First Amendment

Published on November 3rd, 2015 | by David "Double D" Devereaux

6

Police Blockade Motorcycle Clubs at Toy Run in Philadelphia

On November 1st the Philadelphia Police Department blockaded the Pennsylvania Confederation of Clubs and prevented them from participating in the annual ABATE of Delaware Valley Toy Run. This blockade was an unconstitutional infringement on an entire class of people based on protected expression. This incident further solidifies an already overwhelming pattern of evidence demonstrating that profiling is an epidemic in Pennsylvania. Pending legislation, Pending legislation (HB1580) mandating simple policy and training requirements, empirically proven effective, should urgently be approved.

The truth about the Philly Toy run on November 1st has been hard to come by because there are so many competing rumors and so much social media chatter. Some say ABATE asked that police blockade motorcycle clubs. Some say that they were allowed to participate, just not ride at the front of the pack. But after communicating with eyewitnesses from the COC and ABATE of Pennsylvania the truth is quite clear and irrefutable.

As described in a letter written by an active member of the Eastern Pennsylvania COC, the Confederation of Clubs was selectively targeted, blockaded, and prevented from participating in the Toy Run based on appearance and stereotype. There was no reasonable suspicion to believe that violence or crime would occur.

Motorcycle Profiling Project,

   On November 1, 2015 my club, Responders EMS MC, and many other clubs of the Eastern PA COC lined up at Columbus Boulevard and Spring Garden St. for the 35th Annual ABATE of Delaware Valley Toy Run “For the Kids”. I arrived at about 0930 and there were about 50 bikes already parked.  The Philadelphia Police Department, and possibly other federal agencies, were staged in the median of Columbus Boulevard taking pictures of everyone who arrived. 

  My club and I walked the length of the parade and back, and witnessed nothing out of the ordinary.  There was no violence, no intimidation by any clubs or independent riders.  I stayed at the front of the staging area of the parade, where I parked by motorcycle, from approximately 1015 until the beginning of the parade. 

  Around 1150 or so, I noticed quite a few of the Philadelphia Police vehicles moving along the front of the parade.  I did not pay this any attention as I figured they were preparing to block traffic for the large amount of motorcycles that take part in the toy run.  At about 1155 I was told we were blocked in by the police, with no means of getting around them.  At 1159 I began video recording the length of the blockade on my cell phone.  No police officer gave any indication as to why they were not allowing us to participate in the toy run. 

  The COC clubs and their guests, about 200 or so bikers, were held in excess of 30 minutes until the length of the parade was gone.  Once the parade had left, the blockade was lifted and we were able to proceed.   The police then directed which way we were allowed to go.  The parade travelled west on Spring Garden St., which the police had blocked.  They directed us to go south on Columbus BLVD, which is away from the toy run route.

  This felt like a blatant violation of my, and our, 1st and 4th amendment rights.  The police decided we were not welcome to participate in the toy run, even though the president of Delaware Valley ABATE personally invited the COC clubs to attend, simply based on our collective association with Motorcycle Clubs.  We were detained for a length of time against our will, and unable to donate the children of the Philadelphia area. 

 Dave “Irish” Dohrmann

Responders EMS MC- President

 

So what do the police say?  Why the blockade? In an email from the Philadelphia Police Department to a well known biker social media site “2 Million Bikers To D.C” the PPD asserts that the event organizers requested the assistance to prevent a “Diamond Club” from ruining the toy run and taking it over.

 

Great page friend, but the post on the Philadelphia police blocking patches is wrong! The run was sponsored by abate, over the years,( the last three) a certain group of diamond club members, and their puppet clubs, would park and gather and put to work their security members near the front of the event. Then when it’s real close to the time to leave, that diamond club, would jump to the front, and lead as though they were running the event. The people who organized this event have been complaining about it for years. So this year, the pd, blocked them until after the real organizers, and Santa left, started and lead the event. The diamond club was then allowed to join the ride, but were pushed to last. No plates were run, no bikes were checked.  Thought you would like to know.

 

S.H.S. Philadelphia PD

 

But these assertions about ABATE requesting police assistance are simply untrue. The hosting Delaware Valley ABATE Chapter has, in a letter written by their President, confirmed that the COC was indeed invited and that ABATE had no knowledge of the police blockade. This was an action taken by an agent of the state and not on behalf of the hosting organization.

 

Dave,

DEL VAL ABATE [the event host and organizer] did not have any knowledge nor do we condone the actions of the police. The COC’s and 1% clubs were invited and welcomed by my chapter to attend. I personally did not find out about this until later in the day. I will do my best to handle this situation. if you have any questions feel free to contact me.

 Mike DiFurio

President

Delaware Valley ABATE

Chapter 63

 

The actions of the Philadelphia PD are inexcusable violations of basic Constitutional protections. Blockading a group of motorcycle clubs and preventing free movement without reasonable suspicion of criminal activity is an unreasonable seizure in violation of the 4th Amendment. Preventing participation and selective targeting based on legal associations and expression is a clear violation of the 1st Amendment. The COC is a political organization and they were attempting to participate in an event to benefit needy children. The actions of the police were abhorrent. There really is no argument or defense.

The pattern of motorcycle profiling at the hands of law enforcement in Pennsylvania is obvious, widespread, and pervasive. All Americans and citizens of Pennsylvania should be concerned. Fortunately there is a possible solution that will reduce these incidents in Pennsylvania and provide motorcyclists with a tool to deal with incidents like this that do occur. HB 1580, currently in the PA House of Representatives, is an empirically effective policy solution that has been shown to reduce motorcycle profiling incidents substantially. Requiring basic written policies and training, HB 1580 is a virtually cost-free solution that is being driven by the unified grassroots efforts of ABATE and the COC in order to protect rights to freedom of expression and association without enduring police harassment and discrimination.

Route_blocked_for_patch holders_Philly Toy Run 2015

See the video of the police blockade on the Motorcycle Profiling Project Facebook Page.

 

 

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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.


6 Responses to Police Blockade Motorcycle Clubs at Toy Run in Philadelphia

  1. Avatar ANIMAL says:

    I wouldn’t doubt but that the actions of the Philly police were in part due to HB 1580, which, while still in the legislature, will essentially hogtie the cops when it comes to such blatant disregard for the U.S. Constitution, and no doubt, the Pennsylvania constitution. Another instance of illustrating who the real “gang” is …..

  2. Avatar Anonymous says:

    The Police through history, at least my culture’s history, have ALWAYS staged events and turned Bikers against Bikers. Com on guys lets not let them do it again.
    Just a dumb girl.

  3. For years this has been happening. And now, in the wake of the Waco, TX. Massacre, the LEOs all across the nation have targeted all motorcycle clubs and independents as hostile, and also seek revenge (in my opinion) for showing up 1.5 million strong in Washington Dc. I believe this is because we as a biker community of loving brotherhood have proven that we will not comply with their tyrannical actions of trying to abolish our constitutional rights, giving them absolute power over all humans in this country. Our forefathers seen this coming over 240 years ago, and now it is time to start preparing for a very ruff road ahead of us because it is going to get bumpy, very bumpy.
    Keep the rubber side down and much love too all
    The American American, Fighting to Restore Our Free Nation.

  4. Avatar Anne Capone says:

    This is horrific, bikers have been participating in this run for years! We all feel that it’s a good way to give back to the communities and also bring joy to the children!

  5. Avatar Twila says:

    I feel that the Plilly PD needs to replace the toys that bikers didn’t get to donate. Also I think they need to have consequences for their behavior. This was out right disrespectful and uncalled for. Fight for your rights. God bless.

  6. Avatar Nobody says:

    I know that living a life that is based on MY freedom to chose and to run MY life by the rules that I set down on how I live MY life sometimes… has its price. We all know how things “should be”, but only a few of us know how things really are.
    Ever hear the phrase when in Rome do as the Romans do ?? I’m not gonna travel abroad and then be pissed because nobody will speak English to me !! I don’t bitch when I have dinner at my closets friends home and they don’t serve any meat ! He’s a vegetation, I know this. 17 years Iv known him. 17 years is a seriously long time. So for the last 38 years there has been a Toy Run in Philadelphia which was put on by someone or other. I’m not sure who made that happen but I’m 99% positive who didn’t.
    This group or that group wants to have a motorcycle rally for their cause , great. They jump through all the city’s hoops and they get to have their event, fantastic. Now here is where plain old everyday thousand year old logic comes into play, stay with me.
    Make no mistake, Philadelphia is now and has been for almost sixty years a 1%er town. If you hold a motorcycle event that is as well attended as the Philly Toy Run, it only seems to make sense that the 1%er club who’s members live in Philadelphia would be the first group of riders down the street. The guys at ABATE aren’t dummies. These grown men understand where they fall in the pecking order in the world that is motorcycle clubs.
    The problem is the PPD. They feed into this festering and destructive attitude that any interaction with a guy on a bike, is an opportunity to abuse the powers given them by these very same citizens that they are terrorizing . I have witnessed cops, with no clue that this citizen even exist, begin their unwarranted interrogation of an assumed law abiding citizen , with the use of some pretty intense and forceful bullying. The cops do their best to intimidate our average Joe Citizen by making outlandish statements designed solely to instill the fear of having their twenty thousand dollar vehicle impounded by the PPA and/or being arrested . Neither of which is a good time.
    Now after all that unpleasantness, I do however, applaud your efforts young man. Until the law enforcement organisations across the country are reigned in, and a tight leash is put upon them, this ” respect my authority ” nonsense will remain on the menu and I will start looking like a profit whenever I say that this place is turning into a POLICE STATE.

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