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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

How low can LE stoop to cover for a fellow officer?

this is bullshit…failed to yield when stopped at a light…
http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=%2F20100810%2FNEWS%2F100810029&odyssey=mod_mostview
IMPD: Officer in fatal motorcycle crash was impaired

An Indianapolis police officer tested at more than twice the legal limit for alcohol when he crashed his squad car into two motorcycles, killing one rider and critically injuring two others, according to a victim's relative.
Chief Paul Ciesielski confirmed Tuesday that Officer David Bisard tested positive for alcohol shortly after the crash that killed Eric Wells and injured Mary Mills and Kurt Weekly. Ciesielski and a spokeswoman with the Marion County prosecutor's office said additional details from the investigation will be released Wednesday.

IMPD officials declined to confirm Bisard's blood-alcohol level, but Wells' father said the family received word from the prosecutor's office that Bisard's blood-alcohol level tested at .19 percent. Under Indiana law, a driver is presumed drunk at .08 percent.
"We were absolutely numbed," Aaron Wells, 58, said. "You just never dream of a law enforcement officer who is sworn to protect the public being behind the wheel of a police cruiser at a high rate of speed, drunk."
The accident happened about 11:20 a.m. Friday at 56th Street and Brendon Way South Drive. Bisard, a canine officer, was responding to a request for assistance on a felony warrant and had his emergency lights and siren operating, police said.

Wells, 30, suffered head injuries and died. Weekly, 44, and Mills, 47, were injured and remained at Methodist Hospital Tuesday.
Bisard, who was slightly injured, was put on desk duty pending the results of the crash investigation.
Under IMPD policy, any officer who crashes a city-owned vehicle with even a trace of alcohol in his or her system faces a 30-day suspension for a first offense and termination for the second offense.
The department has been slow to release details of the crash and initially suggested the motorcyclists failed to yield to the officer.
"Several vehicles yielded and moved to the right shoulder{$326} however, three motorcycles were stopped in traffic in the left lane and did not move," Officer Brian K. Dixon, an IMPD spokesman, said in a statement released shortly after the crash. "The officer slowed, braked and swerved trying to avoid colliding with the motorcycles, but was unable to do so."

California Legislature passes Toll Road Privacy Bill

OFF THE WIRE
Question---"What is a Good Cause?'

From: "gill"

www.traffictechnologytoday.com/news.php?NewsID=24296
California Legislature passes Toll Road Privacy Bill
The California State Assembly on Monday voted 57 to 13 to pass a
Watered-down version of a bill giving motorists some privacy protection
When using toll roads. State Senator Joe Simitian authored the original
Legislation, which made it a crime for private companies or state
Agencies to compile detailed driving histories of motorists and share
The information for any purpose other than billing or ticketing with a
Requirement that unneeded information be swiftly purged.
"There's just no reason for a government agency to track the movements
Of Californians, let alone maintain that information in a database
Forever and ever," Simitian said in a statement.
Senate Bill 1268 stated that all account information be purged within
150 days of the date a customer closed his account. Toll road lobbyists
Had the provision amended so that it now reads that such information
Must be purged within four-and-a-half years - or later, if "cost
Constraints" are an issue. Toll road operators such as the South Bay
Expressway (SBX) complained about the expense of deleting files.
The legislation does prohibit transportation agencies from selling the
Broad amount of personal information typically gathered in a toll road
Database, including the driver's travel pattern data, address, telephone
Number, email address, license plate number, photograph, bank account
Information, and credit card number. The legislation would make travel
Histories of motorists available only to law enforcement armed with a
Search warrant or when the officer declares that he has a "good cause".

30 August 2010

Bikies and triads in waterfront drug conspiracy

OFF THE WIRE
Australia
Nick McKenzie
August 30, 2010

Missing . . . Hakan Ayik with a lingerie-clad companion.
INVESTIGATION

ONE of the nation's biggest investigations into organised crime has exposed an international drug importation syndicate with links to the Comanchero bikie gang, Chinese triads and corrupt Australian officials.

Operation Hoffman, a landmark multi-agency investigation led by the Australian Crime Commission (ACC), has also revealed the deep links between drug importers and rogue Australian maritime workers.

A joint investigation by the Herald and ABC TV's Four Corners into organised crime can also reveal that:

NSW Police have identified a group of drug-importing Sydney port workers with government maritime security cards who have been active since 2004.

In Victoria, authorities have uncovered links between corrupt Melbourne port workers, the Hells Angels and prominent Italian criminals.

Law enforcement agencies in NSW recently updated a list of 150 organised crime organisations that need targeting.

The two-year Operation Hoffman has found multimillion-dollar crime syndicates are operating like multinational enterprises, evading police by drawing on local and overseas resources and the latest technology.

It has led to big ecstasy, heroin and crystal methamphetamine drug busts across Australia, the biggest drug bust in Tonga and the discovery of a bikie armoury, including automatic weapons and imitation police equipment, in May last year. Those arrested include alleged drug runners with links to the Chinese triads and the Perth president of the Comanchero, Steven Milenkovski.

One of Hoffman's key targets is Hakan Ayik,32, from Sydney, who is understood to have been the local manager of an international drug syndicate with strong links to the triads and which used domestic criminal networks, including bikie gangs, as distributors and to provide muscle.

NSW Police intelligence describes Ayik as a ''very serious money-maker'' who ''generates a lot of money'' for the Comanchero and has multiple links to waterfront workers.

Operation Hoffman ended this month after NSW Police issued an arrest warrant for Ayik for drug trafficking. It is believed he is on the run.

The crime syndicate Hoffman targeted also has links to an allegedly corrupt NSW Police analyst, Terry Gregoriou, who, as the Herald revealed on Saturday, was charged in December for allegedly leaking police files to the Comanchero.

The syndicate has also cultivated contacts with figures with access to the NSW prison system, including a serving prison officer, to pass money and messages to jailed crime figures.

Hoffman's success lies in the co-operative efforts of traditionally mistrustful state and federal policing agencies, including the NSW Police, the NSW Crime Commission, the Australian Federal Police and the anti-money laundering agency Austrac.

But a senior law enforcement insider has revealed that despite its success, inadequate resourcing meant Operation Hoffman was unable to reach its potential. He said the criminal network it targeted would ''reform very, very quickly". The insider said the ACC needed far more investigators to target the movement of illicit funds overseas, a methodology crucial to Operation Hoffman.

The consensus among senior police is that the ACC is under-resourced given the size and reach of well-resourced underworld figures.

The federal Labor senator Steve Hutchins, who is briefed by senior police as chairman of the ACC parliamentary committee, said that given that big drug seizures did not affect the supply or price of drugs, Australia was clearly not winning the war against drug trafficking.

Simon Overland, the Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police, said that data supported the view that policing agencies were making only ''a small number of seizures in the total volume of drugs that come across the barrier".

This view is backed by a former assistant commissioner of the NSW Police, Clive Small, and the former detective inspector who headed Victoria's Purana taskforce, Jim O'Brien.

"You'd have to be kidding yourself if you thought you were getting any more than probably 10 or 15 per cent off the street," said Mr O'Brien.

Senator Hutchins called for reforms to combat organised crime on the waterfront. "The law enforcement agencies have been exposing what's been going on … it's whether or not we as politicians are prepared to give them the weapons … they need to combat it."

A state and federal policing taskforce to combat organised crime on the wharves will become fully operational in the next fortnight after delays due to inter-agency negotiations.

The chief executive of the Australian Crime Commission, John Lawler, has championed better co-operation among agencies.

Some Stats and some Propaganda

OFF THE WIRE
The high cost of traffic crashes
By Gary Richards

-------- 71% of costs come from cars/suvs, vs 12% from bikers . but
pedestrians are right up there (with bikers ) . . .

grichards@mercurynews.com

Aug 30:

costs of injuries from motor vehicle accidents

The cost of motor vehicle crashes averages out to nearly $500 a year for
every licensed driver in the United States in medical care and productivity
losses, according to a recent study -- costs that could be lowered if more
states implemented seat-belt, cell-phone and drunken-driving crackdowns.

The study, released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention, said the cost associated with injuries from crashes exceeded $99
billion nationwide. Factor in higher insurance premiums, taxes and travel
delays and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration concludes the
price tag is more than double that, at $230.6 billion.

"This study highlights the magnitude of the problem of crash-related
injuries from a cost perspective," said Grant Baldwin, director of CDC's
Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention, "and the numbers are
staggering."

CDC researchers used 2005 data because, at the time of the study, it
provided the most current source of national fatal and nonfatal injury and
cost data from multiple sources.

Traffic injuries and deaths have been falling, and in 2008 they were at
their lowest level since 1961. But traffic accidents remain the ninth
leading cause of deaths worldwide. By 2030, they are expected to become the
fifth leading cause of death, outranking diabetes, HIV/AIDS and hypertensive
heart disease.

The CDC report said safety gains in Europe have exceeded those in the U.S.
The blame, the study
concluded, falls on the many states that don't require helmets for
motorcyclists, lack seat belt laws that allow police to ticket people solely
for being unbuckled, lax laws involving teens and rules that fail to monitor
motorists convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Many European countries have crash death rates of 7 to 9 per 100,000 people,
which is a decline of more than 60 percent since the early 1980s. In the
United States, there are 15 to 16 fatalities per 100,000, a 35 percent
decline over the same period.

Safety advocates give the Golden State mostly good reviews on efforts to
lower those numbers.

"California has some of the best highway safety programs and laws," said
Jonathan Adkins, communications director of the Governors Highway Safety
Association, citing statewide crackdowns on cell phone use, seat-belt
compliance and sobriety checkpoints. "But there is room for improvement."

One possible improvement, he said, would be to prohibit teenagers from
driving with other teens in the car until they reach 18, instead of just the
first year they have a license.

"Seven states plus D.C. extend (teen rules) until age 18," Adkins said.
"There's research that shows that the older you extend it, the better, as it
gives the brain more time to develop and for judgment to improve."

California has been slow to require that all drunken-driving offenders use
an ignition interlock device to prevent them from driving. That idea is now
being tested in Alameda and three other counties.

The seat-belt approach in California has been one of the most successful in
the land. National insurance studies indicate that wearing safety belts cuts
the risk of auto injury or fatality in half. The message seems to have sunk
in.

Nearly 96 percent of California drivers and their passengers buckle up,
compared with 40 percent before the tougher law went into effect in 1994.
The state Office of Traffic Safety estimates that 1,300 lives a year have
been saved since 2005.

The average seat belt use in the nation is 83 percent.

To further reduce accidents, some say attention needs to be paid to
unlicensed and uninsured motorists.

"My concern is that many of these drivers don't want to be contacted by the
police for fear of a citation and/or impound," said Lt. Chris Monahan, of
the San Jose Police Department's traffic unit. "Because they are unlicensed
and uninsured, there is a high possibility they may hit and run. Those costs
are then passed on to society rather than the at-fault driver."

With Labor Day approaching, police throughout Santa Clara County are now
involved in a drunken-driving campaign. A crackdown on driving in school
zones is planned for next month, and three weeks ago, drivers using handheld
cell phones were the target during two days, with more than 2,500 tickets
issued in the nine Bay Area counties.

Drivers may see more of that.

New York and Connecticut are conducting pilot programs called "Phone in One
Hand. Ticket in the Other." These could be copied in California and
elsewhere. Congress, said Adkins, is expected to set aside more funds for
such campaigns.

"The crackdowns," he said, "are effective at raising awareness about the
dangers of distracted driving."

And, perhaps, at lowering the number of crashes and the pain they cause,
both human and financial.

Have you been in a crash? How much did it cost for auto repairs, medical
care and lost time at work? Contact Gary Richards at 408-920-5335.

Accident breakdown
Incidence and total lifetime costs of fatal and nonfatal accidents
involving motor vehicles:

Mercury News

Category
Percent of injuries
Percent of costs

Motor vehicle occupants
76% Percent of injuries
71% Percent of costs

Motorcyclists
6% Percent of injuries
12% Percent of costs

Pedes-
trians
5% Percent of injuries
10% Percent of costs

Bicyclists
13% Percent of injuries
6% Percent of costs

Ages 15-24
28% Percent of injuries
31% Percent of costs

Source: Centers for Disease Control

Mercury News

http://www.mercurynews.com/mr-roadshow/ci_15917221

Parents Protest on First Day of School in Morton;

OFF THE WIRE
BY: Christopher Brewer
Source: chronline.com
Washington - ~Parents Protest on First Day of School in Morton; Moulton Calls in Sick~
High Drama: Twenty-Five Picket Outside School, Take Show to Moulton's House

MORTON - The first day of school in Morton brought a circus-like atmosphere to town with roughly 20 parents - and six members of the Gargoyles motorcycle group from Tacoma - protesting the reinstatement of a teacher who was a no-show to his own class.

Superintendent Tom Manke said Moulton used a sick day and stayed home - away from the display along Westlake Avenue as parents protested Moulton's reinstatement with signs reading "Quit Touching Our Kids," "If You Don't Protect the Children, We Will" and "Touch Yourself, Not Children."

Craigslist seller shot over motorcycle

GEORGIA:
http://www.clutchandchrome.com/news/news/craigslist-seller-shot-over-motorcycle Craigslist seller shot over motorcycle
| Written by Digits |
| While selling or buying a motorcycle online may be fraught with its own unique dangers, being shot or even killed is rarely among the downfalls considered.
But that appears to be what happened with 26 year old Thai Lam on Thursday in Georgia. Savannah police believe Brandon Kent, 26, saw Lam’s motorcycle for sale on Craigslist, allegedly arranged a meeting to look at it and then shot the owner.
Kent (pictured right) then fled on the motorcycle with police soon following. Reportedly, one officer attempting to keep up with the frantic radio reports of the stolen bike's location collided with a white pickup.
Even as the alleged killer tried to abandon the motorcycle and leave the area in a black sport utility vehicle police surrounded and captured him.
Kent remained jailed Friday on a murder charge.
The most famous killing to be associated with the online advertising website was the man dubbed the ‘Craigslist Killer’. Philip Markoff was given the name after he was accused of killing a woman he met through Craigslist in April 2009. He committed suicide August 15th in a Boston jail cell while awaiting trial.
In a lawsuit filed earlier this week, 17 states called for Craigslist to take immediate action to prohibit solicitation of prostitution through ads on its site. Otherwise complaints over the website have followed the online pattern of fraudulent checks and purchased goods never being delivered, many of the same challenges owners face when they try to sell their motorcycle online.

CHP's motorcycle grant strives to save lives

CALIFORNIA:

http://www.whittierdailynews.com/news/ci_15929282 CHP's motorcycle grant strives to save lives
Los Angeles County continues to have a high rate of motorcycle collision deaths and injuries within the California Highway Patrol's jurisdiction.
To assist in its efforts to combat this problem, the CHP has been awarded a two-year grant.
Officers from the CHP's Santa Fe Springs Area office will implement traffic safety programs focusing on motorcycle fatalities and injuries throughout the county.
The project will encompass enhanced enforcement including aerial support and a public education campaign.
Today, Aug. 29, seven CHP patrol cars and motorcycles will patrol area freeways; state routes 60 and 91, I-605 and I-5.
Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

ACLU wants Denver police to reopen probe into traffic stop

OFF THE WIRE
By Christopher N. Osher
The Denver Post
The American Civil Liberties Union is trying to persuade Denver police to reopen an internal affairs investigation into whether officers racially profiled and hurled racial epithets at two black men after a traffic stop.

Denver County Judge Aileen Ortiz-White found that the Feb. 13, 2009, traffic stop was unjustified and without probable cause. She ruled last year that "police conduct was extreme, profane and racially motivated."

An earlier police internal affairs investigation found the complaint could not be sustained because it could not be determined whether Sgt. Perry Speelman and Officers Tab Davis and Jesse Campion or the two men were telling the truth.

"Our clients want vindication of their rights," said Mark Silverstein, the legal director of the ACLU of Colorado. "They were victims of racial profiling. They were subjected to an illegal stop, and they were subjected to taunts and abuse, and they were made to sit on a curb on a night when the temperature dropped to 28 degrees, and they were made to sit there for 45 minutes."

Sonny Jackson, the public information officer for the Denver Police Department, said he could not comment because the department had not yet had a chance to study the ACLU request in full.

Silverstein said he decided to try to reopen the internal affairs investigation after the police reopened another investigation last week into whether two officers had lied about the beating of a man outside a Lower Downtown nightclub. Silverstein said the reopening of the other case was the first time he knew such cases could be reinvestigated.

"I thought that perhaps (the internal affairs bureau) would be interested in taking another look at this because a county court judge made these extraordinary factual findings in throwing out the charges and affirmatively finding the stop was racially motivated and was done without reasonable suspicion and without probable cause," he said.
Silverstein made his request Friday in a letter sent to Paul Jimenez, the internal affairs investigator.

Ashford Wortham and Cornelius Campbell pushed for the initial internal affairs investigation after their traffic stop. Police cited Wortham for failing to wear a seat belt, failure to adhere to a red light and failure to sign insurance and registration.

Wortham was handcuffed, but he was not arrested following the traffic stop. He testified that the officers came to the passenger side of the Acura Legend he was driving with their weapons drawn. He also said they made Campbell get out of the car after Campbell told them he feared for his life.

"We didn't show any aggression towards the officer," Wortham testified. "And so, you know, we were asking the whole time, why are we sitting out on the sidewalk. There were racial slurs made."

Ortiz-White did not find credible Sgt. Perry Speelman's testimony about the traffic stop in the 1100 block of Park Avenue, and the judge dismissed the traffic citations. Speelman testified the police never drew their weapons. He also denied police made racial slurs and claimed Wortham threatened to beat up the officers in an alley.
Christopher N. Osher: 303-954-1747 or cosher@denverpost.com
Read more: ACLU wants Denver police to reopen probe into traffic stop - The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_15918974#ixzz0y2QPzVEC

Man fires pepper spray on protesters outside Marine's funeral

OFF THE WIRE,AND A FUCKING SHAME THIS HAPPENS,HERE IN AMERICA
By the CNN Wire Staff
(CNN) -- A motorist fired pepper spray Saturday at a group of demonstrators and counter-protesters outside a funeral for a U.S. Marine in Omaha, Nebraska, police said.

The incident occurred shortly before 10 a.m. (11 a.m. ET) as members of a small Kansas church that protests at military funerals and counter-protesters stood nearly a block away from First United Methodist Church during services for Staff Sgt. Michael Bock, 26, who died August 13 in Afghanistan's Helmand province.

A man in a Ford-150 pickup truck drove by, extended his arm and sprayed with a large can, police said. His vehicle was stopped a few minutes later.

"Initial indications are he was probably targeting the Westboro Baptist Church" protesters, said officer Michael Pecha, a spokesman for Omaha police.

Hear from a CNN iReporter hit with pepper spray at the event

George Vogel, 62, who lives just north of Omaha, was booked for 16 counts of misdemeanor assault and one count of felony assault on a police officer for the pepper-spray exposure, police said. Vogel also faces one count of child neglect because his child was in the truck, Pecha told CNN.

Westboro members, led by pastor Fred Phelps, believe God is punishing the United States for "the sin of homosexuality" through events including soldiers' deaths. Members have traveled the country, shouting at grieving family members at funerals and displaying such signs as "Thank God for Dead Soldiers," "God Blew Up the Troops" and "AIDS Cures Fags."

A 2005 protest by church members at the funeral of a Missouri soldier prompted state lawmakers to pass legislation criminalizing picketing "in front or about" a funeral location or procession. A federal judge earlier this month rejected Missouri's tight restrictions, saying they violated the free speech clause of the First Amendment.

It was unclear Saturday evening exactly who had been pepper sprayed, but a Westboro member said no one in her group was affected.

The incident occurred during the funeral and while nearly 600 members of the Patriot Guard Riders ringed the church and stood vigil, the group's state leader said.

Scott Knudsen, Patriot Guard Riders captain for Nebraska, said no members of the Patriot Guard had any interaction with the church members or counter-protesters, which he numbered Saturday at about 12.

"We don't get close to them," Knudsen said of the Westboro members. "We have our backs to them."

Patriot Guard members, who come when they are invited by families, shield families from distraction, Knudsen said.

"We don't condone counter-protesters," said Knudsen, adding he was troubled by Saturday's incident.

"It's inappropriate," he said. "It's a funeral service."

Pecha also said that there were no altercations between Westboro members and the Patriot Guard.

Shirley Phelps-Roper, a member of Westboro Baptist Church, said Omaha police did not adequately control roughly 30 counter-protesters, who she said jostled with church members. She also challenged Knudsen's and Pecha's account, saying a few Patriot Guard members were among the counter-protesters.

The group was about 1,000 feet from the church when the driver came by. "Of course it was directed at us," Phelps-Roper, who is Fred Phelps' daughter, said of the pepper spray.

None of the 16 Westboro members on the corner were affected because they raised signs to shield themselves or turned away, Phelps-Roper said. The group returned home shortly afterward.

Extra officers were on hand for any possible altercations, but there were only verbal exchanges before the truck drove up, police said.

NY motorcyclists fight back

OFF THE WIRE
NEW YORK:
http://autos.aol.com/article/motorcycle-discrimination/ Motorcyclists Claim Discrimination New York City Group Fights Back
Posted: Aug 28, 2010 | By: Honey Berk | AOL Autos398 Motorcycle demonstrators attend a rally with the Coalition to Honor Ground Zero August 22, 2010 in New York. Getty Images© Steeped in the myth of leather-jacketed mayhem, the motorcycle is the ultimate image of freedom and power on the road. However, life on two wheels has become increasingly difficult for New York City motorcyclists. Over the past decade, bikers contend the city has turned up the heat on regulatory and legislative fronts, leading to growing complaints of harassment and accusations of discrimination.
With just 37,500 registered motorcycles in a city of 8.4 million people -- roughly one motorcycle for every 224 residents -- motorcyclists comprise a small minority in New York City, according to New York State Department of Motor Vehicles statistics. Like many minority groups, motorcyclists have long been underrepresented and their voices unheard. But after years of shaking off countless changes to regulations and procedures they consider unfair, the motorcycle community has begun to organize and fight back.
At the forefront of this movement is the New York Motorcycle & Scooter Task Force (NYMSTF), an advocacy group founded in 2009 by motorcyclist Cheryl Stewart, to help improve conditions for local riders.
"We're a bunch of motorcyclists that have been really, really anxious for a while about how our rights have been considerably eroded in New York City," Stewart explained. "It's been one thing after another."
For Stewart, the need to organize became apparent after a series of city-directed actions she believed were encroaching on motorcyclists' rights -- from quality of life issues, such as parking, to serious accusations of harassment and constitutional rights' violations at the hands of the New York Police Department and the New York State Police.
No (More) Parking
As one of the most densely populated cities in the world, it's hardly surprising that parking is a contentious issue in New York City. Though non-residents may be largely unsympathetic, the fact remains that motorcycles and scooters are treated differently in other cities.
San Francisco has designated motorcycle and scooter parking spots throughout the city, according to NYMSTF parking committee chair Jesse Erlbaum, as do Philadelphia, Boston, Austin, San Jose, Seattle, Cincinnati and a host of other U.S. cities, as well as international metropolises like Toronto, Paris, Berlin, Rome and London. In Austin, Toronto and parts of London, these two-wheeled vehicles are even allowed to park for free.
These cities recognize motorcycles and scooters as a "greener" form of transportation. Boston Mayor Thomas Menino acknowledged as much in a recent statement announcing dedicated motorcycle and scooter parking in his city, saying they are "smaller, and many are environmentally friendly, contributing less to congestion and air pollution, and requiring less space for curbside parking."
Not so in New York City, which has removed designated parking areas for two-wheeled vehicles in recent years, leaving Manhattan virtually free of motorcycle parking. The city even saw the two-wheeled vehicle exemption struck from its 2008 congestion-pricing plan before it ultimately failed to become law. This, despite the mayor’s office patterning its proposal on London’s law, which does exempt two-wheelers.
Both Mayor Michael Bloomberg's office and the city’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability declined interview requests for this story and referred us to the New York City Department of Transportation, which also refused comment. Former New York City Traffic Commissioner and New York Daily News traffic columnist "Gridlock Sam" Schwartz was willing to offer this assessment of the city’s attitude, however. "I don't even think the Richter scale needle moves when it comes to motorcycles in city planning and city government," he said.
Police Profiling
Even more alarming are reports of the NYPD conducting allegedly unconstitutional motorcycle-only checkpoints, and regularly ticketing riders based upon incorrect interpretation of motor vehicle regulations.
One of the most telling cases is that of Karen Perrine, a graphic designer from Staten Island, who was ticketed in October 2005 for riding her motorcycle in the high-occupancy-vehicle (HOV) lane on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. Armed with the knowledge that federal law permits motorcyclists to ride in HOV lanes on federally funded roadways, Perrine decided to fight the ticket in court with the assistance of the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA).
Perrine was initially found guilty based upon a New York Department of Transportation rule that prohibited motorcycles from using HOV lanes. But Perrine appealed the decision, and in the end succeeded in having it overturned. But it took nearly two-and-a-half years, and in the meantime she was fined for having excessive points on her license and had her auto insurance policy canceled.
The rule was clearly not in compliance with federal regulations, explained Imre Szauter, Government Affairs Manager at the AMA, yet the agency refused to change its rules because it said the NYPD opposed the change. Eventually, after an unsuccessful campaign by NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly to have motorcycles banned from HOV lanes (documented in a letter acquired by Szauter through a Freedom of Information request), New York City’s laws were brought into compliance with federal regulations.
During the course of Perrine's ordeal, the AMA documented other cases of motorcyclists receiving erroneous HOV lane tickets in places as far flung as Pittsburgh and Gilbert, AZ. But, unlike in New York City, local authorities dismissed each of these cases after they were informed of the federal law.
Perrine's battle has taken on almost legendary status, yet there are countless other riders who continue to be ticketed for regulations that are interpreted incorrectly, often after being pulled over at checkpoints that allegedly violate motorcyclists' constitutional rights, according to NYMSTF’s Stewart. These targeted motorcycle-only enforcement campaigns involve officers stopping all motorcyclists, whether there is reasonable suspicion or evidence of wrongdoing, but not cars and trucks.
"We believe they're unconstitutional traffic stops when they pull over only two-wheeled vehicles," Stewart explained.
The NYMSTF website offers a law enforcement discrimination complaint form riders can submit if they feel they were targeted unfairly or otherwise mistreated. The group has also created a checkpoint alert system that encourages riders to send a text message to alert others about checkpoints via Twitter or RSS feed.
When questioned about these traffic stops and allegations of discrimination against motorcyclists, the Deputy Commissioner of Public Information for the NYPD declined to comment. When contacted for information on complaints filed against NYPD officers by motorcyclists, Graham Daw, Director of Intergovernmental and Legal Affairs for the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB), advised that the agency is not able to separate out complaints involving motorcyclists.
The AMA's Szauter said the New York State Police also implement motorcycle-only checkpoints, during major motorcycle events, such as the Americade rally in Lake George, NY. All motorcyclists are diverted through a highway rest area, explained Szauter, where state troopers do a quick scan for illegal helmets and excessively loud exhaust pipes, though he added that riders can also have their paperwork or other equipment checked.
Szauter notes that motorcycle-only checkpoints are not unique to New York, citing recent clampdowns on riders in Washington and Utah. Set up over Memorial Day weekend following a professional motorcycle racing event, the Utah checkpoint created such a large traffic back-up that it was shut down after two hours by the Utah Highway Patrol, who then issued a public apology via the AMA.
When questioned about the constitutionality of these checkpoints, Dan Moynihan, Assistant Counsel for the New York State Police, explained: "Much like members of the State Police check only boats for compliance with the special provisions of the Navigation Law that are only applicable to boats, or only snowmobiles for compliance with the special provisions of the Park and Recreation Laws that only apply to them, they check only motorcycles for compliance with the motorcycle equipment laws."
"This is not any form of illegal profiling anymore than the Legislature itself profiled motorcycles when it passed special equipment requirements that were only applicable to motorcycles," Moynihan added.
Lieutenant Jim Halvorsen, commanding officer of the New York State Police Motor Unit, explained that motorcycle-only checkpoints are designed specifically to enforce and encourage motorcycle safety.
"If there was a way we could make motorcycles safer without ever writing a ticket, someone please tell me," said Halvorsen. "We're interested in saving lives and preventing injuries, and it's proven that strict enforcement does save lives."
Halvorsen, who also heads up the Division Motorcycle Enforcement and Education Program, said state troopers regularly attend events to perform courtesy inspections and use the opportunity to educate riders about safety.
However, critics contend that these motorcycle-only checkpoints are designed to harass motorcyclists. In June 2009, a class action lawsuit was filed in upstate New York accusing the State Police and other officials of violating riders' constitutional rights by establishing motorcycle-only road blocks intended to harass riders who were attempting to travel to motorcycle rallies. Court documents show the case against some of the named defendants has been dismissed, but a spokesperson for plaintiffs' attorney Mitchell Proner, of Proner & Proner, confirmed the case is still proceeding against others. Halvorsen is a named defendant, and is due to be deposed in the case.
"As far as police go, yes, motorcyclists are more highly scrutinized," Perrine said, "and if they see you, they'll try to get you."

Monday, August 30, 2010

Choppers seized by police

OFF THE WIRE
NEW ZEALAND
By Anna Leask
5:30 AM Sunday Aug 29, 2010
Nine motorbikes worth up to $50,000 each were seized from a West Auckland warehouse this week by police investigating the criminal activities of a man accused of manufacturing methamphetamine.

The Harley Davidson and American Chopper bikes belonged to Scott Corless, an associate of the Head Hunters gang, who will stand trial in the High Court on nine charges relating to a P-lab bust in Titirangi in May.

The charges include manufacturing methamphetamine, possession of chemicals and equipment used to manufacture the drug, allowing his premises to be used for manufacture, unlawful possession of a firearm and possession of explosives.

Corless has two more jury trials coming up for methamphetamine related charges. They are not connected to the Titirangi bust. He is also facing a charge of escaping custody.

Armed police raided the Otitori Bay Rd house Corless was living in on May 7 and discovered a P-lab on the property, as well as a collection of cars and motorbikes including seven Choppers and a Mustang.

Corless owns motorcycle importing business Custom & Performance Specialties that deals in "outrageously expensive" one-off motorcycles including American Choppers and Harleys - some of which were seized by police in this week's raid.

One of the bikes was listed on Corless' website valued at $35,995 and another at $51,995.

Sergeant David Hines said a Ford F150 truck was also seized from the warehouse, which is owned by an associate of Corless.

Police also seized several more Choppers and a jetski from one of Corless' West Auckland properties on August 3.

"This is part of an ongoing investigation into his criminal offending," Hines said.

"He effectively said when he was in court that he'd locked them [the vehicles] in storage for safe keeping."

In 2008 legislation was changed so police could seize anything they thought was relevant to their investigation while searching a property. Before the change, police could only uplift items listed on a search warrant.

Police were still looking for other vehicles owned by Corless but Hines would not be drawn on specifics.

In 2007 Corless was one of seven people who walked free on methamphetamine charges following a case that dragged on for five years.

Justice Raynor Asher granted a stay of proceedings for the seven on the basis that the delays in getting the case to completion had taken too long.

Jesup bar fight results in numerous arrests

OFF THE WIRE
Hinesville firefighter among suspects
By Denise Etheridge
Staff writer
detheridge@coastalcourier.com

A Hinesville firefighter who allegedly participated in a barroom brawl around 10 p.m. Aug. 12 at the Oyster Shack’s Daily News Neighborhood Pub in Jesup was arrested last week along with 15 other people.
Donald Crouch, 37, of Jesup, was charged with affray, a misdemeanor, and unlawful acts of criminal street gangs, a felony, confirmed Jesup Police Detective Greg Rozier.
Hinesville Fire Chief Lamar Cook said he could not comment on Crouch’s arrest and referred the Courier to Holly Stevens, the city’s personnel director.
“Because it is a personnel-related issue, it is sensitive information, which we don’t release,” Stevens said. “I can say he is still an employee of the city of Hinesville.”
Stevens would not comment on whether disciplinary action has been taken against Crouch or if the firefighter has been placed on administrative leave.
Rozier said the fight, “which didn’t last a minute,” took place between members of the Iron Order of Wayne County, the biker club to which Crouch allegedly belongs, and the Wingmen of Long County.
“It’s a rivalry that’s been going on between these two biker groups for a while,” the detective said.
Rozier said the Iron Order members were having supper when the Wingmen came in. The biker groups stepped outside the restaurant and “words were exchanged” in the parking lot, he said.
Rozier said the fight didn’t actually begin until “the rest of the Wingmen from Ludowici arrived.”
During the scuffle, a shot was fired, the
detective said. The bullet likely went into the ground, he said, but it is not known who fired the gun.
In addition to Crouch, a number of
Hinesville and Richmond Hill residents were arrested, the detective confirmed.
Iron Order members arrested include James Smith, 42, of Richmond Hill; Ronald Spear, 55, of Statesboro; Joseph Savard, 50, of Glennville; Anthony MacIntire, 33, of Clarksville; and Jesup residents Billy James Armstrong, 39; Charles Caldwell, 54; and Glenn Pond, 29.
Wingmen members arrested include Hinesville residents Max Epling, 38, Herbert Gaskin, 44, and Charles Martin, 52. Ludowici Wingmen arrested were Steven Koren, 41, and Sean Tucker, 37. Richmond Hill Wingmen who were arrested include James Krisiewicz, 42, and Eugene Schadler, 38. Also arrested was Anthony McCabe, 42, of Bloomingdale.
Rozier said all the bikers posted bond and likely will be tried in Wayne County Superior Court.

Bandidos face court for assault

OFF THE WIRE, Australia
Source: qt.com.au
Bandidos face court for assault
30th August 2010

Bandidos Motorcycle Club members outside Ipswich Courthouse on Thursday.
SENIOR members of an Ipswich motorcycle gang will face trial accused of bashing a former member at their clubhouse.

Bandidos bikies Craig Thomas Gorman, 39, Gary Thomas Williams, 50, and Mark William Genrich, 45, are accused of attacking the man after claiming he was an intravenous drug user.

Ipswich Magistrates Court heard David Joseph Beddow, 35, was told to meet the men at the Turley Street club on February 18 last year.

After the group arrived Beddow was allegedly called “junkie scum” and accused of injecting drugs before he was told he owed the club $1700 in membership fees and for work done on his motorcycle.

Beddow gave evidence in court and denied using needles, which is banned under club rules.

He told the court he was accused of “hiding behind the club name and colours and using the name in vain... and going around intimidating people”. Williams allegedly king hit Beddow.

Jeffrey Wayne West, 40, and Gorman allegedly went to his home to collect his club clothes and pins while Beddow stayed at the club house.

In the hours that followed, Beddow alleged he was punched, made to mop up his own blood, hit with a sledge hammer handle and a broken pool cue, kicked in the ribs and forced to hold a burning note book until it blistered his fingers.Beddow was then allegedly released and told not to go to the cops or the Bandidos would “kill him”, to pay $300 every Friday back to the club.

The court was heard Williams is the president of the Ipswich Bandidos chapter, Gorman is the sergeant-at-arms and in charge of security, Genrich is the secretary and West is the vice president.

Beddow said he initially did not complain to police but decided to become an informant after the bikies allegedly arrived at his home with guns. He went to a doctor a few days after the alleged incident to get a blood test and get pain killers for his sore ribs.

But the doctor gave evidence that he did not record anything in his notes about Beddow having bruises or blisters.

Defence lawyer Tim Meehan said there was no evidence that Beddow had ever been assaulted and suggested he went to police with false allegations to get out of paying back his debt.

Gorman, Williams and Genrich face charges of assault occasioning bodily harm, deprivation of liberty and robbery in company with violence.

West, 40, also faced the committal hearing, but Ms MacCallum found there was not enough evidence to commit him for trial on the charges and they were dismissed.

Helmet failures

OFF THE WIRE,AND VERY INFORMATIVE
from
http://www.all-motorcycle-helmets.com/18431-motorcycle-helmet-failures.html

Motorcycle helmet failures result in unparalleled settlements for brain-injured riders


The Christopher Symons Case
On April 23, 1995, 16-year-old high school student Christopher Symons, a resident of Naples, Florida, was riding his Honda motor scooter to work on a residential street in Naples, when another motorist ran a stop sign in front of him, causing a collision. Although it was an extremely low-speed collision, and although Christopher was wearing a full-face motorcycle helmet, he suffered catastrophic brain injuries, which left him wheelchair-bound and with permanent speech and motor skill dysfunction.

At the time of his collision, Christopher was wearing a "Griffin GS 520" motorcycle helmet, manufactured by the Canadian company "Griffin Products, Inc." He did not suffer any broken bones or injuries in the collision whatsoever, except his severe brain injury. "The Griffin motorcycle helmet provided Chris Symons with a false sense of security, which is one of the most dangerous things of all," said Plaintiffs’ counsel David Bright, of the law firm of Watts Law Firm.

The James Hemphill Case
Two years later almost to the day, on April 22, 1997, 24-year-old James Hemphill, a resident of Ocala, Florida, was riding his Suzuki motorcycle on a similar residential street in his hometown, when a motorist failed to yield the right-of-way in front of him, causing a collision. Like Christopher Symons, James Hemphill was wearing a full-face motorcycle helmet. Like Christopher Symons, James Hemphill suffered a low-speed collision. Once again, although it was an extremely low-speed collision, and although James was wearing a full-face motorcycle helmet, he suffered catastrophic brain injuries, which left him with permanent speech, motor skill, and cognitive dysfunction.

Ironically, at the time of his collision, James Hemphill was wearing a "Helmtec 510" motorcycle helmet, manufactured by the same Canadian company that made the Griffin helmet that Christopher Symons was wearing in his accident two years earlier. In James Hemphill’s accident, his motorcycle helmet shattered upon impact, leaving him with numerous head and facial fractures, including a basilar skull fracture.

Further investigation revealed that Christopher Symons’ "Griffin GS 520" and James Hemphill’s "Helmtec 510" were actually identical helmets. They are, in fact, the same helmet model, made by the same company and sold under different brand names and model numbers. James Hemphill’s helmet only provided the appearance of safety," said Plaintiffs’ counsel Mikal Watts, of the law firm of Watts Law Firm.

Symons and Hemphill filed separate lawsuits in Federal court against the companies that manufactured their helmets, alleging that the helmets failed to protect them from head and brain injuries, even in their low-impact accidents.

Defects in the Motorcycle Helmets
In their lawsuits, both Symons and Hemphill alleged that there were numerous defects in their identical helmets that rendered them unsafe. In both cases, the helmet failed to protect the wearer from head and brain injuries in low-speed collisions. In both cases, the supposedly rigid outer shell of the helmet failed, either by flexing or "oil canning", or by shattering completely.

Christopher and James’ attorneys established that the polycarbonate plastic material forming the outer shells of their helmets was improperly molded, as the manufacturer used recycled or "regrind" polycarbonate. The helmets therefore lacked the proper stiffness and strength to protect the wearer. To determine the molecular weight of the helmets, scientists performed "Intrinsic Viscosity Tests" on the helmet shells. The test results showed that Chris Symons’ helmet had a 9.89% reduction in intrinsic viscosity, while James Hemphill’s helmet had a 12% reduction. Manufacturers’ specifications for the polycarbonate material warn that a mere 9% drop in intrinsic viscosity will result in 100% failures of the motorcycle helmet shell.

Tests also showed that both of the helmet shells were too thin, even thinner than the minimum thickness specified by the polycarbonate manufacturer, rendering them prone to flexing and shattering upon impact.

The Manufacturer Was Aware of the Defects
Shockingly, the manufacturer of the helmets was aware of serious problems in its helmets long before Christopher Symons and James Hemphill were tragically injured. The helmet manufacturer was notified that many of its helmets did not survive testing for U.S. Department of Transportation and Canadian Standards minimum helmet requirements. Nevertheless, the manufacturer affixed a "DOT" sticker to the helmets, indicating compliance, and used the Canadian Standards logo in its advertisements.

After being notified that its helmets shattered during testing the manufacturer modified the design of the helmet, in hopes of passing CSA testing. This occurred in late 1988 or early 1989, after Christopher Symons and James Hemphill’s helmets had already been made and sold. "This is the classic situation that calls for a full recall of the product. Instead, Griffin/Helmtec just left the old models on the shelf for Chris Symons and James Hemphill to buy," said Plaintiffs’ counsel David Bright, of Watts Law Firm.

The Manufacturer Has a Long History of Helmet Defects
While Christopher Symons’ bore the "Griffin" name and James Hemphill’s helmet was a "Helmtec", they were, in reality, the same helmet model, made by the same manufacturer. The company intermittently went by the name of "Griffin", "Helmtec", "Ranger", and "Canstar" before ceasing its operations in the early 1990s. Throughout its history, in each of its various incarnations, it faced numerous consumer complaints and lawsuits. "The Defendant’s corporate shell game and frequent name changes prolonged the fight, but they couldn’t avoid being finally brought to justice," said Plaintiffs’ counsel Mikal Watts, of the law firm of Watts Law Firm

There Have Been Widespread Occurrences of Griffin/Helmtec Motorcycle Helmet Failures
Attorneys for the Plaintiffs learned that among the over 60 claims and lawsuits regarding these helmets and their predecessors, the following incidents involved the very same model helmet:
• On September 19, 1986, Michelle Hamilton received serious brain injuries when her "Griffin 520" helmet shattered upon impact in Fort Myers, Florida.
• On June 7, 1987, Gary Bewley suffered serious brain injuries when his "Griffin 155" helmet shattered on impact in Atchison, Kansas.
• On October 21, 1988, Sam Worstell suffered serious brain injuries when his "Griffin 510" helmet shattered on impact in Mobile, Alabama.
• On September 5, 1989, David Pfeiffer died when his "Ranger 510" helmet shattered on impact in Huntsville, Alabama.
• On July 23, 1990, James Bennett, Jr., died when his "Ranger 520" helmet shattered on impact in Citronell, Alabama.
• On June 25, 1992, Joshua Bennett died when his "Ranger 520" helmet shattered on impact in Rusk County, Texas.
• On March 18, 1994, Juan Tamez suffered serious brain injuries when his "Ranger 510" helmet shattered on impact in Edinburg, Texas.
• On April 23, 1995, Christopher Symons suffered serious brain injuries when his "Griffin 520" "oil canned" on impact in Naples, Florida.
• On April 22, 1997, James Hemphill suffered serious brain injuries when his "Helmtec 510" helmet shattered on impact in Ocala, Florida.

"These cases underscore the critical need to get these products off the shelves and away from the consumer before they can do more harm," said Plaintiffs’ counsel David Bright, of the law firm of Watts Law Firm.

The manufacturer of Christopher Symons’ and James Hemphill’s motorcycle helmets argued that the helmets performed reasonably, and that helmets should not be expected to protect the wearer from all head and brain injuries. However, U.S. government studies have shown that properly constructed motorcycle helmets prevent from 67 percent to 80 percent of all brain injuries in motorcycle accidents, including the most common brain injuries, which are rotationally induced. These government studies have been the basis for numerous state laws requiring helmets to be worn by motorcyclists.

Author
Tyler Wright

At Least 4 Injured in Motorcycle Gang Shootout

OFF THE WIRE
By Nicole E. Matthews
myfoxphoenix.com
CHINO VALLEY, Ariz. - At least four people have been injured in a shootout on Saturday that occurred in Chino Valley, a little more than an hour north of the valley, in Yavapai County.

Just after noon on Saturday, witnesses said rival motorcycle gangs started firing guns at each other near or inside a home. At least four people, and possibly a fifth person, were shot.

One person was airlifted to a Phoenix hospital after the shooting, which was reportedly between the Hells Angels and the Vagos Motorcycle Club. Both motorcycle gangs apparently have some members living near each other in the rural area, which has a population of 10,000.

There has been an ongoing power struggle between the two gangs, but up to this point, it was centered in the Kingman area.

SKY FOX was at the scene, along with about 20 Arizona Department of Safety officers and multiple Yavapai County Sheriff's deputies on Saturday afternoon.

It was not yet known Saturday night how many people had been taken into custody, although there were unconfirmed reports of as many as 60 gang members being detained and at least several arrests being made.

Authorities said there were also fears that more bikers could be heading up to Chino Valley to retaliate. At least 12 YCSO units remained near the home Saturday night, trying to keep the peace.

Residents in the area of Road 4 North and Yuma Drive were being asked to stay in their homes Saturday.

27Arrested After Rival Motorcycle Gang Shootout

OFF THE WIRE
CHINO VALLEY, Ariz. - Twenty-seven people have been booked on charges ranging from attempted murder and aggravated assault to participation in a criminal street gang after shootings that involved members of rival motorcycle gangs, the Vagos and the Hells Angels, the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office said Sunday.

Detectives estimated at least 50 rounds were fired during the shootings Saturday in the small community of Chino Valley, north of Prescott.

At least five people were shot, but none of the wounds was life-threatening, said Yavapai sheriff's spokesman Dwight D'Evelyn.

Detectives were trying to locate one injured gang member who was helped away from the scene in an unknown vehicle, he said.

The 27 suspects were booked at the Camp Verde Detention Center on charges including attempted homicide, aggravated assault, endangerment, participation in a criminal street gang, and unlawful assembly. Booking records and photographs were expected to be released on Monday.

Investigators remained in Chino Valley on Sunday, examining and recovering evidence. Several motorcycles were impounded.

The shootings brought dozens of Arizona law enforcement officers to the scene, including members of the Arizona State Gang Task Force. Sheriff's dispatchers started receiving calls about gunshots after noon, D'Evelyn said.

Gang members had confronted each other at that time and shots were fired along Yuma Drive between Road 3 and 4 North, according to a news release from the sheriff's department, The rival gangs use Chino Valley houses that are only blocks from each other on Yuma Drive.

Chino Valley is about 100 miles northwest of Phoenix.

In December, an Arizona Department of Public Safety spokesman said an ongoing power struggle in northwestern Arizona between the Vagos and the Hells Angels had led to a series of violent assaults.

YCSO was assisted by numerous area law enforcement agencies including the Chino Valley Police Department, US Forest Service Law Enforcement, Department of Public Safety, Prescott and Prescott Valley Police Departments, and gang specialists assigned to GIITEM (Gang and Immigration Intelligence Enforcement Mission) the Arizona State Gang Task Force.

5 Men Charged in Motorcycle Gang Shootout

OFF THE WIRE
CHINO VALLEY, Ariz. - Charges have been filed against five men who allegedly participated in a weekend shooting between rival motorcycle gangs in Chino Valley.

John Anthony Bernard, Kiley Steven Hill, Robert Edward Kittredge, Bruce Andrew Schweigert Sr., and Larry Dean Scott Jr. were each charged with a number of counts of aggravated assault, disorderly conduct, and participating in a criminal street gang.

They are being held in the Yavapai County Detention Center on $75,000 bond.

The two primary gangs involved are the Hells Angels and Vagos. Five people were wounded during the shooting Saturday afternoon, during which an estimated 50 rounds were fired.

Townspeople Talk About Motorcycle Gang Shootout

OFF THE WIRE
CHINO VALLEY, Ariz. - Only on FOX -- The Hells Angels motorcycle gang is something we don't hear about until there are problems, usually involving shots fired, which is exactly what happened last weekend north of the valley.

Five men (see pictures at left) remain behind bars in connection with last weekend’s shootout in Chino Valley. There were 27 people arrested initially after what law enforcement said was a confrontation between biker gangs, with the other gang being the Vagos.


FOX goes back to discover more on the showdown in Chino Valley. Linda Williams has more.

Armed police stamp out illegal gang bar

OFF THE WIRE
NEW ZEALAND
Armed police arrested more than 50 people in a raid on an illegal gang bar in Nelson last night.

Teams of officers and armed offenders squad members raided the Red Devils gang house on Natalie St shortly before midnight with a warrant issued under the Sale of Liquor Act, Nelson area commander Inspector Brian McGurk said.

They seized a large amount of alcohol, a cash till, two fridges, five laptop computers, suspected illegal drugs, documents, and more than $7000 cash.

Five people were arrested and charged with allowing an unlicensed premise to be used for the sale of liquor.

Another 45 people are likely to face charges of being found on an unlicensed premise kept as a place of resort for the consumption of liquor.

One woman was charged with obstructing police, while another two people were charged with possession of methamphetamine.

Mr McGurk told NZPA the gang property, an old house at the end of a cul-de-sac in a commercial area, was surrounded by high wooden fences on all sides.

The kitchen area had been set up as a bar with a cash till, fridges full of alcohol and glassware.

The raid was the first on the property, and followed a police investigation into activities at the address.

Mr McGurk said the Red Devils were regarded as a puppet gang of the Hells Angels. Members of the Hells Angels and the Headhunters were among those charged.

Police from Christchurch and armed offenders squad members assisted with the raid because of the large number of people at the gang address.

Mr McGurk said police were also aware that one of the gang members had recently been arrested for allegedly importing a restricted weapon.

All 53 people facing charges have been remanded on bail to appear in Nelson District Court on September 28.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Fourth Amendment Rights

OFF THE WIRE
On August 24, 2010, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in the case of Millender v. County of Los Angeles, et al. (07-55518), affirmed that a search warrant requesting the seizure of "all handguns, rifles or shotguns of any caliber, or any firearms capable of firing ammunition..." was unlawful, when the deputies who sought the warrant were aware that they were searching for one specific firearm. This opinion confirmed the position advocated by the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the California Rifle and Pistol Association (CRPA) Foundation in their amicus (friend of the court) brief filed in support of the Millenders on October 22, 2009. A copy of the brief, along with the opinion, other case related brief, and memorandum analyzing the opinion are posted on www.calgunlaws.com.

No right is more clearly established under the Fourth Amendment than the right not to be subject to search and seizure under a general warrant (i.e., a warrant not based on probable cause and not particularly describing the place to be searched and the person or thing to be seized). And, as the Second Amendment makes clear, firearms in general are lawful to possess, and may not be seized without probable cause to believe that a specific firearm was used in a crime.

The NRA/CRPA amicus brief challenged the ability of law enforcement to write over-broad "general" search warrants which allow police to seize any and all firearms an individual may possess, even when police only have "probable cause" to search for a particular firearm. Far too often police seize legal firearms collections even when most of those firearms are not alleged to be part of a criminal offense. This is sometimes driven by a political motivation to increase gun seizure statistics so police can seek increased funding.

This deprivation of property often results in damage to the firearms and inevitably causes the owner to incur significant expense and legal fees in getting the firearms back. The purpose of the NRA/CRPA brief was to convince the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to publish a binding precedent to prevent these search and seizure abuses in the future. And the Ninth Circuit has.

Further actions to notify all California law enforcement agencies of their obligations is pending.

To fight for the self-defense civil rights of all Californians, the NRA and CRPA Foundation have joined forces to create the Legal Action Project (LAP). Through LAP, NRA/CRPAF attorneys fight against ill-conceived gun control laws and ordinances, educate state and local officials about available programs that are effective in reducing accidents and violence without infringing on the rights of law-abiding gun owners, and produce valid science about game and wildlife resource management.

To contribute to the NRA / CRPAF Legal Action Project (LAP) and support this and similar efforts and Second Amendment litigation in California, visit www.crpafoundation.org.
__________________

GPS - Fed court allows DEA to violate 4th amendment.

OFF THE WIRE
I guess it's best to always try to answer your own question. If anyone else was wondering here is the info.

http://www.narlo.org/images/sign.jpg

Promising footy star trapped in gang war

OFF THE WIRE
Source: adelaidenow.com.au
Australia
A PROMISING footballer touted as a future AFL star is trying to avoid being caught up in the escalating gang war between the New Boys and Hells Angels.
Three years ago, Dylan Jessen was expected by many football experts to be among the top 20 picks of the upcoming draft.

Instead, the 20-year-old is now trying to stay out of a blood feud between two violent gangs in a bloody gang war.

Starring in the underage competition and selected to play for junior state teams, Jessen impressed AFL recruits with his tough, uncompromising style.

His state underage teammates included Crows Jared Petrenko and James Sellar, as well as Carlton star Bryce Gibbs.

Unfortunately for Jessen, there were other types of scouts monitoring his progress.

When he was overlooked in the 2008 draft, instead of heading to powerful SANFL club Central District, Jessen became associated with the New Boys street gang.

Start of sidebar. Skip to end of sidebar.
Related CoveragePolice ultimatum to gang violence Adelaide Now, 9 days ago
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Gunshots spark suburban terror Adelaide Now, 4 Aug 2010
.End of sidebar. Return to start of sidebar.
How exactly that came about is a mystery.

However, at that time, the New Boys had to have known there was a battle looming with bikie gangs, most notably the Hells Angels.

What is known is that the New Boys - who have a core membership of between 20 and 30 but with up to 100 associates - were the fastest growing gang in Adelaide.

Jessen has refused to comment, but a family member has confirmed to The Advertiser that Jessen had been involved with the New Boys but was now trying to cut all ties with the gang.

While refusing to comment on Jessen's case directly, Crime Gangs Taskforce Detective Superintendent Des Bray said it was disheartening to see young men drawn into the underworld during the New Boys "aggressive" recruiting drive between May 2008 and earlier this year.

"When the New Boys were initially established there was an aggressive recruiting campaign during which quite a few young people were unfortunately drawn into their web," Supt Bray said.

"It is always a pity to see young people become involved in criminal gangs and drawn into a life of crime."

"To see that someone, who obviously has potential, (then) abandon that potential ... is such a waste of that person's life and potential to succeed."

Supt Bray said the New Boys' recruiting drive "stabilised" about six months ago when the gang's numbers hit the perceived optimum membership level.

He said the reality of gangster life was a stark contrast to that presented in the movies.

"All the gangs dictate they come first, your family and friends comes second and third.

"Real families do not make you commit crimes. Real families do not take your tattoo off with an angle grinder if you want to leave the family," he said. "People in gangs need to know that it is never too late to get out ... and divorce themselves from a life of crime.

"Everyone has the opportunity to get out, return to a lawful and honest existence, and make a great life for themselves."

It is alleged that Jessen's grandparents have already become victims of his attempts to leave the gang. Their house was fired at, tearing the screen door, in July.

Supt Bray said that, while Jessen had not approached them, sometimes people did leave the gangs with police assistance.

"We would work out what we could do, we could put things in place for their safety," he said. "We definitely have gang members who come to us from time to time to get assistance; we would always help somebody who wants to get out."

He said gangs would often threaten former gang members' families and sometimes demand up to $100,000 to leave.

This old bikie never gives up the fight

OFF THE WIRE
Austrlia
Paul Kent From: The Daily Telegraph August 28, 2010 12:00AM
Caesar Campbell, the biggest and baddest of all, took three shots at the Milperra Massacre.

Between the second and third shots - a shotgun followed by a .38 - he reached over to tear the throat out of Comanchero Ivan "Sparra" Romcek, who died right there. He was 38 then. Caesar, not Sparra.

He is 64 now, sitting in the loungeroom of his home in the Snowy Mountains region, with pictures of his brothers on the wall as clean-cut young men. Then there is the other photograph, the brothers photoshopped together with their bushy bikie beards.

Here are the two sides of the man called Caesar.

Moments earlier, his son walked into the loungeroom and grabbed his father by the hand and leaned over to kiss him on the forehead.

"Hey Dad," he said.

"Son," said Caesar.

Amid all the Bandidos paraphernalia decorating the room, sitting on the coffee table is a single sheet of paper - a hospital report from January this year. It details the two scars across Caesar's forearm, the scar across the shoulder that bisects a tattoo and the pale scar that runs across his cheek.

"I told the cops I had a run in with sheet metal," Caesar said, explaining the scars.

Four pieces of sheet metal, to be exact.

"I was walking a bit behind the woman," he said, indicating his wife Donna, "and one of them decided he was going to put his hand on her shoulder. So I stepped on the four bits of sheet metal and one of them had a jagged edge and happened to get me.

"But," he said, "the jagged edge had a piece of metal go up here," and he pokes the soft skin under his jaw, "and it come out here."

He points to where the steel came out through the tongue.

The obvious hazards of scrap metal are not all the dangers ex-bikies face.

Caesar has been shot more times since he left jail than he was at Milperra, when along with his brothers Shadow, Bull, Wack, Snake and Chop he took on the Comanchero in the most famous bikie brawl in Australia.

In the new book Enforcer, which Donna wrote with the help of her friend Liz - out on Monday and described by Donna as "97 per cent fact and 3 per cent fiction" - Caesar details how the war started, not because the Comanchero had split over issues of power, as was pushed in court, but because the Campbell brothers had caught Comanchero president Jock Ross having an affair with a club member.

Ross soon split the club so he didn't have to answer charges, and the city chapter eventually patched over to become Bandidos.

Guerrilla attacks escalated until the two gangs ran into each other at the Viking Tavern on Father's Day 1984, when seven eventually died.

Caesar was the second man shot after his brother Snake, two blasts of a shotgun putting him down next to Sparra before a Comanchero named Robert "JJ" Heeney - or maybe it was his Ol' Lady, Caesar always thought she had more balls - shot him with the .38 that lodged under the skin in his forehead.

He can't remember a lot of what happened next. The .22s, he said, sting, while shotgun blasts are more like being thumped with a baseball bat.

The last time he was shot was several years back when he was watering his lawn and a car rolled past, with the windows coming down. He dropped the hose and opened his arms when - crack, crack - two .22s hit him in the guts.

"Is that the best youse can f ... ing do?" he yelled at the fleeing car.

It never stops for old bikies. Just two weeks ago he was having a drink at his local when it started again.

"A bunch of Lebs sitting in two cars," he said, "and the 'big, bad bikie' thing came out. They got out of the cars. They were about 23, 24, and there was seven of them. I decked three and the other four didn't want nothing to do with it."

At a rough count Caesar, an underground fighter and the Bandidos' sergeant-at-arms, has had about 800 fights.

That works out to be about a fight every three weeks since he had his first at 14, when his father put him in a boxing tent.

In all that time nobody has ever dropped him to as much as a knee. He used to worry about losing. In his 40s he was sure it was near and in his 50s he was certain. But it still hasn't happened and he is content now, at 64, that if it does happen it will be because of his age and not because the other bloke is better.

"Unless, of course, it's another bloke in his 60s."

The fascinating part is that it keeps happening. Might it be because, nowadays, he looks more like an old bloke trying to look like a bikie, rather than the 24-carat real deal?

"They look and they see a 60-year-old bloke and they think he's not going to be much trouble," Caesar said. "And normally a 60-year-old bloke, to a 20 and 30-year-old, isn't going to be any trouble.

"But I've been hit with baseball bats, bricks, shot, stabbed, hit with a car ...

"I can take a thump and it doesn't affect me so much."

Years back he was in a pub toilet when a rival bikie told him some blokes in the carpark were loading his bike onto the back of their ute.

"Put the bike back down," he said when he found them. Soon after, two were unconscious and the third was groaning. Caesar then took

a boning knife he kept on his belt and sliced the little finger off each of them, then wrapped them in a handkerchief. When he got home he tossed the small package to Donna.

"Not more fingers," she said. He already had another 20 or so kept in a jar.

Not that he is always looking for a fight. Some years back he was in a pub when a bloke started in on him.

"You're built like a brick shithouse," he kept saying. "How big are you?"

It got to the point where Caesar stood up and walked to the pub next door. Shortly after the bloke was there, too.

"How big are you?" He got up again and began to walk out through the toilets, when the bloke grabbed him on his colours. "I thought, 'F ... why'd you have to do that?"

Crime data leaked to bikie gangs

OFF THE WIRE
Australia
Nick McKenzie
August 28, 2010
.HIGHLY sensitive investigations into organised crime were compromised when an outlaw motorcycle gang, the Comancheros, received leaked police intelligence gathered by multiple agencies.

The infiltration of state and federal drugs investigations, described as one of the worst examples of corruption in the NSW police in recent years, put undercover police at risk.

Officials suspect the leaked information includes intelligence gathered by the Australian Crime Commission, the NSW state crime commission and the NSW police.

Some members of the Comancheros are allegedly involved in organised crime, including drug trafficking and extortion.

Police suspect the contents of more than a dozen NSW police files were obtained by the Comancheros, affecting up to eight criminal investigations.

The leaks jeopardised the safety of undercover police.

It is believed that after the leak was detected last year, authorities took urgent steps to protect an undercover police operative and to identify the leaker.

Late last year, NSW police anti-corruption investigators charged the suspected plant, police analyst Terry Gregoriou, with stealing three police documents. A loophole in NSW laws prevented police from charging Gregoriou with more serious offences.

''It is like he has been charged with stealing pencils after he burnt the classroom down,'' said a source.

Gregoriou has worked as an unsworn NSW police analyst for several years, including in jobs that gave him access to information about organised crime investigations.

A joint investigation by The Age and the ABC's Four Corners into organised crime - due to be shown on Monday - reveals the police leaks occurred during one of Australia's biggest multi-agency criminal inquiries.

The leaks are regarded by policing officials as among the worst cases of suspected corruption in the NSW police force in the past five years.

Law enforcement sources suspect associates of the Comancheros actively cultivated Gregoriou to work for them while simultaneously working for the police force.

After suspicion about Gregoriou's conduct began growing last year, law enforcement officials fed into the NSW police database misinformation about his associates to see if he would access it, which he allegedly did.

It is alleged Gregoriou leaked information to his close friend Peter Vassily, who in turn leaked it to associates of the Comancheros.

Vassily, 28, who is facing charges of receiving stolen goods and possessing prohibited items, has long associations with figures connected to outlaw bikie groups.

Vassily owns a real estate business, Deakin Industrial Realty, in the Sydney suburb of Arndell Park with Hakan Tukel, who, with his brothers Fidel and Baris Tukel, is linked to bikie gangs and organised crime figures. Baris Tukel is an associate of the Comancheros and Fidel Tukel is an associate of the Rebels.

Fidel and Hakan Tukel are well known in boxing circles. Fidel Tukel promotes boxing events in Sydney and Melbourne.

Gregoriou is suspended with pay from the NSW Police force. He will appear in court on Monday.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

JUST THINKING

Court allows agents to secretly put GPS trackers on cars

OFF THE WIRE, EROSION OF OUR RIGHTS,
IF WE DID THIS THEY WOULD THROW AWAY THE KEYS!!!!!

GPS - Fed court allows DEA to violate 4th amendment
Court allows agents to secretly put GPS trackers on cars

4th amendment takes more damage.
Without a warrant, the DEA trespasses onto private property, puts a GPS tracking device on a vehicle, busts someone using GPS tracking, uses GPS tracking as evidence, and a federal court allowed it.

By Dugald McConnell, CNNAugust 27, 2010 9:26 a.m. EDT

GPS tracking: A question of privacySTORY HIGHLIGHTS
Appeals court upholds conviction based on GPS tracking
Dissenting federal judge says agents' tactics were "creepy"
The ruling is the opposite of one by another federal court
RELATED TOPICS
GPS Devices
Police
U.S. Courts
(CNN) -- Law enforcement officers may secretly place a GPS device on a person's car without seeking a warrant from a judge, according to a recent federal appeals court ruling in California.

Drug Enforcement Administration agents in Oregon in 2007 surreptitiously attached a GPS to the silver Jeep owned by Juan Pineda-Moreno, whom they suspected of growing marijuana, according to court papers.

When Pineda-Moreno was arrested and charged, one piece of evidence was the GPS data, including the longitude and latitude of where the Jeep was driven, and how long it stayed. Prosecutors asserted the Jeep had been driven several times to remote rural locations where agents discovered marijuana being grown, court documents show.

Pineda-Moreno eventually pleaded guilty to conspiracy to grow marijuana, and is serving a 51-month sentence, according to his lawyer.

But he appealed on the grounds that sneaking onto a person's driveway and secretly tracking their car violates a person's reasonable expectation of privacy.

"They went onto the property several times in the middle of the night without his knowledge and without his permission," said his lawyer, Harrison Latto.

The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the appeal twice -- in January of this year by a three-judge panel, and then again by the full court earlier this month. The judges who affirmed Pineda-Moreno's conviction did so without comment.

Latto says the Ninth Circuit decision means law enforcement can place trackers on cars, without seeking a court's permission, in the nine western states the California-based circuit covers.

The ruling likely won't be the end of the matter. A federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., arrived at a different conclusion in similar case, saying officers who attached a GPS to the car of a suspected drug dealer should have sought a warrant.

Experts say the issue could eventually reach the U.S. Supreme Court.

One of the dissenting judges in Pineda-Moreno's case, Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, said the defendant's driveway was private and that the decision would allow police to use tactics he called "creepy" and "underhanded."

"The vast majority of the 60 million people living in the Ninth Circuit will see their privacy materially diminished by the panel's ruling," Kozinksi wrote in his dissent.

"I think it is Orwellian," said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, which advocates for privacy rights.

"If the courts allow the police to gather up this information without a warrant," he said, "the police could place a tracking device on any individual's car -- without having to ever justify the reason they did that."

But supporters of the decision see the GPS trackers as a law enforcement tool that is no more intrusive than other means of surveillance, such as visually following a person, that do not require a court's approval.

"You left place A, at this time, you went to place B, you took this street -- that information can be gleaned in a variety of ways," said David Rivkin, a former Justice Department attorney. "It can be old surveillance, by tailing you unbeknownst to you; it could be a GPS."

He says that a person cannot automatically expect privacy just because something is on private property.

"You have to take measures -- to build a fence, to put the car in the garage" or post a no-trespassing sign, he said. "If you don't do that, you're not going to get the privacy."

iPhones Help Cops Solve Crimes By Capturing Everything You Type

OFF THE WIRE, READ
http://consumerist.com/2010/08/iphones-help-cops-solve-crimes-by-capturing-everything-you-type-do.html

By Carey Alexander on August 27, 2010 2:00 PM
(Johan Larsson)
Cops love finding iPhones at crime scenes because the phones carry so much priceless data about your usage habits, or as the cops call it, evidence. That email you typed months back about feeling stabby when you drink? It's still there because there because the iPhone captures everything you type to help fuel its spellcheck abilities—even emails you thought you deleted. And that's not all.

Every time an iPhone user closes out of the built-in mapping application, the phone snaps a screenshot and stores it. Savvy law-enforcement agents armed with search warrants can use those snapshots to see if a suspect is lying about whereabouts during a crime.
iPhone photos are embedded with GEO tags and identifying information, meaning that photos posted online might not only include GPS coordinates of where the picture was taken, but also the serial number of the phone that took it.
Even more information is stored by the applications themselves, including the user's browser history. That data is meant in part to direct custom-tailored advertisements to the user, but experts said some of it could be useful to police.
Just as users can take and store a picture of their iPhone's screen, the phone itself automatically shoots and stores hundreds of such images as people close out one application to use another. "Those screen snapshots can contain images of e-mails or proof of activities that might be inculpatory or exculpatory," [said John B. Minor, a member of the International Society of Forensic Computer Examiners].
Scary stuff!
Cops love iPhone data trail [Chicago Sun Times

'ATTIKA 7' @ VIPER ROOM, Hollywood - Sept. 3

OFF THE WIRE,
POSTED FOR KO,
SCREWDRIVER
‘ATTIKA 7’ returns from their 10 day UK TOUR !! Catch ‘em at Hollywood’s famous VIPER ROOM.
Performance @ 11pm on Friday September 3rd.
‘ATTIKA 7’ merchandise available before/after the show -or- shop online www.attika7.com
Visit ‘ATTIKA 7’ new website --- watch the new video INTO THE BLACKNESS.
www.attika7.com


www.viperroom.com
8852 West Sunset Blvd. West Hollywood California 90069

4th Amendment Violating Mobile X-Ray Scanners Hit The Streets

what took them so long?

http://www.bikernews.org/wtn/news.php?extend.11264

As we warned at the beginning of the year, X-ray body scanners currently being used and abused in airports across the world are set to hit the streets as American Science & Engineering reveals that “more than 500 backscatter x-ray scanners mounted in vans that can be driven past neighboring vehicles to see their contents” have been sold to government agencies.

In January, we divulged how the ultimate end use of the body scanners would not be limited to airports, and that they were going to be rolled out on the streets as mobile units that would scan vehicles at checkpoints as well as individuals and crowds attending public events.

Dutch police announced that they were developing a mobile scanner that would “see through people’s clothing and look for concealed weapons” and that it would be used “as an alternative to random body searches in high risk areas”.

The device would also be used from a distance on groups of people “and mass scans on crowds at events such as football matches.”

The plans mirrored leaked documents out of the UK Home Office three years prior, which revealed that authorities in the UK were working on proposals to fit lamp posts with CCTV cameras that would X-ray scan passers-by and “undress them” in order to “trap terror suspects”.

Now, according to a Forbes report, backscatter x-ray vision devices mounted on trucks are already being deployed inside the United States to scan passing individuals and vehicles in complete violation of the Fourth Amendment.

American Science & Engineering, a company based in Billerica, Massachusetts, has sold many of the devices to U.S. law enforcement agencies, who are already using them on the streets for “security” purposes.

“Without a warrant, the government doesn’t have a right to peer beneath your clothes without probable cause,” points out Marc Rotenberg, executive director of EPIC. “Even airport scans are typically used only as a secondary security measure. If the scans can only be used in exceptional cases in airports, the idea that they can be used routinely on city streets is a very hard argument to make.”

One arrest, 39 > > tickets, 7 vehicles removed from road in Waterloo motorcycle safety sweep

OFF THE WIRE
http://news.therecord.com/News/Local/article/766909 One arrest, 39 > > tickets, 7 vehicles removed from road in Waterloo motorcycle safety sweep August 24, 2010 Record staff > > > > WATERLOO Ć¢EUR" A total of 39 tickets were issued and seven vehicles > > were removed from the road in a motorcycle safety sweep conducted by police on Conservation Drive Saturday.

A Cambridge male was arrested and charged with obstructing police during the sweep. The sweep was a joint operation of Waterloo Regional Police Service, Ontario Provincial Police Biker Enforcement Unit, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Toronto Police Service, Peel Regional Police, London Police Service and the Ministry of the Environment.

Officers checked approximately 140 vehicles for driver and passenger helmet safety, braking systems, lighting, mufflers and other vehicle > > parts to ensure vehicles were operating safely according to applicable laws and environmental standards.

TheRecord.com - Local - One arrest, 39 tickets, 7 vehicles removed from road in Waterloo motorcycle.

Ridin' Safe with Vicki By Vicki Sanfelipo

OFF THE WIRE
http://www.allstateridernews.com/safe_with_vicki.php Ridin' Safe with Vicki By Vicki Sanfelipo

Vicki Sanfelipo, RN/EMT is the founder and Executive Director of Accident Scene Management, Inc. and the author of "A Crash Course for the Motorcyclist" and "Advanced Bystander Assistance." Vicki is an Iron Butt Association Member, Life Member of ABATE of Wisconsin and HOG. She is also a member of the AMA, SMSA and the MRF. She has presented her programs to hundreds of groups and has been a guest presenter for most of the national motorcycle conferences in the USA. She has taught classes at both the MSF and Harley-Davidson. Vicki travels to Washington DC several times each year to represent ASMI in Motorcycle Safety Network Meetings held by NHTSA at the DOT. Vicki has also co-founded the "Road Guardians," "Women In Motion Road Guardians" and is the Founder of the "Diamond Posse." A memorable ride, raising awareness and more For me, one of the most enjoyable aspects of motorcycling is the opportunity to get away from the phone and computer, and simply enjoy some of the "me" time that rejuvenates my spirit. Even when riding with others, I still find plenty of time to think and reflect on the day at hand — or even on life in general.

I recently had a lot of time to think and reflect as I completed a 3,000-mile ride in support of our military veterans. Held in conjunction with National Armed Forces Week, five women (myself included) took part in the ride for a number of reasons: to show appreciation, respect and honor for our veterans, and to raise money to assist the veterans who are returning from war with injuries and other issues.

We call our little group of riders the Diamond Posse, because diamonds are "forged under pressure." They start out as lumps of coal, and over great periods of time under extreme pressure, they become beautiful, multifaceted gems.

Our adventure began in San Antonio, Texas, at The Center for the Intrepid at Brooke Army Medical Center. Eight days later, we completed the journey in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where the Diamond Posse opened up Harley-Davidson's "Celebrate Women Riders" event. Each day of the trip, we stopped at a VA hospital to visit with veterans. In the evenings, we'd gather with fellow motorcyclists to raise money and awareness for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund.

As I was riding the 1,300 miles to our journey's starting point in San Antonio, I paid particular attention to motorists' awareness of me, and I thought about how right-of-way violations account for up to 50% of roadway crashes. I also pondered how this problem is being addressed and what we, as motorcyclists, can do about it.

In my previous Allstate Rider News column, I briefly introduced the Six Areas of Motorcycle Safety that are outlined in the National Agenda for Motorcycle Safety (NAMS), and by the Road Guardian Program. One of those six areas is Motorist Awareness. To help increase awareness of motorcyclists and reduce right-of-way violations, Allstate has launched a program called "ONE" (Once is Never Enough) in communities that play host to major motorcycle rallies. ONE staffers work closely with these communities to identify the most dangerous intersections, then place highly visible yellow caution signs at those locations. The signs feature a motorcycle silhouette along with the simple message "Look." Thus far, the positive response to the program has been overwhelming! In fact, as I write this column from the Laconia Bike Week Rally, the big question everyone seems to be asking me is, "How can we get more of these signs?"

Here at Laconia, I'm making appearances at the Allstate Garage, speaking to motorcyclists about safety, and hammering home the idea that they need to be proactive about being seen by fellow motorists. While we all want others to be more aware of us on the road, we also need to do whatever we can to make sure that we help them to see us.

There are several proactive measures we can take to increase awareness, such as:

Position ourselves in a lane so drivers can see us. Don't hang out in the blind spot of a car, and if you can't see the driver of the vehicle in their mirror, then you must assume that they don't see you. Wear light/bright-colored or reflective clothing. We've all seen the safety-green shirts, right? It's hard to miss them. Consider ways of standing out with color contrasts or reflective material. Reflective materials perform best at night, and fluorescent colors work best in the daytime. Be aware that motorists are not anticipating our ability to accelerate quickly, and may not judge our speed properly. Be a defensive driver. Always look for an escape if your right of way is violated. This includes maintaining a safe distance that allows for braking. On my recent road trip I did some awareness "data collection" of my own: I counted the number of times that people did not appear to see me. While there were many times when people saw me, but didn't seem to care that I was riding nearby, there were three times when people did not see me at all, despite my defensive maneuvers. On those occasions, I had to hit my brakes to avoid a collision. Each time that happened, I was prepared to give up my right of way.

I always say a good day is one where nothing bad happens. Quick assessments of those situations, and my quick reactions, helped me avoid a bad day.

If you'd like an even more in-depth look at motorcycle safety education, I encourage you to attend our 2nd Road Guardians Bikers' Betterment Conference (BBC), scheduled for November 13, 2010, at Smokin' Harley-Davidson in Winston-Salem, NC.

This one-day conference will incorporate a combination of displays, demonstrations and guest speakers to address the Six Areas of Motorcycle Safety identified by the National Agenda for Motorcycle Safety. Road Guardians programs of Resources, Rewards and Recognition further define these six areas and encourage lifelong learning. We are working with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, ASMI instructors and our attorney partner, Hardison and Cochran, to bring this regional conference to the southeast U.S. In addition, Allstate Agents will be on hand to provide useful information about what constitutes adequate motorcycle insurance, and they'll explain various benefits and discounts available to motorcycle riders.

I had a great ride and hope you do too. For additional safety information, visit www.roadguardians.org and check out our safety resources.

If you are interested, additional information can also be found at the following websites:

www.accidentscene.org - First Response classes www.roadguardians.org - Comprehensive Program of Motorcycle Safety Resources, Rewards and Recognition www.diamondposse.us - Serving Veterans

Allstate Insurance Company is not affiliated with Vicki Sanfelipo. Allstate makes no warranties or representations and is not liable for any goods or services provided by this company.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Hells Angels and Vagos Motorcycle Gangs in Arizona Shootout, Say Cops

OFF THE WIRE
Posted by Carlin DeGuerin Miller
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_162-20014451-504083.html Hells Angels and Vagos Motorcycle Gangs in Arizona Shootout, Say Cops Posted by Carlin DeGuerin Miller
Logos for the Vagos and the Hells Angels CHINO VALLEY, Ariz. (CBS/AP) It sounds like a scene out of a movie, but for one Arizona neighborhood it was a frightening and violent reality when two rival motorcycle gangs exchanged gunfire in the middle of the street, according to police and witnesses.
Witnesses say that trouble started Saturday afternoon when a group of bikers, who reportedly belong to the Vagos motorcycle gang, rode past a house where another group of bikers, reported to be Hells Angels, were having a party.
The Hells Angels allegedly opened fire on the Vagos riders who then returned fire, CBS affiliate KPHO reported.
Dozens of Arizona law enforcement officers descended on the area after dispatchers started receiving calls about gunshots, including members of the Arizona State Gang Task Force, Yavapai Sheriff's spokesman Dwight D'Evelyn said.
When the dust settled, 27 people were booked on charges ranging from attempted murder and aggravated assault to participation in a criminal street gang. At least five people were shot, but none of the injuries were life threatening, according to D'Evelyn.
Detectives estimate at least 50 rounds were fired during the shootings.
The Hells Angels have owned the two-story gray house where the shootout occurred for a few years, and apparently used it as a sort of clubhouse. But when the Vagos reportedly moved into a house just up the street, neighbors say they knew a turf war was brewing, according to KPHO.
Still, the violence was not what most would expect in the rural area just north of Prescott, Ariz.
"Yesterday, I got caught in gunfire by two biker gangs," Jon Humen told the station. "I moved here from Phoenix to get away from this."
Investigators remained in Chino Valley on Sunday, examining and recovering evidence. Several motorcycles were impounded and detectives were trying to locate one injured gang member who was helped away from the scene in an unknown vehicle, D'Evelyn said.
In December, an Arizona Department of Public Safety spokesman said an ongoing power struggle in northwestern Arizona between the Vagos and the Hells Angels had led to a series of violent assaults.

Sons of Anarchy

http://www.clutchandchrome.com/news/news/actors-arrest-motorcycle-drama Actors arrest brings drama to motorcycle show Sons of Anarchy Wednesday, 25 August 2010 | Written by Asia | |
Many fans of a certain motorcycle drama are looking forward to the dog days of summer giving way to a season full on action and intrigue.
Ironically, as FX’s show about a ficticious motorcycle gang 'Sons of Anarchy' prepares to launch its latest chapter on September 7th a certain actor from the show may just be waiting for his moment to get out of trouble.
The latest official promotion for the hit television show teases it's fans a little more with a new, high-paced, rock-filled trailer. But even as the latest trailer blankets cyberspace for the upcoming season of the hit motorcycle drama 'Sons of Anarchy', a well-known face from the FX drama reportedly had his own rebellious encounter with the law.
For those not bitten by the motorcycle drama bug, Charlie Hunnam stars as Jackson ‘Jax’ Teller, a man whose love for the brotherhood is tested by his growing apprehension for its lawlessness. Katey Sagal stars as Gemma Teller Morrow, Jax’s force-of-nature mother, who along with Ron Perlman as Clarence ‘Clay’ Morrow, Jax’s stepfather and MC president, have their own darker vision for the club.
This season begins with SAMCRO feeling powerless over Abel's (Jax's son) kidnapping, especially Jax, whose grief sends him into deeper turmoil over his future with the club.
Reportedly, four upcoming episodes are promised to take place in Belfast Ireland with True IRA leader Jimmy O (Titus Welliver) will appear in at least eight episodes, along with Kenny Johnson (Saving Grace and The Shield), Paula Malcomson and James Cosmo.
”Our pursuit of Abel really breaks open the world," Charlie Hunnam who famously plays the lead character, Jaxexplained in earlier interviews about the fictitious club’s trip to Ireland, spurred by his kidnapped son.
"John Teller had a lot to do with Ireland and the origin of gun running and the Sons of Anarchy. So, it's through us going to Ireland, inevitably, we learn a little bit more" Hunnam continues discussing Jax's father and founder of the club.
Whether a publicity stunt or just a matter of timing (fortunate or unfortunate depending on which side of the story you happen to be on) Mark Hiedrich, an actor who is also known by the stage name of Mark Boone Junior (pictured left) was arrested after an apparent tussle with law enforcement in Glendale, California on Tuesday.
Viewers of Sons of Anarchy will know Mark Boone Junior as Bobby Munson, SAMCRO’s bookkeeper.
With real life imitating art, the actor was reportedly pulled over for a traffic violation when he felt a moment of anarchy and allegedly went after one of the officers. Additional officers were called and Boone, 55, was arrested for suspicion of assaulting an officer and resisting arrest.
While fans of the motorcycle drama wait to see if Clay and the boys bust Bobby out of jail, they can enjoy the latest trailer titled ‘Hold on’.