The story relating to 2 members of the Chosen Few Motorcycle Club that were profiled in San Diego last week continues to develop. Although both men were arrested for wearing rings as brass knuckles (find the previous story here), including wedding rings, the District Attorney is only pursuing charges against one member for a decorative whip and keychain. Both items were zip tied to the bike nullifying the ability to use either as a weapon.
The member being charged with 2 felony crimes is employed as a professor and has no criminal record. Internal Affairs and Citizen Review Board Complaints have also been filed. Most troubling, it appears that one detective in particular has been targeting and harassing members of the Chosen Few MC in San Diego.
SDPD Targeting the Chosen Few MC?
According to the professor and Chosen Few member being charged,
“It is interesting that the detective behind the scene, Timothy Coyle, is the same detective who has been harassing all the San Diego Chosen Few members. And the DA is the same DA (J. McLaughlin) who is prosecuting another one of our members who was jammed up under similar profiling circumstances by the same “crime suppression” unit.”
These concerns are definitely worth exploring. It is clear that police were conducting surveillance based on appearance, not behavior. A minor traffic infraction was used to conduct a stop to harass and investigate based on a discriminatory stereotype.
Unreasonable Seizure? Police Won’t Return Chosen Few Colors or Other Property.
According to the professor, neither member has gotten back their rings, phones, or Chosen Few colors. One motorcycle is also still being held. This is despite the fact that the decorative keychain and whip have zero to do with any other property police seized. One of the men isn’t even being charged. There is no argument for these items being part of an investigation.
Importantly, the neither man was wearing his colors at the time of the traffic stop. They were stored in saddle bags. Of course they were being surveilled and had Chosen Few MC insignia on their motorcycles so they were identified as 1%’ers before they ever got on their bikes.
Fear of Retaliation?
Does the SDPD have a vendetta? The professor writes,
“The SDPD has an issue with the Chosen MC currently and I am not sure where this active vendetta came from; they are arresting us for the weakest of reasons and charging us with the highest possible charges. We all work, we all have families, and we do not have a history of being trouble makers in San Diego. Most of us are former military and served honorably as well. They are trying to ruin the lives of good men, who will have difficulty finding jobs if a felony is put on their record. How does that help the public? I have filed a complaint with Internal affairs as well, and I am afraid once the cops figure I have done so they are going retaliate. No crimes have been committed by us, it is simply because of that 1%ER status that they consider us the enemy.”
Targeting the Chosen Few MC is an example of selective enforcement in violation of the 14th Amendment. The Chosen Few is a constitutionally protected association and expression of that association is fundamentally protected by the 1st Amendment. The SDPD should demand that their officers immediately cease and desist all profiling of motorcyclists and targeting of the Chosen Few MC.