No Gang Clothing” policy is being enforced through the Trespass to Property Act. The CPS will have authority to enforce the Act for patrons violating the dress code by wearing gang colors or clothing where a sign is posted, in effort of fostering safer and more secure local environments.

“Drug trafficking, fraud, human trafficking, and contraband smuggling are all known to be criminal activities conducted by outlaw gangs, and we want to help our local business community ensure these activities are not occurring on their premises,” explained Det. S/Sgt. Robert Archambault, Criminal Investigations Division.

The CPS will work with participating businesses to help differentiate between outlaw motorcycle gang colours and law-abiding motorcycle clubs. Outlaw gangs often wear patches and pins that denote club status.

In March, the Ontario government announced an investment of $16.4 million over two years towards a Gun and Gang Support Unit, which will enhance major investigations and prosecutions, as well as province-wide intelligence gathering. The province also established a Gun and Gang Specialized Investigations Fund to support joint forces operations.

“In communities across Ontario and here in Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry, our government is sending a clear signal that we support the work of the Cornwall Police Service and SDG OPP and community partners to fight back against gun crime and gangs that prey on our young people and put everyone’s safety at risk, ” said MPP Jim McDonell in a press release. “When we help protect at-risk young people, we create safer and stronger communities.”

“In June of 2018, the CPS assisted the Toronto Police Service Gun and Gang Task Force in a gun smuggling investigation, resulting in the seizure of 60 prohibited handguns,” said Stephanie MacRae, CPS Communications Coordinator. “The CPS will continue to work with all partnering agencies in order to assist in preventing these types of weapons from entering our community, in addition to countering organized crime and gang activity in the City of Cornwall.”

The government also announced that it will work with communities to establish justice centres across the province that move justice out of a traditional courtroom and into a community setting.

SOURCE: Seaway News

Gypsy Joker MC murder trial continues

Portland, OR (April 12, 2019) BTN – The star government witness in the torture-style killing of a former Gypsy Joker Motorcycle Club member is the man who wielded the fatal blow with a baseball bat strike to the head, a defense lawyer said in court Thursday.

The prosecution’s case largely rests on the words of the actual murderer, Tiler Evan Pribbernow, who has cooperated with the government, said attorney Matthew Schindler, who represents one of the co-defendants in the case.

Schindler called it “outrageous” that prosecutors would allow Pribbernow to plead guilty to only racketeering to leverage his testimony against others. The deal allows Pribbernow to avoid accountability for the killing and save his own life by avoiding a potential death sentence, the lawyer said.

Related | Gypsy Joker MC national president released
Related | Gypsy Joker MC members face charges

“Tiler Pribbernow did it because he’s a lunatic. That’s why,” Schindler said. “We’ve seen one witness statement, and that statement is the statement of the murderer. … He killed this guy.”

Racketeering, kidnapping and murder charges are pending against five others in the 2015 death of Robert “Bagger” Huggins, 56. Loggers found his battered body dumped in a Clark County field. He had a fractured skull, a broken rib, a broken leg, a removed nipple, nails driven through his boots, slash wounds to his back and face and many blows to his face, authorities said.

Schindler was arguing for the pretrial release of his client, Ryan Anthony Negrinelli, now 36. At the time of the killing, Negrinelli was a “prospect’’ to join the club. After the killing, he became a full member who went by the nickname “Striker” before splitting from the club in mid-2018, a prosecutor said.

Schindler said the government has no physical evidence placing Negrinelli at the scene. Negrinelli has no prior criminal record, he said. The lawyer also pointed to Negrinelli’s full custody of his 14-year-old daughter and ties to the community. U.S. District Judge Robert E. Jones ordered Negrinelli to remain in custody, citing the gravity of the alleged offense. But the judge said he wasn’t willing to let the defendants languish in county jail indefinitely while waiting for “some bureaucrat’’ at the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., to “make up their mind” and decide whether to pursue the death penalty in the case.

He said he was told it could take up to a year for the decision, and that’s not acceptable. Schindler also urged the judge to discount Negrinelli’s statement to two Portland detectives after his arrest, saying it should be suppressed because the detectives failed to acknowledge Negrinelli’s repeated requests for a lawyer, placed him in a holding cell for eight hours without food and then plied him with leading information about the attack. Negrinelli also told the detectives he suffered from a childhood brain injury that impairs his memory.

The judge said he’d rule on a motion to suppress any statements at a later date.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Leah Bolstad said Negrinelli was involved in a “premeditated, planned hunt of someone who angered the group he was part of.” According to Pribbernow, Portland’s Gypsy Jokers president Mark Leroy Dencklau ordered the attack on Huggins and others helped. The June 30, 2015, kidnapping and subsequent killing was in retaliation for Huggins’ burglary and robbery at Dencklau’s Woodburn home earlier that month, the government alleges. Dencklau is also charged in the killing.

Huggins had targeted Dencklau’s home after getting kicked out of the club for stealing and breaking club rules, Bolstad said. Dencklau’s then-girlfriend was tied up and Huggins stole some of Dencklau’s property, including guns, the prosecutor said.

While Pribbernow is a key witness and has implicated co-defendants, he’s not the only witness, Bolstad said. Information Pribbernow shared with investigators has been corroborated, including use of a Chevy Tahoe by some of the defendants to carry Huggins’ body and dump him in Ridgefield, Wash., she said. DNA from blood found under carpet in the trunk of the Tahoe matched that of Huggins, she said.

According to Bolstad, Negrinelli helped grabbed Huggins in the driveway of a Portland home and put him into an SUV, where he and four others beat him and drove him to a shed in Woodlawn, Wash. Negrinelli helped place Huggins in the shed, where the defendants continued to torture Huggins, according to Bolstad. In his own words, Negrinelli told Portland detectives after his arrest that he “blasted,’’ or punched, Huggins a few times, Bolstad said.

Negrinelli also used water-boarding on Huggins, placing a scarf over his mouth and pouring water into it, triggering a choking response, Bolstad said. He also helped apply burning hot wire to Huggins’ body, she said. While others dumped Huggins’ body, Negrinelli and two co-defendants drove away in another car to discard weapons, throwing baseball bats into brush off the side of a road, Bolstad said.

Kenneth Earl Hause, the national president of the Gypsy Jokers Outlaw Motorcycle Club, is the only one of the defendants who has was released from jail this year to home detention with electric monitoring as he awaits trial. Hause’s circumstances are different, Bolstad argued, because Hause is charged only in the alleged racketeering conspiracy and not with murder.

SOURCE: Oregon Live