Video obtained by the MPP captures two members of the Sons of Silence Motorcycle Club being harassed and threatened with false arrest on the night of June 25th, 2016 at a Quick Trip service station in Kansas City because, according to one KCPD officer Marchant, “1%’ers aren’t allowed at the Quick Trip while the KC police are present.”
Importantly, the employees at the Quick Trip had no issue with serving these individuals, frequent customers of this particular establishment. It is unconstitutional for an agent of the government to impose discriminatory access restrictions on anyone, including members of 1% motorcycle clubs.
This incident is one example in an extensive pattern of evidence demonstrating the epidemic of motorcycle profiling and discrimination taking place in Missouri and most pockets of America. Legislation prohibiting the practice of profiling and providing a mechanism of relief for victims is long overdue.
On the evening of June 25th at approximately 11pm, two members of the Sons of Silence Motorcycle Club pulled into the Quick Trip located at 6820 Front Street, Kansas City, Missouri. According to one member, “We didn’t even have time to turn our bikes off before an officer approached us and told us we had to leave because 1%’ers weren’t allowed at the Quick Trip while the Kansas City Police are there. I thought he was joking. But he wasn’t. He showed me his KCPD badge.”
But this individual frequents this Quick Trip and was doing nothing wrong. So he ignored the unconstitutional request and proceeded into the store to buy gas. When he entered the store there was an officer in plain clothes (visible in the background of the video) talking to an employee (also seen wearing red in the video) stocking shelves.
“I asked the officer whether I was allowed in the store as a 1%’er. He said I was allowed. I also asked a female clerk behind the counter whether there was an issue with me being in the store. She also said that the Quick Trip had no problem. Yet officer Marchant continued to insist that I leave the premises. I told officer Marchant to basically f*#k off. At this point, I returned to my motorcycle and began to videotape the incident.”
Although this individual was serving as a security guard at the Quick Trip, he was acting under the color of state law. First, by showing his KCPD badge he is presenting and exerting himself as a KCPD officer. Second, in the included video he identifies himself as KCPD officer Marchant.
The Video Shows Harassment And Threats Of False Arrest
The video shows Marchant’s continued insistence for the two club members to leave the property. According to Marchant, they were trespassing. When asked how trespassing could be established when the employees of the store had no issue serving club members, oﬃcer Marchant had no intelligible answer.
Eventually, a Sgt. Quinn arrives and officer Marchant attempts to handcuff the member taking the video. Marchant attempts to justify his demands by saying that the club member used profanity in the store and that was why he asked them to leave. But this was a lie according to both members. Officer Marchant told them to leave as soon as they pulled up. Obviously, this is before anyone entered the store. He attempts to handcuff the man but his hand is pushed away.
Ultimately, Sgt Quinn tells them to have a nice night. They are allowed to leave. Oﬃcer Marchant does not receive his wish and no one is falsely arrested. But not before a helicopter is deployed and circling above.
This Is Not An Isolated Incident-Member Of Mongols MC Escorted Off Quick Trip Property.
Just two weeks prior, in the early morning hours of June 12th, a similarly incident occurred involving a member of the Mongols Motorcycle Club at the exact same location. In an interview with the MPP, a member of the Mongols Motorcycle Club explained the incident:
MPP: Describe what happened to you on Sunday, June 12th, at approximately 1am, at the Quick Trip located at 6820 Front Street, Kansas City, Missouri.
Mongols MC member: “I stopped by the Quick Trip Gas Station on Front Street on my way to work (I’m an engineer for the railroad) to purchase a Mt. Dew. As I opened the cooler, a security guard (presumably officer Marchant based on the description, location and his demeanor) said, “Hey guy. We don’t allow 1% jackets in the Quick Trip.” I wasn’t sure I heard him right so I asked him to repeat himself. He said, “We don’t allow your type in here.”
I told him I just wanted to grab my Mt Dew and go to work. I told him I hadn’t done anything wrong. At this point he started to threaten me. He said, “I’m gonna escort you out of the store or I’ll call a paddy wagon.” (Note-Again he’s acting under the color of state law.) This upset me and I started saying f#*k this. He would not allow me to purchase a Mt. Dew.
I told him, “I’ll walk out free willing. You are more of a criminal than I’ll ever be.”
He followed me outside and said, “I don’t want you ever coming back here.”
Motorcycle Clubs Are Constitutionally Protected From Government Intrusions On Expression and Association.
Federal intrusions are prohibited by the 1st Amendment. These obligations have been incorporated under the 14th Amendment and are extended to the states under the Equal Protection Clause. This means that no agent of the government may force or coerce any establishment to impose restrictions that prohibits attendees from wearing clothing displaying the name or symbols associated with a motorcycle organization.
What relief is available for a victim of government discrimination? An individual that has been denied access to a public space at the hands of a government agent can pursue relief under federal law. Prohibiting individuals from expressing themselves and wearing t-shirts or protective equipment with patches or insignia exposes the government to liability under 42 USC §1983.
The actions of this KCPD officer are inexcusable. The practice of motorcycle profiling and discrimination violates constitutional prohibitions against government discrimination, increases the government’s exposure to civil liability, and represents a gross mismanagement of public resources. Documented incidents like this prove that motorcycle profiling is irrefutably occurring. Legislative solutions, like those adopted in Washington State and Maryland, provide a cost-free policy option that empirically reduces profiling.