First Amendment

Published on January 23rd, 2016 | by David "Double D" Devereaux

31

Pagans MC Members Falsely Arrested & have Legal Firearms Confiscated

The epidemic of profiling and discrimination targeting members of motorcycle clubs is undeniable. Piece by piece, issue by issue, the community is facing challenges to fundamental freedoms based solely on associations.  The recent practice of targeting club members legal gun rights expands the stakes substantially.   On January 9, 2016 a textbook example of discriminatory policing targeting 2 members of a motorcycle club occurred in Uniontown, Pennsylvania. The stop included the confiscation of legally purchased and possessed firearms from individuals that had never been handcuffed in their lives prior to being falsely arrested.

 

January 10th, 2016

57 Miles Southeast of Pittsburg

Just After Midnight

 

Two members of the Pagans MC were traveling back to Virginia, after attending a motorcycle event in Pennsylvania, when they were stopped for speeding and ultimately arrested for possession of legally permitted firearms. They were chained to a metal bench for three hours before they were released without charges. They were questioned about their club affiliations. Predictably, their weapons were not released. These men are 52 and 42 years old with no criminal histories.

 

According to one of the members, a military veteran, after leaving a gas stop in Collensville,

 

“I saw a State Trooper at the light. Shortly thereafter, I saw the vehicle behind me. Felt like they were trying to get us to screw up while being the only vehicle on the road that night.”

 

“We were eventually pulled over for speeding.”

 

“A State Trooper approached and said we were stopped because we were going 60 in a 45. But that was the last the speeding issue was mentioned.  After confirming that we were both carrying legally permitted firearms from Virginia the trooper returned to his vehicle in order to run their information.”

 

“After 4-5 minutes the trooper returned and asked us to exit the vehicle. For the first time in either of our lives we were handcuffed. We were relieved of our weapons and placed in the trooper’s vehicle.” 

 

“We told the troopers that although it is true that Virginia has repealed its reciprocity agreement with Pennsylvania, the repeal doesn’t take effect till February 1.  We were told they were checking. They asked for permission to search and we gave them permission.”

 

“We were taken to a local PA State Police Barracks. We were handcuffed to two metal benches. They tried an ankle bracelet, but it caused extensive pain so they settled on handcuffs.”

 

“We were told that we would probably be held overnight. They found no criminal histories, only clean records, and said they would drop charges from a felony to a class I misdemeanor, but they were not charging us yet.  We were told they had to speak to the DA first to determine if he’ll prosecute.  After approximately three hours we were released without charges but we were told our firearms were being kept as evidence.

 

“Still in handcuffs, we were taken back to our vehicle and released.”

 

 

A Clear Case Of False Arrest And Unjustified Detainment

 

Clearly the officers had zero grounds to arrest and detain anyone under the circumstances as described. According to the Washington Post:

 

“Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring announced Tuesday that the commonwealth will no longer recognize out-of-state concealed handgun permits, part of a national push to circumvent legislatures opposed to tightening gun laws…effective February 1.” (See Washington Post, “Virginia to stop recognizing concealed carry gun permits from 25 states”, December 22, 2015)

 

Both individuals arrested possessed legal carry permits from the state of Virginia, legally recognized in Pennsylvania until February 1.  Certainly it’s reasonable to expect law enforcement to be informed and educated on such issues particularly if they are going to arrest and detain people. And it definitely does not take three hours to make a correct determination on an issue of such magnitude that has received such massive media and government attention.

 

And to keep legal firearms as evidence is outrageous and absurd. These men were released without charges because they did not violate a law that is not in effect until February 1, 2016. There is absolutely no legal justification to seize legal property that is legally possessed. No case, no charges, no need for evidence. This clearly violates reasonable search and seizure protections and directly violates 2nd Amendment rights extraordinarily obtained through extensive background checks and scrutiny.

 

Motorcycle Club Discrimination Revealed Through Trooper’s Questioning

 

So what underlies the troopers decision to falsely arrest and detain these two men?  The MPP  asked one member whether there was anything that would lead him to believe that this incident was a result of motorcycle profiling.

 

According to the member,

After being handcuffed to a bench in the station for 20 minutes, a trooper asked me why I would want to join the Pagans. I told him I was 20 years retired army. Veterans want a sense of security and we love riding motorcycles. Then one trooper asked whether I liked being in a gang. I corrected his vocabulary. Motorcycle Clubs are made up of men. Not gang members. The trooper then asked me whether I watched Sons of Anarchy.”

 

It seems clear that the trooper’s questioning reveals a discriminatory anti-motorcycle club motive.

 

Support Pending Legislation In PA To End The Practice Of Motorcycle Profiling

 

This case further demonstrates that the time to act in Pennsylvania is now. The mounting pattern of evidence proves that the practice of discriminatory policing targeting motorcycle club members is irrefutable.  In the words of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in the District of New Jersey:

 

To permit law enforcement to object to any person “who wears the insignia of Pagan’s, without regard to or knowledge of that individual’s specific intent to engage in the alleged violent activities committed by other members, is antithetical to the basic principles enshrined in the First Amendment and repugnant to the fundamental doctrine of personal guilt that is a hallmark of American jurisprudence.”

 

 

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About the Author

David

is the Spokesperson for the Washington State Council of Clubs, Founder of the Motorcycle Profiling Project, and works with motorcyclists at the national level. Contact: Send Email,



DISCLAIMER: Although comments are encouraged and appreciated, not all comments will be posted by Motorcycle Profiling Project LLC. The Motorcycle Profiling Project LLC appreciates oppositional viewpoints but will not post any comments that do not contribute to a respectful and meaningful discussion or are blatantly discriminatory or otherwise offensive. Resubmissions will be considered at the commenter's request.


31 Responses to Pagans MC Members Falsely Arrested & have Legal Firearms Confiscated

  1. Avatar Michelle Perrine says:

    And so it continues….

    • Avatar Raggs Tsmc says:

      This needs to stop the police get away with small infractions of our Rights every time they pull someone over they are slowly moving in a direction that becomes the norm!!!!! ¡The public needs to be educated in what to say and do at each traffic stop and to report when these officers are breaking the laws!!!!!!!

      • Avatar Hollywood says:

        So WHAT IS the correct way to deal with this issue? What is the correct verbal response?
        So far in the 4 years of riding i haven’t experience this when riding with the club. (It will probably happen next time right?).
        The local police use to sit across the street in a pizza shop lot and video us, so I’m sure they have all the pictures they need of our members.
        I’m always waiting to get pulled over and my picture comes up with association with our club and have the cop mention it. Go ahead.
        I’ve NEVER been in trouble with law enforcement ever. So i want the right attitude and answers to respond.
        Thanks

    • Avatar Fuster says:

      Long time resident of PA! Officers in this Commonwealth far overstep their authority on a regular basis! & the local town police are even worse! Something needs to be done about this problem! & they wonder why they get no respect!!!

  2. Avatar Dan W says:

    Looks like a 1983 rights violation lawsuit.

  3. Avatar Larry says:

    Lawsuit — False arrest alone is good for about $15,000 .. Check it out ..

  4. Avatar Steve says:

    A couple of things come to mind while reading this. Pennsylvania first off is a Commonwealth not a “State” which in and of itself renders the title of Pennsylvania State Police a moot point nullifying their legal jurisdiction. Secondly, simply because Virginia reascends reciprocity does not necessarily render Pennsylvania’s recognition of Virginia’s permit to carry.

    The mentality in Pa. of their “state police” is and always has been that of a storm trooper.

    • From Double D

      The Rhetorical argument holds no weight. Arrests made by the Pennsylvania State Police (the name they’ve adopted and the name recognized by the legislative, executive and judicial branches) have been upheld by the Supreme Court. Moreover, when we ask how many states are in the Union we do not exclude the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

      Virginia and Pennsylvania have a reciprocity agreement. This means reciprocity between the two can be rescinded by either. You are correct that not all reciprocity between states operates in this manor, but many of them do. Pennsylvania has made it clear that there will be no reciprocity agreement with residents of Virginia.

    • Avatar Candee Peacock says:

      Virginia is a Commonwealth too.

  5. Avatar Bill says:

    This is nothing new, police have been profiling motorcyclists for as long as I can remember. Those guys should get a lawyer familiar with PA gun law.

    As for the Virginia permit, yes, Virginia plans to repeal what license/permits it will honor in Virginia come February.

    However, Virginia has no say over what permits/licenses Pennsylvania will honor. Currently PA does honor a resident Virginia permit/license and so far there has been no mention that PA will also drop VA, although I don’t doubt it will follow.

    • From Double D

      You are simply incorrect. As explained, the agreement between Virginia and PA is a mutual reciprocity agreement. PA will no longer recognize Virginia permit holders. The Washington Post Reported on December 22:

      “The states losing reciprocity are: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

      Agreements will remain with West Virginia, Michigan, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah.

      Six states will no longer recognize Virginia’s concealed-carry permits because they require mutual recognition of permits. They are: Florida, Louisiana, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Wyoming.”

      • Avatar Bill says:

        My bad, You are correct.

        I have since read on the PA Attorney General’s site that PA will drop VA, at the time the story broke it hadn’t been determined yet.

        VA is now listed as an application state on the PA AG site, meaning PA residents can apply for a VA non resident license.

        There is still a chance this will either not happen or be rescinded by the VA legislature.

        http://tinyurl.com/hoju3uq

        “Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, has been unsuccessful in his gun-control efforts and he has taken some steps through executive action, including the recent ban on concealed guns in most state offices.

        Herring’s announcement came three weeks before the start of the General Assembly session, which is controlled by Republicans. In November, a bill was filed that would require Virginia to recognize permits from other states. If approved, it would reverse Herring’s ruling.

        Carrico said he’ll address the issue come January.

        “A lot of the governor’s power is deferred to the General Assembly at that point and I’ll be getting with my collegues to circumvent everything this governor has done on this point,” he said. “I have a budget amendment that I’m looking at to take away his executive protection unit. If he’s so afraid of guns, then I’m not going to surround him with armed state policemen.””

        In any event …. At the time of arrest they were perfectly legal, permit wise.

  6. Avatar Bill says:

    This is nothing new, police have been profiling motorcyclists for as long as I can remember. the two guys need to hire a lawyer familiar with PA gun law.

    As for the Virginia firearm reciprocity, yes in February VA is dropping 26 states from their reciprocity list, and PA is one of them. However that will affect carry in VA, not PA, not yet anyway. VA can not tell PA what to, or not to, honor. Currently a VA resident with a VA license can carry in PA regardless of what VA is going to do on Feb. 01, 2016. I have yet to hear if PA is going to drop VA as a result, but unless it does a VA resident can still carry in PA with the VA license after Feb. 01.

  7. Avatar Linda Bouc says:

    Most people don’t understand the motorcycle culture. But as a retired Police Sergeant and bike rider, I’m disappointed in this mentality, by some Police. Policeman should know better.

  8. Avatar D.J. says:

    Every law enforcement agency and every prosecution agency in America has an elected official somewhere up the food chain who can be voted out of office because of these types of incidents in enough people get off of their asses and lose the “I’m not into politics” mindset.

    When you don’t vote or don’t vote intelligently, other people who hate you and everything you hold dear will elect scumbags who hold their views in order to strip away your freedom.

    Freedom and indifference DO NOT coexist.

  9. Avatar Anonymous says:

    Total bullshit, they tried n failed, talk about abuse of power, not to mention the implementation of racicism. Utterly unbelievable. God bless n ty for sering ore country. Take care

  10. Avatar Badboy13 says:

    Cops think they are above the law and do shit like this and profile people. Two guys doing nothing wrong but made to look bad. Never trust them they carry guns to protect them not us. Or like the one that’s going to jail for pulling over women and raping them, maybe then all cops are rapists, or all cops shoot unarmed black people. They wonder why no one respects the law

  11. Avatar Badboy13 says:

    Cops think they’re above the law. Two guys doing nothing wrong. As cops profile us they should be profiled as they all shoot unarmed black people and the respectable officer that pulled women over and raped them, guess all cops are rapists. That’s why no one respects the law. Why did they take their legal guns. Hmm guess it’s because all cops are thieves too.

  12. Avatar Gary lee says:

    When I read what happens to club members it makes me want to join a club. I have no record what so ever and have rode most my life what a shame this happened to these two men of the USA

  13. As long as there are no consequences the activity will continue. These officers should be prosecuted.

  14. Avatar Frank Bruno says:

    There is currently a bill submitted to the legislature through the efforts of ABATE that is a anti-profiling bikers bill that would make it “illegal” for any police agency to stop or harass members of motorcycle clubs who are not violating any law. It is embarassing for all the professional law enforcement officers who follow proper procedure to hear about these growing instances of rogue officers using improper procedures to harass members of motorcycle clubs. It is similar to officers in a drug unit planting drugs on a suspect because they know he is selling drugs but they can’t catch him so they justify their actions by improper and illegal means. We have many local examples of this such as Delaware County officers stopping club members for no reason and issuing them tickets for bogus offenses they know will be dismissed in court but will inconvenience the biker, make him lose a days pay at work, etc., or blocking all the clubs in at the ABATE Toy Run when they were invited to park in the front by ABATE and go second after all the ABATE members go, etc. It’s a shame that a civilian organization that fights for biker’s rights has to generate legislation to force some police to do their jobs correctly. This might also be directly connected to an age old problem in this area of hiring Officers based on who they know rather than how many credentials they have. What you end up with is far less professional than agencies who hire solely based on things like experience, education, specialized training, etc. In some agencies in the Northeast, the most experienced, highest trained, most decorated Officer from some other state, who would apply would be beat out by a mall security guard because the out of state officer had not connections to anyone in the area(I know of one case around here where it actually happened). It’s too late for agencies in this state to clean this problem up themselves, the legislature is doing it now. Let’s hope that once the law passes, all law enforcement officers in the state comply with it and do their jobs according to the law and proper police procedures.

  15. Avatar Anonymous says:

    Were the gentleman Virginia residents? If so, then it was perfectly legal. PA does not recognize non-resident VA permits.

  16. Avatar Ken cushman says:

    Wonder where all this CRAP is coming from how can they do this.I don’t get it.they want our guns,why don’t they go back to Profileing and get the gangs ,clubs all felons rid of guns.sounds like they are already profiling the good citizens..
    OUR DEP OF JUSTICE HAS WENT TO SHIT AS SOON AS OBAMA,HOLDER,AND THE WOMAN IN CHARGE GOT IN OFFICER.
    WHAT I SAY TO THE VETERANS,BIKERS,YOU MEN ARE DOING A GREAT JOB KEEP UP THE WORK
    I’M A VIETNAM VETERAN AND AMERICAN LEGION MEMBER AND I STAND BEHIND YOU.

  17. Avatar L.J.Mead says:

    Riding threw a town with a legal gun & permit does not make you a criminal, just as wearing a patch on your back doesn’t. I was raised by the pagan’s and I was taught by them to obey the law and respect it, but what the officers did to them was not respectful and it violated there rights.

  18. Why dont you people get together and sue the state or take leagal action of some sort to stop this from happening again and again, Hold them accountable !!!!! no one ever does this and I believe this is why it keeps happening over and over because there is no action taken against them for their mistakes but they sure hpld us accountable for the things we do even if we arent wrong !!!!!! Im sure there is a lawyer that would work pro bono in a $$$$$$ lawsuite to represent you and get your guns back !!!! makes me sick, this shit has to stop !!!!!

  19. Avatar Ruth says:

    If profiling a person based on race or gender or sexual preferences is illegal, what makes it legal to profile someone simply because of a patch? I’ve got my own issues with the PSP and, quite frankly, I would rather deal with a Pagan than a state cop. At least the Pagans know how to treat a person with respect. The state police are too caught up in their power role.

  20. I feel,Just Me, that the practice of stopping(unlawful detainment) of Law Abiding Folks is what is leading to the decimation of OUR Culture!!

  21. Avatar Wren says:

    Here it is 4 months later and they have YET to get their LEGALLY owned/carried weapons back…so basically false arrest, unlawful detainment, and THEFT. It’s total bullsh*t. This was out n out WRONG

  22. Pingback: PA Biker’s Firearm Illegally Seized After Major Injury Accident – Oregon Confederation of Clubs

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