Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Price of a Patch

On April 29, 2010, QuickThrottle Magazine received the first of a series of emails with the subject “A Very Concerning Situation,” by Paul Lemoine.  (Edited for brevity and clarity.)

"This weekend should have been a time for celebration for Downaz Ridaz, M.C., as we had planned to commemorate our first year anniversary of our Las Vegas Chapter.  Instead, it was filled with chaos and confusion for members and guests.

"Prior to the party, our club leaders took extra steps to ensure compliance with all the City’s rules and ordinances.  We were assured by a North Las Vegas City official that alcohol was allowed for consumption at the party as long as it was not being sold.  We used fliers to promote our free “casino-theme” anniversary celebration to the motorcycling community.  We offered complimentary drinks and homemade food to our guests.

"At 9:30 that kick-off Friday night, some 25 uniformed and undercover officers swarmed the gathering, ordered our guests to leave, and announced, “The party is over!”  These officers were from the North Las Vegas Police Department’s gang unit, S.W.A.T., the Business License Division, and the Nevada Gaming Control Board.  At the time of the raid, another club member and I were directing traffic for the arriving guests.  The two of us were handcuffed and much later charged with “working without a valid work card.”  Several other members were also placed into custody while officers confiscated and disposed of all the food and drinks.  Club members were cuffed and detained inside for three hours while officers issued citations.  A few doors down, a man who stepped out of his business to see what was going on, was also placed into custody for having an “open container.”  He was drinking a Coca-Cola with ice in a plastic cup.  Gaming Control found no evidence of gambling.

"After hours of questioning, those of us that were handcuffed were loaded into the back seats of patrol cars.  No Miranda rights were given and none of us were told why we were being arrested.

"As officers were beginning to leave the property, a motorcyclist entered the parking lot.  As he approached, a hooded undercover officer – who did not identify himself to the rider – stepped into the rider’s path and ordered him to stop.  The rider swerved to avoid hitting the hooded man, and as the rider passed, the officer withdrew his handgun. With the rider still in motion, the officer reached out and grabbed him by the shirt, jerking him off his bike and onto the ground.  Several other officers rushed to assist the hooded officer subdue the stunned and potentially injured rider while repeating the order to, “Stop resisting!”  I witnessed the entire scene from about a 20-foot distance and could not believe what I was seeing.  I heard the undercover cop joke afterward when he said he was glad he didn’t shoot him, or they [the cops] would have been stuck there doing paperwork all night.

"Seven of us were placed into custody and by 1:00 a.m. we were transported to the North Las Vegas Detention Center.  A bondsman was contacted and by 7:00 a.m. Saturday morning, bail was arranged for most of us.  However, bond could not be posted because our files kept being shuffled to the bottom of the stack each time a jail administrator got to them.   Our friends and family called throughout the night, only to be given conflicting information.  No one would tell us why we were arrested and how long we would be detained.  By 4:30 p.m. Saturday, we were finally officially booked, and bond was posted.  Most of us were released at approximately 6:30 a.m., Sunday morning.  That’s when we discovered that we were being charged with violations ranging from “working without valid work permits,” to “operating a business without a license.”  Fines total into the tens of thousands.  To add insult to injury, policies at the North Las Vegas Detention Center require that confiscated monies be returned in the form of pre-paid credit cards which carry extremely high fees and make recovery of cash difficult. 

"The effects of these detainments have caused many hardships and jeopardized peoples’ jobs.  The club is currently being advised by legal counsel.  North Las Vegas has made it clear to the motorcycling community that bikers are not welcome. They may be harassed, followed, put under surveillance, jailed without reasonable cause, and held for the maximum amount of time before being charged.  If you wear a patch, you’re a target!

"What happened to my club – a family club – was a violation of our civil rights.  Please consider publishing our story in your magazine, as I believe these events represent a potential nightmare for any organized motorcycle group.

Paul’s report to us is well corroborated by in-depth interviews with witnesses, contact with one of the defense attorneys, online North Las Vegas Municipal Court records (sample), and journalist observations of court proceedings.

The rider that was jerked off his motorcycle by a hooded cop was the only person charged with a felony – attempted murder of a police officer by using a deadly weapon.  He ultimately pled down to a DUI and served 30 days in jail.  An interview with this person was not obtained, but there was no indication in any of the online documentation or witness accounts that his alcohol level was tested.

Paul’s original charge, “working without a valid work card” was reduced to “impeding traffic.”  His case went through four court proceedings from May 17 to September 29th.  Total fees and fines were $562, and he paid his attorney $500 to represent him.

The club secretary was charged with six misdemeanors:  failure to obtain (1) special event permit; (2) liquor permit; (3) food permit; (4) health permit; (5) advertising within city limits without a city business license; and (6) employing person without a valid work card.  Total fines:  $6,322.  The club president had virtually similar charges so the two teamed up to retain the services of defense attorney, Patrick McDonald.  McDonald defended the president, the secretary, and a third club-member.  About that third member, McDonald explained that “the charge against him was dismissed because his conduct had clearly not violated any of the provisions of the North Las Vegas Municipal Code."  As to the club president and secretary, McDonald stated "Some of the alleged conduct did not violate the North Las Vegas Municipal Code.  Other alleged conduct may have violated the Municipal Code. Consequently a plea bargain was entered into – between the clients and the City of North Las Vegas – that benefited both the clients and the City of North Las Vegas.”

The secretary took a plea bargain to lower the first four charges to “jaywalking,” and the fifth and sixth charges were dismissed.  Each jaywalking fine was $200 and the court added fees totaling $448.  The club president had the exact same outcome.  The cost to put these two cases to rest was $4,796 - including the $1,500 attorney fees.  It took seven months to resolve, six court appearances, time lost from work, and lives put on hold.  Any violation of the rules of court would have resulted in an arrest warrant.  According to McDonald, these defendants had no right to a court-appointed attorney because “the North Las Vegas City Attorney's Office was not seeking jail sentences as part of any sentence on a conviction.”  So by lawyering-up, the club president and secretary saved over $10,000, combined.

But more digging revealed more details.  The cases involving the club president, secretary, and Paul, were all heard by Judge Warren VanLandschoot, elected by the people of North Las Vegas.  This judge is not an attorney.  Rather, according to his official online bio, VanLandschoot “served 28 years with the North Las Vegas Police Department.”

Does VanLandschoot express any anti-motorcyclist or pro-North Las Vegas PD bias in his courtroom?  Consider this:  No recordings of any kind are allowed in this courthouse.  The public is not allowed to bring any electronic devices - no cell phones, no audio or video recorders.  According to a court clerk, the North Las Vegas Municipal Court “is not a court of record.”  That means that the court does not have any sort of transcript, audio, or video recordings of any proceedings.  Therefore, how could anyone prove if judge bias or misconduct existed?  To whom would a citizen appeal for justice?

Facts:  You have ten calendar days to make notification to appeal your case to the district court level; you must pay any fine before or during your appeal process – not after; and, you start over with a brand new arraignment, judge, pretrial, and trial.

Is the power of the North Las Vegas judicial system balanced in favor of justice or corruption?  QuickThrottle Magazine is investigating yet another motorcycle-related case in Judge VanLandschoot’s court.

Did the justice system fail these motorcycle enthusiasts?  Who will be targeted next?  Although Paul remains good friends with members of the club, he recently made a decision to no longer wear his patch.  He said, “I am looking forward to leaving this city for good one day. There are still areas of this country where I can ride a motorcycle and wear a leather vest without the threat of being labeled a criminal.”  Paul is expressing frustration and exhaustion.  Despite the difficulty of his personal predicament, he cared enough to warn fellow motorcyclists by exposing North Las Vegas.  Paul Lemoine is an American patriot and hero and he deserves our gratitude for shedding light on “A Very Concerning Situation.”

Special thanks to Taz, Dave, Renegade, and Bones – local community motorcycle activism leaders.  Each played key roles in this investigation.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Motorcycle Friendly Nevada?

Original Article: October 2010 Southwest Edition
By TigerLily

The spirit of motorcycling is under attack across the country on many fronts.  Twenty-two states still have laws mandating adults to wear helmets.  A California Bill recently passed to outlaw loud pipes.  Motorcycle rights activists predict that this law will have far-reaching, harmful effects, as it will be illegal to purchase aftermarket pipes that are even more quiet than stock pipes.  Checkpoints to stop motorcycles only are rising across the country.  

How did we get so far off our Constitutional  track?  Typically, laws are well intentioned.  But left unchecked, those laws will be the death of our American way of life - and most certainly, the death of our motorcycling culture.

This article takes a critical look at one seemingly benign – even benevolent – State program.  The point is that  - like other public bureaucracies - it is causing harm.  That example is the Nevada Rider Motorcycle Safety Program.

This Program was established in 1991.  Its primary purpose “is to conduct quality rider training throughout Nevada.”  It is funded by a $6 fee that only motorcyclists have to pay when registering their vehicle and by federal grants.  The total revenue was over a million dollars in fiscal years 2008 and 2009, combined.  I imagine that in 1991, a little extra fee on a motorcycle registration wasn’t a big deal.  Who cares, if it’s for riding skills, right?

First off, why should motorcyclists be the ONLY vehicles in Nevada required to pay an EXTRA fee for safety?  According to a 2009 NHTSA report, 52% of all motorcycle crashes involved another vehicle.  The report, however, fails to capture how many of the single-motorcycle crashes were caused by another vehicle that did not get hit.  So if other vehicles are causing us to crash, why should WE be the ones paying for ALL the safety?  It’s illogical, but we are stuck with this program – for now.

In the meantime, let’s examine Nevada's governor-appointed Advisory Board on Motorcycle Safety, which is responsible for the Nevada Rider Program.

1.  This year, $126,000 was taken from the Motorcycle Safety Program.  I first heard of this stunning report by Larry Loyd, MSF Instructor for Henderson Harley Davidson.  This report was confirmed by Ken Kiphart, Board Administrator, who said, "a transfer of funds [was] legal after the 2010 legislative special session..."  To Mr. Kiphart's credit, the removal of those funds was out of his control, as legislators passed a special law granting them new authority to move money from a number of specialty funds to balance the State budget.

2.  There appears to be no attempt to evaluate the effectiveness of this Program compared to private sector training options.  Therefore, the question becomes, why exist?  Vic "Doc" Moss, owner of Cycle School Motorcycle Training says: "The program was originally established when no private businesses were willing to provide training.  But when private industry is willing and able, there is no reason for taxpayers to subsidize this type of education.  The program should be phased out or shrink it to handle only the rural areas."  Mr. Nelson Ruehl, known as "Renegade," a motorcycle rights activist with several organizations including the U.S. Defenders says, "I feel motorcyclists take the safety course to avoid the DMV test and get a discount on their insurance.  But the same result is possible through the private sector, stimulating our economy while reducing tax payers' burden." 

3.  A representative of this Program testified against the repeal of the helmet law in the last legislative session The justification to oppose the repeal was on the grounds that the Bill called for mandatory training of new riders and this mandate would have increased the waiting list for those wanting to take the course.  With half a million dollars in the budget at that time, shouldn’t the program have found a means to recruit more educators and accommodate that predicted influx?

4.  The Program is undermining motorcycle tourism in the State of Nevada.   Public highway messages created by the Board and displayed during last year's Street Vibrations in Reno, were a topic of discussion at a recent Board meeting.  A Northern Nevada motorcyclist described the verbiage of the signs as, "tourist unfriendly."  In response, a Board member said, "They're not designed to be friendly, they're supposed to make a point." This type of arrogance is telling.  Renegade states, "In retail, odds are that for every person that complains to a manager there are 10 that don't.  And those 10 spread the word to 10 more.  Can we afford 100 hotel rooms to go empty in this economy?”  A reliable source, who wishes to remain anonymous, said that Arizona motorcyclists are holding their own event in Arizona concurrently with Las Vegas BikeFest as a means to protest the unfriendly law enforcement climate toward motorcyclists in Nevada.

5.  The program is an extra layer of bureaucracy to stonewall motorcyclists seeking justice for violations of citizens' rights.  In an effort to be law abiding and not be harassed by law enforcers for perceived helmet violations, B.O.L.T.'s David Stilwell, has for one year, consistently asked local law enforcement agencies, "What constitutes a legal helmet?"  Agency responses are, "Ask the Safety Board."  When he asks the Board, he is told to ask the law enforcement agencies, or the Attorney General, or the legislators.  Mr. Stilwell responds, "It's not the legislators or the Attorney General who pull us over.  It's the law enforcers, and they keep passing the buck."

Is our tax money being squandered by this motorcycle safety bureaucracy?

(The original article identified motorcycle friendly public official candidates that were endorsed by ABATE of Southern Nevada.)

Note:  See the angry letter to the editor about this report:

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Article and Pictures by TigerLily
Southwest Edition April 2010


In the distance I heard the sound of motorcycles, but not the usual Harley thunder. No, it was the vociferous vibrations of Victory..... the new American motorcycle.

I was off my bike, standing at the side of the road ready to take pictures of my Sin City Victory Rider brothers and sisters as they descended Route 163 into Laughlin. They were headed to the Seventh Annual Southwest Region, Victory Motorcycle Club (VMC) ride. It was a Valentines/President's day weekend, so it was anyone's guess as to how that would impact traffic and attendance. But all was perfect, including clear and sunny skies with temps touching 70's. That's why I'm calling this meet, “Lucky Seventh.”

A few weeks earlier, though, I wasn't feeling so lucky as I begrudgingly obeyed Mother Nature's winter orders to stay cage-bound. So on a dreary day, I logged-on to my favorite MC website, There, I saw a posting by my Arizona VMC friend, John Murrietta, titled, “SW Region Laughlin Ride 2010!” My heart jolted as memories came flooding back about my very first biker event, the Third Annual, in 2006..........

My husband, Burl, had a Victory Vegas and I had a Harley Sportster. As we pulled into the hotel parking in Laughlin, Burl excitingly pointed, “Look at all those Victories!” Back then, I still didn't know the difference between a Harley or Honda – much less a Victory. But I'm sure I dutifully acknowledged his thrill.

That weekend the event included a ride with only a couple dozen Victory motorcycles riding together on a sunny Saturday. Oh the thrill of my first, relatively large group ride. Burl had counseled me extensively on the etiquette and safety of riding in a group. But our perennial road captain, Tom Pillsbury, made it easy. Tom is a local from Fort Mojave, Arizona, and an expert on local roads.

Tom methodically lead the long entourage of bikers to Oatman, a tiny town in Arizona. Once a booming gold mine, today Oatman has a small strip of shops, cowboy gunfight shows, and a hotel where Clark Gable and Carol Lombard honeymooned.

And when the gold fever dropped, so were the donkeys that worked the mines. Now the donkeys' descendants stroll the strip looking for handouts. Tourists buy and feed them carrots. Baby donkeys have stickers plastered to their foreheads to keep tourists from feeding them carrots. A Victory biker asked me, “Why can't they have carrots?” I said, “Because the babies are still nursing.” The perv joked, “Hey, I want one of those stickers on my forehead!”

The ride to Oatman would have been satisfying enough. But Tom kept us moving on Old Route 66. The scenery up high captured my imagination of generations past. How difficult it must have been for families to load up a truck and migrate West. Those steep slopes and sharply twisted grades must have been hard on the coughing and belching pickups, and unnerving to the bone-tired passengers. But today, what a pleasure and luxury to ride Old 66 on a magically-maneuvering motorcycle. For Burl and me, it was a new-bee's thrill to climb to 3000 feet; from Laughlin to Oatman to Kingman then back to Laughlin at dusk.

Afterward, we cleaned up to visit the VIP suite where we first met John Murrietta, and his California event-plotting partners, Patti Rowe, and Tommy Wise. The three of them ditched the ride to make sure “horse d'ovaries” were ready for the riders. But blood shot eyes and deliberate enunciation proved their absence had nothing to do with setting up appetizers. And now that I know Patti, I can only imagine her being pried from a poker machine to visit with old friends and meet new ones like us. John was buzzed and made the biggest first impression on me with his large, thick, commanding voice and stature. His welcoming Latin, family-style charm took the edge off the stench of his gigantic cigar.

That was four years ago..........

So this winter, I opened John's online post: “Mark your Calendars!!!!! The 7th Annual SW Region Laughlin ride will be Friday-Sunday, February 12-14th, 2010. Super Bowl will be over, no off road race, we get the whole town. Rally up and let's make it the biggest ever.”

And indeed, Lucky Seventh was the grandest of all. Burl and I have watched this meet grow since attending that Third Annual. Regardless the size, the theme is consistent: a big group ride lead by Tom; a party afterward; and several riding options for smaller groups.

Not having attended the first or second meet, I got to wonder how this all got started. So I asked the baby blue-eyed Tommy, and he recalled:

“We can blame John. 'Just a quick overnight get together,' he says. I got a suite and invited everyone for cocktails and horse d' ovaries. Maybe 2 dozen the first year. By the 4th year we had over 80 people in the suite, spread out down the corridor, clouds of smoke billowing out of the 'cigar suite.' Hotel security said we had outgrown the suite and should try something different the next year. The banquet started in '08 because we needed more room!”

This year's event attracted some 90 Victory motorcycles and 120 banquet attendees from five Southwest states. This time, cigar-less, John worked the banquet floor, with his usual charm, wit, and humor. He introduced the Lucky Seventh key players and gave special recognition to Jim Martinez and his lovely wife, Trish, for being the furthest travelers. They plowed through 850 miles of snow to trailer their Victory Vegas all the way from Denver. I took their picture and found out what Jim had to say:

“Trish and I have been with other riding clubs but we feel most comfortable with Victory folks. We even considered taking a flight to Laughlin and renting a motorcycle. This weekend, we are celebrating Valentines and our 33rd wedding anniversary. And since Trish is a school teacher, President's Day was a convenient day off for her. We enjoyed a special time getting out of the snow, riding with Victory friends, and seeing Laughlin for the first time.”

The banquet also included a charity raffle for breast cancer with prizes donated by dealers, vendors, and others. The grand prize of $150 was awarded to a happy Harley rider who rode to Laughlin from California with his Victory pals.

After attendees settled back home, there was an online explosion of reports. Rick Gunder, from Prescott Valley, AZ, known in VMC circles as “Bearcat” summed it up nicely: “Seeing what riders are doing with their scoots is one of the absolute biggest reasons to attend an event and the SW Victory Meet was certainly well worth the time and effort! Can't wait for next year.”

Camaraderie, great riding, mild winters – these are reasons this event has grown exponentially in seven years. What started as a gathering of a few Victory enthusiasts that wanted to meet and share a ride, has grown into a formidable event. And this year's event was an especially Lucky Seventh!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


November 2010 Southwest Edition

(Pictures below by TigerLily) 


Las Vegas Metro Police Department (LVMPD) interrogated four San Diego motorcycle tourists at the Las Vegas BikeFest near the Cashman Center exit on Saturday afternoon, October 2. The Tourists’ new club, High Riders Motorcycle Club of San Diego, drew special attention by the khaki-clad LVMPD officers. What I witnessed there on Saturday afternoon, likely left an enduring impression on those tourists and most certainly on me.

I saw four patched bikers against a wall exiting Cashman. In front of each biker was a Metro police officer asking questions and jotting down notes. A fifth officer - the sergeant in charge –reviewed the notes, talked to the officers, and inspected each biker front to back and head to toe. The bikers were subdued and cooperative. I assumed the four bikers were getting citations, but I was wrong.

Two other Metro officers were observing from a nearby bench. A number of men and women and a few children seemed curious to look at the goings on as they passed by. I approached one of the officers sitting on the bench and asked why the bikers were getting citations. He said, “They’re not getting citations. We just don’t recognize their patch.” Next, I watched one of the bikers strip down to his waist. The sergeant in charge inspected a biker’s tattoos and took pictures. Then I heard an authoritative command from the officer on the bench, to “Show some respect!” I was surprised to learn he was commanding me, because I was quietly taking pictures from what I thought was a safe distance. So I turned on my recorder, identified myself, and talked to that officer. He clammed up and referred me to the sergeant. The sergeant told me the bikers were NOT getting citations and, said, “I can’t discuss their business and frankly, if they want to, they can.”

But when the first released biker approached me, the sergeant grabbed him by the shoulder and herded him and the other three men off the premises. I chased the four bikers who were pretty upset. Troy Lawson, 42 year-old club president, said, “I thought this was f’ing America!” I couldn’t get them to stop and talk to me because they said they were told to leave Nevada or be arrested. I could see the officers eyeballing us so we kept moving. Consistent with the sergeant’s report, the four men denied having been charged with any crime. So, why would Metro threaten and order these bikers to leave?

I went back into Cashman and reported what the bikers told me to Libertarian Art Lampitt, candidate for Governor of Nevada. He was there campaigning and saw the tail-end of the incident. He said, “Sadly, this is not an isolated incident. Most recently we have the fatal shootings of Trevon Cole, Eric Scott, and the medical marijuana raids on legitimate businesses that were helping the sick. The real problem is who do you call when it is the local government or local police that are violating our civil rights? I see the need for a state police force dedicated to protecting our civil rights from both local and federal law enforcement agencies. This is our government and it is supposed to be protecting our life, liberty, and property. The time for simply complaining is over. I am doing my part to make a difference, and if elected, I will continue to do my part in protecting our civil rights. This November 2nd, it will be up to the rest of us to do our part and vote for leaders that will protect our rights."

The bikers did not leave Nevada. They went downtown to their hotel, where I caught up to them that evening. Here is what the club president had to say:

My “brothers” and I formed a club less than two months ago. We collected a total of $1000 to come to BikeFest and we rode over nine hours to get here. We paid $50 to get into BikeFest, and that included the poker run. One of us had a high hand so we were hoping we won. The last poker stop was at Cashman but before checking our hand, three of us went to the bathroom. Only two stalls were available so I waited my turn. While I waited, I yelled out to my brothers, “Hey hurry up bitches! Let’s go get a beer.” A cop behind me said, “Are you calling me a Metro bitch?” I said, “No sir. I was talking to my brothers.” The metro cop said, “I don’t think so. Get your f’ing ass outside now!” I said, “Hey, I’m sorry. Really, I wasn’t talking to you.” But he ordered me out and I went. I was ordered to stand against the wall and before I knew it, all four of us were standing there answering questions and showing them our IDs. They wanted to know where we lived, where we worked, the make and model of our motorcycle; if we were a one percent club – questions like that. We gave them our social security numbers. My brothers have clean records. But then they saw that I had a felony. The next thing I know, a cop is in my face, saying things like, “You think you’re such a bad ass, don’t you?” It was like he was trying to make me lose my cool. But I didn’t. They ordered me to take my clothes off. I told them I wasn’t comfortable doing that because some of my tattoos are obscene. I don’t go around in public showing my tattoos. And I’m here in the open with kids and families all looking. But I didn’t have a choice. So I took off my clothes and that’s when they got really in my space to inspect my tattoos.

The VP of the club is 29 year-old Trent Cochran. He is a three-year Army Vet who served in South Korea as a Multiple Launch Rocket Systems Crew member. He said, “The only time we have ever been harassed is right here in Las Vegas, for nothing more than being at a biker’s convention.” A club member who wishes to remain anonymous for fear that an association with this incident might affect his employment status said, “We know bikers coming from California to Las Vegas who are stopped in Nevada, detained at the side of the road, searched, and harassed for like six hours.” The four motorcycle BikeFest tourists returned to San Diego at the crack of dawn on Sunday, vowing never to return.

After numerous contacts with Metro’s public affairs officers, one finally told me that tourists won’t be bothered if they are not in a gang and if they don’t have gang tattoos. When I reported this to David Stilwell, Nevada civil rights activist, he instructed me to, “Look up the Nevada law definition of ‘gang’ and you tell me – who the real gangsters are.”

According to Nevada law, the characteristics of a gang: “(a) Has a common name or identifying symbol; (b) Has particular conduct, status and customs indicative of it; and (c) Has as one of its common activities engaging in criminal activity punishable as a felony…”

If the bikers were forced to comply under the threat of guns and authority, the Metro officers committed “coercion,” a possible felony. Nevada law defines coercion when persons: “(a) Use violence or inflict injury … or threaten such violence or injury; (b) Deprive the person of any tool, implement or clothing, or hinder the person in the use thereof; or (c) Attempt to intimidate the person by threats or force.”

Michael L. Becker is a defense attorney for the Las Vegas Defense Group, with associates in California. One of his associates is a motorcycle rider and club member. Therefore, his firm is versed on the special legal issues that motorcyclists face. When he learned about the incident and that it involved a club member that had a prior felony, Mr. Becker said, “A felon who is not on parole or probation has the same right to be free from unreasonable search or seizure as anyone else.” As for Metro’s orders to leave Nevada, Becker said, “No police officer has the lawful right or authority to order anyone to leave the State of Nevada, or any other state, nor to threaten individuals with arrest upon reentry of the state.” In short, Mr. Becker advises to be courteous without waving rights; do not consent to any search; remain silent; take names; and lawyer-up.

But what did Metro do with the data they collected from the bikers? Stuart Rhodes, founder of Oath Keepers, informed me that our Clark County Sheriff Gillispie is a member of a Department of Homeland Security council to counter violent extremism. Stuart says, “Our Sheriff is taking part in branding freedom lovers and labeling them as “extremists.” Are motorcycle clubs being “branded?”

No answers from Sheriff Gillespie. But his opponent Laurie Bisch, running for Sheriff on November 2nd said, “The form Metro was using to collect data is an ‘Interview’ form. And I don’t believe it goes any further than Metro.” Unlike Gillespie - who was inaccessible for comment - Bisch advises that if a citizen has an unprofessional encounter with a law enforcer, it is helpful to get the names and badge numbers to file a complaint.

Is Gillespie the only anti-motorcyclist Sheriff in Nevada? In June, Vic “Doc” Moss, Master Sergeant, USAF, Retired, described his observations of law enforcement during a Wounded Warrior motorcycle rally in Hawthorne, Nevada. He called it “tyranny” and said, “Next year, someone needs to tell Sheriff Ed that we’re the good guys.” I have spoken to many local motorcyclists and the allegations of police officer abuses are suspiciously consistent with what I witnessed.

I reported this incident to anyone that would listen. Governor Gibbons’ public relations officer left this message on my voicemail, "I think you need to be in touch with the Attorney General's Office – not the Governor's." But when I asked our current Attorney General, Catherine Cortez Masto – who is running for re-election on November 2, her public relations officer said, “The Office of the Attorney General has no jurisdiction in this case – you will need to get your answers from Sheriff Gillespie.” Her opponent, Travis Barrick, for Attorney General disagreed. He said, “To say she has no jurisdiction over Metro is disingenuous in light of the fact that she has exerted her authority over numerous other agencies and subject matters.”

Mr. Barrick also commented about the incident at Cashman: “The actions of the Metro cops described by you are an outrage! What you related was a clear violation of the Bikers' civil rights. But unfortunately, the bikers did not appear to know their rights, so they caved to the unlawful pressure exerted by the Metro cops. We all know how aggressive Metro cops can be when they think that they can act with impunity. This attitude is a disgrace to the force and our City. It is also sad that no other citizens came to their rescue. But that is the result of a culture of fear and intimidation that Metro cultivates and preys upon. We can expect incidents like this to continue until the citizens become informed of their rights and are prepared to stand up for themselves and others. When incidents like this occur, we all need to be armed with video cameras to record the Metro cops’ behavior so that they can be identified and prosecuted for civil rights violations.”

The outrage expressed by Mr. Barrick’s statement is a reflection of his understanding of the motorcycling community because he is one of us. He is a Harley rider and comes from a long family line of motorcyclists dating back to his tiny Irish grandmother that rode an Indian. It will certainly take a strong person like Mr. Barrick as Attorney General, to hold law enforcement agencies – like Metro - accountable to We the People.

Was Doc correct to use the word “tyranny?” And could this khaki-clad incident be a precursor to a darker shade of brown?


Sgt. Rios, LVMPD, taking pics of the president's head tattoos.

The LVMPD sitting on the bench
told me to "show some respect."

What is the woman walking by thinking?

What lesson are the children learning?
This Army Vet didn't realize he didn't have to give up his I.D.
Despite the prez' objections, Sgt-in-Charge Rios took pics.

Despite objections, the sgt forced the prez to take off his shirt.

Sgt. Rios.