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Saturday, October 31, 2015



A Win is a Win, Unless It's Against the Feds

by Tony Sanfelipo
Posted on Oct 29, 2015
If you subscribe to our free Bikers Newbrief publication, you read in the Fall 2015 edition that the Mongols motorcycle club has been fighting to retain ownership of the club logo since October, 2008, when 80 members were rounded up in a sting operation.  The federal government has listed the Mongols MC as a criminal enterprise and has been trying to move forward with forfeiture proceedings to eliminate the club's signature mark, known as "colors".
A trial back in 2008 (United States vs. Cavazos) had the former club president, Ruben Cavazos, cooperating with authorities as they painted the Mongols as a criminal enterprise, with the club colors as the big prize. The judge didn't buy that argument, ruling the trademark logo belonged to the organization, not individuals, and as a collective membership mark it was protected speech under the First Amendment.

The government appealed, and for the last eight years, it has been a battle of strategies, delays and change of judges. Finally a trial date was set for October, and the high stakes included keeping the club colors and also asking that the prosecutors be held personally liable for some of the clubs legal fees, since it appeared they were purposely delaying the case while running up the club's financial burden for defense.

Not too surprisingly to this reporter, the court again ruled in favor of the Mongols and seemed to put this matter to rest, once and for all.  Oh wait, this is the government we're talking about and they hate to lose. So, it appears there may be a round three coming up, as U.S. Attorney Christopher Brunwin has indicated he would appeal the decision.  Stay tuned: apparently the fat lady hasn't sung yet.

Yesterday afternoon, just under the 30-day legal deadline, Assistant United States Attorney Christopher Brunwin gave notice that he was going to appeal the dismissal of a case called United States versus Mongols Nation.
A month ago, Federal District Judge David O. Carter dismissed the October 2013 indictment that was the basis for the Mongols Nation case and Brunwin is appealing that decision. Brunwin hasn’t yet filed a brief in the appeal. He is simply announcing that he thinks Carter’s 23 page ruling contains reversible legal errors. Notice of appeal in a federal court is usually made within ten days of a ruling.
The appeal will be made to the Ninth Circuit Court. Appeals to the Ninth Circuit are the slowest in the federal system. The average time between notice of appeal and a judgment is about 18 months. About 75 percent of all appeals to the Ninth are decided solely on the basis of briefs submitted by the opposing lawyers without legal argument. The Mongols are represented by Los Angeles attorneys Joe Yanny and Elliot H. Min. For the last seven years, Brunwin’s co-counsel in the crusade against the Mongols has been Stephen R. Welk. Welk is the head of the asset forfeiture division of the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Central District of California.
Appeals are expensive and the decision to appeal Carter’s dismissal would not have been made by either Brunwin or Welk. The decision to appeal would have been made by either Central District of California U.S. Attorney Eileen Decker or someone higher in the chain of command in the Justice Department. Decker is a former Los Angeles Deputy Mayor who assumed her current job three and a half months ago.

The Clothes Police

The most recent racketeering case against the Mongols began with a case called U.S. versus Cavazos et al. in October 2008. Brunwin indicted 79 members of the Mongols Motorcycle Club and the press release that announced the indictment contained this astounding passage:
“The racketeering indictment seeks the forfeiture of the trademarked ‘Mongols’ name, which is part of the ‘patch’ members wear on their motorcycle jackets.
“‘In addition to pursuing the criminal charges set forth in the indictment, for the first time ever, we are seeking to forfeit the intellectual property of a gang,’ said United States Attorney Thomas P. O’Brien. ‘The name “Mongols,” which is part of the gang’s “patch” that members wear on their motorcycle jackets, was trademarked by the gang. The indictment alleges that this trademark is subject to forfeiture. We have filed papers seeking a court order that will prevent gang members from using or displaying the name “Mongols.” If the court grants our request for this order, then if any law enforcement officer sees a Mongol wearing his patch, he will be authorized to stop that gang member and literally take the jacket right off his back.’”
Taking the jacket right off the backs of Mongols has become a quest for the Department of Justice. As has harassing the Mongols with legal proceedings.

Not Constitutional Issue

The constitutional issue of seizing the Mongols’ name and symbols seems well resolved. Unless the name and symbols pose a real threat to somebody other than Brunwin, Welk and Decker they are legal expressions of opinion. Brunwin, Welk and Decker know it so the government has been playing cute games around that issue for years.
The point of the recent, Mongols Nation case has always been to seize the Mongols patch and, in turn, the patches of every other motorcycle club. It is a recurring theme in the global war on motorcycle clubs. Various states in Australia, depending heavily on the coaching of “motorcycle gang experts” from the American Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives have actually banned the display of motorcycle club insignia. In Waco, Texas, a local prosecutor named Abel Reyna ordered the arrest of scores of people on the basis of the symbols they wore even though there was absolutely no proof that any of them had committed any crime.
In the Mongols Nation case, Brunwin and Welk sought a trial to prove that the Mongols Motorcycle Club was a criminal enterprise that used its insignia for criminal purposes. The government’s plan was to first, convict the club as a whole for racketeering and then start forfeiture proceedings to seize the club’s name and patch. At the risk of oversimplification, Carter didn’t allow the case to proceed because “nobody was going to jail.” He ruled that the government couldn’t indict the Mongols as an “enterprise” for racketeering without also indicting a group who can be actually punished. He wrote that the government had made “no meaningful distinction between the association Mongol Nation and the enterprise of the Mongols Gang,” So with nobody to punish, there could be no case. It was as if the government had indicted the stars or the sea.
But, after eight years, the government still won’t give up. The quest continues.

Sometime in the next month or so, Brunwin will write a brief that explains the errors in Judge Carter’s reasoning. Until then, the only thing that is certain is that the government does not intend to stop until some judge somewhere rules that police can actually detain you for your fashion choices and if the police don’t approve of them they can literally rip your clothes off.

Biker Shootout Or Police Abuse


Whoever released the video featured in a CNN report by correspondent Ed Lavandera yesterday titled “Knives, guns, blood and fear: Inside the Texas biker shootout” remains a stone cold whodunit.

Although cynics might take the caption in the upper right corner that read “Waco Police Department” for a clue, Waco police spokesman W. Patrick Swanton assured the Waco Tribune-Herald that the source that “leaked” the video was probably “an attorney who got it through discovery.”

Maybe. Not all of the defense attorneys in the case are Perry Mason, or even Clint Broden or, for that matter, Paul Looney. Some of them are Rob Swanton of the law offices of Swanton & Frederick who, coincidentally, is Patrick Swanton’s brother. Maybe he is the one defense attorney in the case who would be stupid enough to feed this story to CNN. The effect Lavandera’s “report” would have was practically foreordained. He deep throats the police version and brags that the video and documents he has been given “begin to tell the story of how a midday gunfight turned the parking lot of a Waco strip mall into a battle zone.”

“The Bandidos decide what other groups can operate in Texas and charge them dues. They insist that only dues-paying members can wear a ‘Texas’ patch on their jackets or vests” Lavandera lectures.

Lavandera has absolutely no idea what he is talking about. He explains that the term one percenter, “is part of biker lore that dates back to the 1960s: Someone supposedly said that 99 percent of bikers are law-abiding citizens, leaving the mayhem to the other one percent.” In fact, the term originated with remarks by E.C. Smith, who was then the Executive Secretary of the American Motorcyclist Association, who called participants in the so-called Hollister Motorcycle Riot in 1947 “outlaws” and asserted that they represented only “one percent” of the motorcycling community at most. But even if Lavendera just makes things up, he still speaks beautifully and convincingly. Which is what he is paid to do. And his facts are good enough for CNN which is to news as cable companies are to customer service.

The release of an edited version of a video that was described in some detail by The Associated Press on May 20, along with Lavendera’s exegesis, remained a dominant American story today for the simple reason that “if it bleeds it leads.” The Toronto Star reported it under the headline “Dramatic raw video shows Waco biker shootout.” The Sacramento Bee ran its account under the headline “New video shows wild Texas biker shootout that killed nine.”  The Telegraph in the United Kingdom grabbed readers’ attention with “Surveillance video emerges of deadly Texas biker gang gunfight.” Sky News informed readers “Video Shows Rival Biker Gangs In Shootout.” Maxim proclaimed, “The Police Footage From the Massive Waco Biker Shootout Is Insane. It’s like a scene out of Sons of Anarchy on steroids.” The Irish Mirror called it the “Waco biker shooting bloodbath.” The Huffington Post missed Swanton’s denial of police culpability and told its readers “Cops Release Surveillance Video Of Deadly Waco Biker Gang Shootout.”
It’s The Narrative Stupid

What the world is learning today from Ed Lavandera and all the rest of these broken tools is that  what happened in Waco last May 17 was a “biker gang shootout” just as Swanton and District Attorney Abelino Reyna have insisted it was all along.

“There are two ways this story can go,” a source close to multiple defense attorneys in the case said back in May. “The dominant narrative can either be ‘biker shootout’ or ‘law enforcement abuse.’” It is interesting that CNN obtained the video labeled “Waco Police Department” the day after the Dallas Morning News ran an editorial titled, “In Waco case, biker gangs earning more trust than prosecutors.”

Whoever leaked the video, the effect of CNN’s coverage is obvious. Nobody is talking about law enforcement abuse anymore.

Follow the donut crumbs.

CNN Releases Waco Video

This morning, CNN released edited video taken on the patio and other interior locations of the Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco during a confrontation last May 17 between members and friends of the Bandidos Motorcycle Club and members and friends of the Cossacks Motorcycle Club. It was almost immediately taken down from most news outlets. The CNN report includes the same video The Associated Press described on May 20.
The video report opens with footage of Cossacks watching the beginning of a fight between members of the two clubs. The video shows that the Cossacks had commandeered almost all of the Twin Peaks patio area which had been reserved for use that day by the Texas Confederation of Clubs and Independents.
The video also shows Cossacks running and crawling for cover and drawing guns. One biker wearing a cut without clearly identifiable indicia, is photographed firing a large, automatic pistol toward the back of the parking lot, away from the main area of the fight. The video also offers a fleeting glimpse of another biker in a t-shirt bear hugging a Cossack and throwing him to the ground.
The CNN report also includes video and still photographs of the aftermath of the massacre.

Waco Police Department

The video is clearly marked with a caption that reads “Waco Police Department” in the upper right corner. The narration that accompanies the edited video says:
“After it was all over, crime scene photos capture the nightmarish scene: Bodies left in the parking lot by toppled motorcycles; hundreds of weapons all over the place; handguns even left hidden in the restaurant toilets. CNN has obtained more than 2,000 pages of documents, crime scene photos, many too graphic to show, and surveillance video giving us the most detailed accounts of what unfolded last May. Waco police and prosecutors have consistently defended the mass arrest of the 177 bikers that day, all charged with organized criminal activity.”
“These are just some of the videos investigators are using to piece together what happened that day five months ago. A shootout that one witness said looked like the gunfight at the O.K. Corral.”


The Waco Tribune-Herald, which has been an apologist for local officials for the last six months, reported the CNN video release at 1:01 p.m. Waco time. The paper did not run the footage but reporter Olivia Messer told readers, “The footage is consistent with early police descriptions of weapons hidden between sacks of flour and bags of tortilla chips. They were allegedly in vehicles, tucked in benches, strewn across the floor, in kitchen stoves, thrown into trashcans and stuffed in toilets.”
Messer also reported the following exchange with Waco police spokesman Patrick Swanton:
“‘It does appear to be crime scene photos and video from Twin Peaks, but we did not release it,’ said Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton.
“‘Why they put Waco Police Department on there, we don’t know,’ he added, referring to a strip of writing along the top right corner of the footage that appears to attribute the video to the department.
“Swanton noted, ‘I can speculate that it was released by an attorney who got it through discovery.’”
For at least the next few minutes, until either CNN or the thought police take it down you can view the CNN report below.


Friday, October 30, 2015

Help our Troops!

Waco Day 164

Today the Dallas Morning News published an editorial under a headline that read in part, “biker gangs earning more trust than prosecutors.”

“Right after the May 17 motorcycle-gang shootout in Waco,” the editorial squeaks, “this newspaper’s inclination was to believe law enforcers’ account that the nine deaths and 22 injuries were the result of hardened criminal thugs waging a deadly turf battle. But the longer this bizarre case plays out, the more credible the bikers look, and the more it appears that McLennan County officials have something to hide.”

If you think you get through the Morning News’ obvious insights without falling down laughing you can read the complete editorial here.

Yes, officials in Waco have something to hide. Consider the polecam that went up at seven that morning. The camera surveyed the entire patio area and the adjacent parking lot. The video it recorded has still not been released because “McLennan County officials” are hiding it.

McLennan County Criminal District Attorney Abelino “Abel” Reyna saw the video 164 days ago – about three hours after the shooting stopped. That was the moment Reyna decided not to charge anybody with murder but to charge 182 people with being members of a gangster conspiracy instead. Maybe in another 164 days the Dallas Morning News will belt down a couple of doubles and muster the courage to wonder out loud what the polecam video shows. It certainly doesn’t show “Bandidos executing Cossacks” because if it did somebody would have been charged with murder about 161 days ago.

This was obviously a contrived confrontation. During his bond hearing, Cossacks McLennan County chapter president John Wilson, told a judge named Ralph Strother, “Waco PD had come to my motorcycle shop several times in the month prior telling me that there had been threats towards us.”

Wilson’s attorney, Mike White, told Strother he had learned that Waco police “actually advised him to begin a dialogue to try to lower the tension that had been preceding this event (the May 17 Confederation of Clubs and Independents meeting) for numerous weeks…They suggested that he either go to this meeting or start some dialogue or start having sit-downs with opposing motorcycle clubs.” It is obvious the Cossacks had no idea of how to do that. Someplace, somehow, somewhere the Cossacks senior members, or “Nomads” thought it would be a good idea to get there early and claim all the chairs and parking spaces. Most established clubs would have been more subtle.
Where’s The Story

There are still multiple, valid lines of journalistic investigation left to this story. One is, “Who set this up and how?” Waco police and Department of Public Safety officers obviously anticipated a confrontation and it is plausible that they, and whoever advises them about how to handle biker cases, thought it would go something like the brawl between members of the Hells Angels and Vagos Motorcycle Clubs in Sparks, Nevada in September 2011. Combatants there were charged with “Invitation to an Affray.” There are multiple reasons to suspect that the police invited the Cossacks to this affray. And police hoped to memorialize the event which was why they installed a pole camera that morning.

The video from that camera would answer a second, common sense question, “How many people did the police kill?” The answer to that partly depends on what the meaning of “kill” is. Police shot some of the dead. Some of them they shot and then let bleed out. Some of them may have been shot by somebody other than the police and then the police let them bleed to death.

Another related question is, “What is the point of the gag order” that prevents everyone involved in this massacre, hypothetically including Abel Reyna, from talking about what happened that day. There are multiple civil cases unfolding and as long as the gag order is in place none of the public officials who have controlled the case so far can be deposed.

However, those civil cases continue to shed light on the Twin Peaks Massacre.

At almost the same hour Abel Reyna discovered he did not have video evidence that would have enabled him to charge any Cossacks or Bandidos with murder, fledgling politician W. Patrick Swanton began vilifying the Twin Peaks restaurant. “What happened today could have been avoided if we would have had management at a local establishment listen to their police department and assist us,” Swanton lied. “They failed to do that, and this is the event that happened.”

It can be inferred that Swanton was lying because he had already seen the polecam video and he had already learned that most of the detainees would be charged with Engaging in Organized Crime rather than something like murder or conspiracy to commit murder. On May 21 Swanton bragged he couldn’t wait to show the public and press “what truly happened.”

“You will eventually see what happened at Twin Peaks,” he promised. “I’ve seen it…. It was horrible.”
Twin Peaks Motion

Now the Twin Peaks is starting to fight back. In a motion filed October 21, in the Don Carlos restaurant lawsuit against the Waco Twin Peaks, the Twin Peaks argued “The criminal conduct of third parties is the cause of any harm that Plaintiff (Don Carlos) claims in this case.”

What the Twin Peaks is asking the court to do is to assign a portion of the blame for what happened that day to identifiable third parties. Those third parties would include everyone who was there that day who might be found guilty of a crime. The motion also specifically asks the court to name “the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Waco Police Department (collectively ‘Law Enforcement’) as responsible third parties.”

Of course nobody can talk about what happened that day because Abel Reyna’s old law partner has decreed that nobody can talk. So the public has no right to know.

Here’s the news. After 164 days official Waco isn’t just covering up anymore. Waco officials are now burying their heads in the sand. And, sooner or later one of them is going to have to come up for air. Probably.

Column: Proposed budget bill would have devastating effects on millions’ Social Security benefits

For the third time in 40 years, Social Security recipients will not receive a benefit increase next year, the government said Thursday. Photo by Flickr user Tetra Images

BY Laurence Kotlikoff

For the third time in 40 years, Social Security recipients will not receive a benefit increase next year, the government said Thursday. Photo by Flickr user Tetra Images

Section 831 of the House’s new budget bill would make radical changes to the way Social Security provides spousal and retirement benefits.​

​Let me list all the benefit cuts and other problems arising from this truly draconian bill.

In six months, benefits now being received by spouses, divorced spouses or children on the work record of a spouse, ex-spouse or parent who has suspended his or her benefits will be eliminated until the worker restarts his/her retirement benefit. I’ve never heard of a change in Social Security law that eliminates benefits for people already collecting, but this is what’s in this bill. This will cost millions of households tens of thousands of dollars. Worse, it will induce those who have suspended their benefits in order to collect higher benefits at 70 to restart their benefits at permanently lower levels in order to maintain their family’s immediate living standards.

We’ve been paying 12.4 percent of our income to Social Security since our first job in exchange for a variety of benefits … Now, with a couple of sentences, our government is reneging on what for many households can amount up to $50,000 in lifetime benefits.
For those now under 62, the bill extend​s deeming, which now ends at full retirement age (age 66), through age 70. Deeming is the requirement that if a) you take your retirement benefit and are eligible to collect your spousal benefit, you are forced to take both at once and b) if you take your spousal benefit, you are forced to simultaneously take your retirement benefit.

Since Social Security effectively only pays the larger of the two benefits, being forced to take both benefits at once means that you lose one of the two benefits.

Under the current law, you can wait until full retirement age, take just your spousal benefit if you are eligible for it and then let your own retirement benefit grow. Being eligible requires having your spouse file for his or her retirement benefit. But if your spouse is
at full retirement age or over, he or she can immediately file for and suspend his or her retirement benefit and let it grow through age 70. This strategy is called File and Suspend.

Some view this as a loophole, but Social Security is so complex that it’s hard to say what is a loophole and what’s not. We’ve been paying 12.4 percent of our income to Social Security since our first job in exchange for a variety of benefits, including spousal and divorce(e) spousal benefits, in retirement age. Now, with a couple of sentences, our government is reneging on what for many households can amount up to $50,000 in lifetime benefits.

But the loss in lifetime benefits can be far greater. Receiving full spousal or full divorce(e) spousal benefits between full retirement age (age 66) and age 70 helped tide millions of workers over until age 70 when they would start their own retirement benefit at a 32 percent larger (inflation-adjusted) value than at age 66. This provided them protection against excessive longevity — that is, outliving their assets and other non-Social Security means of support.
Column: Does Social Security benefit the rich more than the poor?

Now more of such cash-constrained households will need to file for their retirement benefits earlier than they had hoped. Thus, they lose not only most or all of their spousal benefits (since retirement benefits generally exceed spousal benefits, and you can’t get both at once if forced to take both at once), but also the far higher benefits available by waiting until age 70 to collect.

As a consequence, this new section 831 of the budget bill, ironically called “Protecting Social Security Benefits,” will make retirement far more precarious for millions of low- and middle-income seniors.

The ability to collect a full divorced spousal benefit between full retirement age and age 70 has also afforded important insurance to Americans getting divorced. This too would be wiped out.

​Another major concern is female work incentives for married or divorced women (whose marriages lasted at least a decade) who earn much less than their husbands or ex-husbands. By waiting until 70 to collect their own retirement benefits, they had a chance that their retirement benefit would exceed their spousal benefit, which would mean that extra contributions to Social Security would lead to higher benefits. If they are now, due to cash constraints, forced to take their retirement benefit at full retirement age and if their spousal benefit exceeds their retirement benefit, they will end up getting absolutely nothing in return for each and every penny of taxes they paid to Social Security over their entire working lives.

​I’m also concerned about how this bill would affect income sharing and power plays in marriages. Take the case of a wife who earned very little, because she stayed home to raise children. Assume her husband is the same age. If her working husband refuses to take his retirement benefit before age 70 — because he doesn’t want to receive permanently lower benefits — the wife will have to wait until age 70 to collect her spousal benefit. That means she’ll receive no income in her own name from Social Security until she reaches age 70.​ Indeed, if this bill is passed, the people that are going to see their Social Security checks disappear in six months are primarily women. ​

What you should know about Social Security disability benefits

The new bill would also do great harm to households with disabled children. Under current law, a worker can obtain child benefits for his or her disabled child once he or she reaches age 62 if he or she files for his or her retirement benefit. If his or her spouse is not working, for example, to take care of their disabled child, the spouse can collect child-in-care spousal benefits. The worker who files at 62, however, has the option to suspend his or her benefit at full retirement age and restart it at a 32 percent higher value at 70. So the loss from taking benefits early to help his or her child and spouse collect benefits on his work record is mitigated. Under the proposed new law, if the worker suspends his or her benefit at full retirement age and restarts at 70, the benefits to the disabled child and the spouse are lost for all four years.

Finally, there is egregious inequality in the treatment of those born a few years apart. Someone who is now 70 and who has collected a full spousal benefit since 1966 and waited until this year to collect her retirement benefit will have received as much as $50,000 more from the system than someone in the same circumstances but who just turned 66.

To summarize, the new budget ​drastically cuts Social Security benefits for many of those now collecting, drastically cuts benefits for many of those who were about to collect, exacerbates Social Security work disincentive and induces households to do exactly the wrong thing, namely take their benefits too early at the cost of permanently lower benefits. And many of these changes will particularly hurt the middle class, women and families with disabled children.

Hells Angels Daly City is proud to present our 17th annual Harvest Run!

Hells Angels Daly City is proud to present our 17th annual Harvest Run! Limited edition run shirts, 5 star food, raffle, and live music! The action starts November 8th at the Daly City Clubhouse 886 Green St EPA CA 94303. Sign-ins from 9-11am. See you there!!! And don't forget to SUPPORT YOU LOCAL HELLS ANGELS DALY CITY!

Drinking Beer Makes You Better In Bed, Says Greatest Study Ever

Drawing my own experiences, the benefits of inebriation during sex don’t seem obvious. When Jackson stumbles into the bedroom at 2am, chances are his keenness for coitus and his penile performance will be inversely proportionate. But when you think about it, there are definitely some benefits.

It’s fairly common knowledge that (assuming he’s not gone soft) a man will tend to last longer after an evening of drinking. But the benefits don’t stop there. It’s clearly a burning social issue as sexpert Dr. Kat Van Kirk recently published a book on the matter. So here are the top science-backed reasons why having a Patron will make her moan.

You’ll last longer

It’s best to start with the obvious ones. But why exactly does drinking make men last longer? The reason is phytoestrogens. They delay ejaculation – improving the user experience for your significant other. Just don’t overdo it – that would be a bit counterintuitive.


You’ll live longer

Italian researchers found that daily beer drinkers are 31% less likely to have heart disease, heart attacks, or strokes. Apparently.


No more stomach gurgles

Due to the high content of B victims and probiotics, beer can actually be good for your stomach. Gladly devoid of heartburn, you’ll be in a far better shape ahead of your “workout”.


Get in the mood faster

Last and indeed least, some beers are thought to help instigate arousal. Beers containing high levels of iron help red blood cells – otherwise known as haemoglobin. Hemoglobin helps turn nitrite, a metabolic byproduct, into nitric oxide and it’s this which controls blood flow to the penis. That said, even Guinness contains only a negligible about of iron.


For another incredible reason to get hammered, check out our article on why one glass of red wine equals one hour in the gym.

72 Types Of Americans That Are Considered “Potential Terrorists” In Official Government Documents

Well I guess free thinking, free Americans are terrorists to those that want socialism and attack our (Americans) unalienable rights. Personally, if you don't believe in our Constitution, if you refuse to learn about the creation of this great country, then by your own choice, you are no longer an American. Because being an American means you believe in the idea of America. The idea that we the people created the government to secure our rights. To secure our right to life, liberty and happiness as WE want, not as the government of some bloated libtard cow says it should be.

By Michael Snyder

Are you a conservative, a libertarian, a Christian or a gun owner?  Are you opposed to abortion, globalism, Communism, illegal immigration, the United Nations or the New World Order?  Do you believe in conspiracy theories, do you believe that we are living in the “end times” or do you ever visit alternative news websites (such as this one)?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, you are a “potential terrorist” according to official U.S. government documents.

At one time, the term “terrorist” was used very narrowly.  The government applied that label to people like Osama bin Laden and other Islamic jihadists.  But now the Obama administration is removing all references to Islam from terror training materials, and instead the term “terrorist” is being applied to large groups of American citizens.

And if you are a “terrorist”, that means that you have no rights and the government can treat you just like it treats the terrorists that are being held at Guantanamo Bay.  So if you belong to a group of people that is now being referred to as “potential terrorists”, please don’t take it as a joke.  The first step to persecuting any group of people is to demonize them.  And right now large groups of peaceful, law-abiding citizens are being ruthlessly demonized.
Below is a list of 72 types of Americans that are considered to be “extremists” and “potential terrorists” in official U.S. government documents.  To see the original source document for each point, just click on the link.  As you can see, this list covers most of the country…

1. Those that talk about “individual liberties”
2. Those that advocate for states’ rights
3. Those that want “to make the world a better place”
4. “The colonists who sought to free themselves from British rule”
5. Those that are interested in “defeating the Communists”
6. Those that believe “that the interests of one’s own nation are separate from the interests of other nations or the common interest of all nations”
7. Anyone that holds a “political ideology that considers the state to be unnecessary, harmful,or undesirable”
8. Anyone that possesses an “intolerance toward other religions”
9. Those that “take action to fight against the exploitation of the environment and/or animals”
10. “Anti-Gay”
11. “Anti-Immigrant”
12. “Anti-Muslim”
13. “The Patriot Movement”
14. “Opposition to equal rights for gays and lesbians”
15. Members of the Family Research Council
16. Members of the American Family Association
17. Those that believe that Mexico, Canada and the United States “are secretly planning to merge into a European Union-like entity that will be known as the ‘North American Union’”
18. Members of the American Border Patrol/American Patrol
19. Members of the Federation for American Immigration Reform
20. Members of the Tennessee Freedom Coalition
21. Members of the Christian Action Network
22. Anyone that is “opposed to the New World Order”
23. Anyone that is engaged in “conspiracy theorizing”
24. Anyone that is opposed to Agenda 21
25. Anyone that is concerned about FEMA camps
26. Anyone that “fears impending gun control or weapons confiscations”
27. The militia movement
28. The sovereign citizen movement
29. Those that “don’t think they should have to pay taxes”
30. Anyone that “complains about bias”
31. Anyone that “believes in government conspiracies to the point of paranoia”
32. Anyone that “is frustrated with mainstream ideologies”
33. Anyone that “visits extremist websites/blogs”
34. Anyone that “establishes website/blog to display extremist views”
35. Anyone that “attends rallies for extremist causes”
36. Anyone that “exhibits extreme religious intolerance”
37. Anyone that “is personally connected with a grievance”
38. Anyone that “suddenly acquires weapons”
39. Anyone that “organizes protests inspired by extremist ideology”
40. “Militia or unorganized militia”
41. “General right-wing extremist”
42. Citizens that have “bumper stickers” that are patriotic or anti-U.N.
43. Those that refer to an “Army of God”
44. Those that are “fiercely nationalistic (as opposed to universal and international in orientation)”
45. Those that are “anti-global”
46. Those that are “suspicious of centralized federal authority”
47. Those that are “reverent of individual liberty”
48. Those that “believe in conspiracy theories”
49. Those that have “a belief that one’s personal and/or national ‘way of life’ is under attack”
50. Those that possess “a belief in the need to be prepared for an attack either by participating in paramilitary preparations and training or survivalism”
51. Those that would “impose strict religious tenets or laws on society (fundamentalists)”
52. Those that would “insert religion into the political sphere”
53. Anyone that would “seek to politicize religion”
54. Those that have “supported political movements for autonomy”
55. Anyone that is “anti-abortion”
56. Anyone that is “anti-Catholic”
57. Anyone that is “anti-nuclear”
58. “Rightwing extremists”
59. “Returning veterans”
60. Those concerned about “illegal immigration”
61. Those that “believe in the right to bear arms”
62. Anyone that is engaged in “ammunition stockpiling”
63. Anyone that exhibits “fear of Communist regimes”
64. “Anti-abortion activists”
65. Those that are against illegal immigration
66. Those that talk about “the New World Order” in a “derogatory” manner
67. Those that have a negative view of the United Nations
68. Those that are opposed “to the collection of federal income taxes”
69. Those that supported former presidential candidates Ron Paul, Chuck Baldwin and Bob Barr
70. Those that display the Gadsden Flag (“Don’t Tread On Me”)
71. Those that believe in “end times” prophecies
72. Evangelical Christians

The groups of people in the list above are considered “problems” that need to be dealt with.  In some of the documents referenced above, members of the military are specifically warned not to have anything to do with such groups.

We are moving into a very dangerous time in American history.  You can now be considered a “potential terrorist” just because of your religious or political beliefs.  Free speech is becoming a thing of the past, and we are rapidly becoming an Orwellian society that is the exact opposite of what our founding fathers intended.

Please pray for the United States of America.  We definitely need it.

About the author: Michael T. Snyder is a former Washington D.C. attorney who now publishes The Truth.  His new thriller entitled “The Beginning Of The End” is now available on

Ride In Peace to all the fallen brothers & sisters who have lost their lives doing what they love.

I saw you hug your purse closer to you in the grocery store line.
But you didn't see me put an extra $10.00 in the collection plate last Sunday.
I saw you pull your child closer when we passed each other on the sidewalk.
But you didn't see me playing Santa at the local mall.

I saw you change your mind about going into the restaurant.
But you didn't see me attending a meeting to raise more money for the hurricane relief.
I saw you roll up your window and shake your head when I drove by.
But you didn't see me driving behind you when you flicked your cigarette butt out the car window.
I saw you frown at me when I smiled at your children.
But you didn 't see me when I took time off from work to run toys to the homeless.
I saw you stare at my long hair.
But you didn't see me and my friends cut ten inches off for Locks of Love.
I saw you roll your eyes at our leather coats and gloves.
But you didn't see me and my brothers donate our old coats and gloves to those that had none.
I saw you look in fright at my tattoos.
But you didn't see me cry as my children where born and have their name written over and in my heart.
I saw you change lanes while rushing off to go somewhere.
But you didn't see me going home to be with my family.
I saw you complain about how loud and noisy our bikes can be.
But you didn't see me when you were changing the CD and drifted into my lane.
I saw you yelling at your kids in the car.
But you didn't see me pat my child's hands, knowing he was safe behind me.
I saw you reading the newspaper or map as you drove down the road.
But you didn't see me squeeze my wife's leg when she told me to take the next turn.
I saw you race down the road in the rain.
But you didn't see me get soaked to the skin so my son could have the car to go on his date.
I saw you run the yellow light just to save a few minutes of time.
But you didn't see me trying to turn right
I saw you cut me off because you needed to be in the lane I was in.
But you didn't see me leave the road.
I saw you waiting impatiently for my friends to pass.
But you didn't see me. I wasn't there.
I saw you go home to your family.
But you didn't see me. Because, I died that day you cut me off.
I WAS JUST A BIKER. A person with friends and a family. But you didn't see me.
Re-post this around in hopes that people will understand the biker community


Thursday, October 29, 2015

Marlboro ‘M’ Brand Marijuana Cigarettes Now For Sale In Four U.S. States


No, Phillip Morris Marlboro is not making any type of marijuana-brand cigarettes, at least not yet.

These days you can get away with just about anything on the internet. Unfortunately when it comes to making sh*t up, no one is hotter right now than “Now 8 News.”

marlboro marijuana cigarettes
The article reads as following:

“Washington, Oregon, Colorado and Alaska residents are celebrating the release of Phillip Morris Marlboro ‘M’ Brand Marijuana Cigarettes available next month for recreational use. The world’s largest cigarette producer, announced today that they will join the recreational marijuana bandwagon and begin the sale of marijuana cigarettes in these 4 U.S. states beginning November 1, 2015.

“This product is marketed under the brand “Marlboro M” and will be available for sale through marijuana-licensed outlets. Serafin Norcik, Philip Morris’ Senior Vice President for marketing, said in an interview, “Our company has been high on the idea for marketing cannabis and has been monitoring the market for some time. We have finally made the decision to take the leap and support these states in their right to legalized recreational marijuana use.

“Currently the law limits the purchase to only one pack at a time. Prices start at $89 per pack. You must be 21 years or older to purchase and must provide a photo ID. Any resale of the Philip Morris Marlboro “M” Brand Marijuana cigarettes is subject to fines and jail time according to local laws.”
Does the legal cannabis industry want someone like Phillip Morris coming onto the scene?

When interviewing cannabis companies for Green Rush Daily, we always ask where they see their company in 5 years. The overwhelming response is “Well, we hope to get bought out in 3 to 5 years by big tobacco or big pharma; we all know they are coming, right?” Now maybe it’s just a ploy or some cute candid response, but truthfully most cannabis companies don’t have a f*cking clue as to where they will be in 1 year, let alone 5.
RELATED: U.S. Government Legalizes Marijuana by 2018
Do we know “they” are coming?

Is big tobacco and big pharma hurting so badly right now they’re going to stop making billions per year on pills and cigarettes? Last we checked, people still line up to buy cigarettes at $15 a pack, and pills seem to be all the rage these days, especially judging from this list of the top 10 most prescribed drugs of 2015.
Marlboro Marijuana Cigarettes
via: Webmd

Everyone can now be perfect with the right pill these days, regardless of your gene pool. You just need to look out for the laundry list of side affects like diarrhea and vomiting.

Heroin is beyond an epidemic right now, mostly caused by opioids (vicodin, percocet) being shoved down our throats after simple procedures like getting a tooth pulled. This indirectly (or directly depending on how you look at it) translates to big dollars for big pharma. That, my friends, is why nothing is being done about it; good ‘ole capitalism at its finest.
RELATED: More Than 200,000 People Moved to Colorado Between 2013-2014

Big pharma and tobacco may eventually get into the cannabis game at some point, but when? No one really knows; but what we do know is they’re not going to hire cannabis growers overnight and start farming like a video game.

Until then, let’s focus on the positives of cannabis and what it can do to advance our nation/humanity as a whole. We know cannabis solves problems and issues we are facing as a country, from medical cures to lowering addiction rates to hard drugs. By now everyone should know the fact that it brings in sh*t tons of tax revenue for states that have legalized it.

Bottom line, this is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what the cannabis plant can do for our world. To stop here would be foolish, SO DON’T.

RELATED: How To Roll the Perfect Joint

best-joint filter
RELATED: U.S. Government Legalizes Marijuana by 2018

legalizes marijuana
MUST READ: Study Finds Cheese Triggers Same Part of Brain as Hard Drugs

Cheese and Hard Drugs
RELATED: Colorado McDonald’s Offers First Marijuana Friendly Smoking Section

McDonald's Smoking Section

AUSTRALIA - Meanwhile In Oz

America’s testing ground in the Global War on Motorcycle Outlaws is Australia: As the Spanish Civil War was where the Nazis practiced for World War II.
Australia isn’t hogtied with a Bill of Rights so police there can be slightly more unreasonable than the police here are. The primary tool used to get bad guys on motorbikes in the state of Queensland is called the Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment Act of 2013, or VLAD. Like Vlad the Impaler. The law, which was written with the advice of the American Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives makes it possible, for example, for police to detain someone who has the number “13” tattooed on his neck. And that is exactly what happened to a nice young couple of Australian tourists from the state of Victoria named Clayton Foelmli and Hayley Van Hostauyen. (Photo above.)
Australian news sources have reported that she is a 21-year-old preschool teacher and he is a 23-year-old member of the Rebels Motorcycle Club

Foelmli Says

The couple had just driven a rental car out of the Gold Coast Airport, south of Brisbane, when, according to Foelmi: “I have no club gear on at all. They simply seen me and my partner Hayley at a red light, noticed a 13 tattooed on my neck and pulled us over. Made us get out of car. I was strip searched on the side of a major freeway by four officers and told to get on the ground? Pfft! What a joke. Welcome to Queensland. As soon as we got pulled over I started recording because I have been advised to from a lawyer in case something like this may happen. The other female officer tells me I can’t film. Grabs me on the throat then pulls a Taser on me? For what? Executing my rights? After they worked out who I was after checking my ID, searching the car and all that the female officer in charge says to me, ‘We will make a deal with you. You delete that footage or else we will confiscate yours and your girlfriend’s phone for 28 days. So I unlocked my phone and the female officer in charge deleted the footage! Well lucky my phone saves deleted photos and videos.”
Van Hostauyen posted the video (below) on her Facebook page. As of this afternoon it has been viewed 2,833,790 times.
In the video, Foelmi asks if they were stopped because of his tattoos. “Yep, yep,” the cop relies. “You’d be aware we have legislation. If we identify a potential member of a criminal motorcycle gang we have the power to stop, detain and search you.”.

Good Cops

Assistant Commissioner Brian Codd of the Queensland Police Service said the young couple was harassed because, “There are numerous tattoos that are known through experience to be indicators of OMCG (Outlaw Motorcycle Club Gang) membership, and all I can tell you at this stage is that tattoo was one of those. It was coupled by other indicators upon interception about paraphernalia that relates to an outlaw motorcycle gang.”
Codd said the officers acted properly. The couple was released after being detained. So far, neither Foelmi nor Van Hostauyen have filed a formal complaint with police.

ABATE Local 6 Meeting - November 1, 2015


WHEN:      Sunday, November 1, 2015        TIME:  12:00 noon   
WHERE:    Kate Sessions Park – Pacific Beach

HAPPY HALLOWEEN … hope you get lots of candy! 

We’re getting close to the end of the year so please come out and hear the latest about Motorcycle Rights! 

Have you bought your “Truck Load of Party Goods Raffle tickets yet?  This is an ABATE Local 6 fundraiser, and the first prize is a $200 gift card PLUS a truck load of party goods for a huge party (lots of food, drinks, snacks…amazing).  This is a really cool raffle and we have tickets available for you to buy AND sell.  The drawing will be held in May.

For the meeting, here’s our standard subjects that will be covered this month:
·         General Business
·         Treasury Report
  • Membership
  • Legislative and Judicial Updates
·         Phone Tree and E-Mail Alerts
·         Merchandise
·         Safety Report
  • Runs and Events
·         Political / PAC / Judicial
·         Webmaster   
·         Old Business
·         New Business  

BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING.  As we mentioned last month, Adam Lutz will be on the ABATE Board next year.  The three San Diego County board members and member elect, headed to Fresno for the meeting this month.  Well, they cancelled it because they said members couldn’t get there.  San Diego DID!  The meeting will be rescheduled. 

ABATE END OF SUMMER MOTORCYCLE AWARENESS PARTY.  We had the party last Saturday.  Thank you Monica for all  your hard work putting this event together and working so hard at the event.  The attendance was less than expected, but we’d like to thank everyone who showed up and who helped.  We appreciate that many of the San Diego COC clubs came to support us. A special thanks to Monica, Patty, Joe, Adam, Mo, Chop, and JoAnne for spending the whole time working the event…you rock!   Snowman and Michael Byrd cooked the hamburgers and hot dogs plus Robyn Byrd took a zillion pictures…thank you all. The band was super, nice raffle and 50-50, good food, excellent insurance and motorcycle rights messages, and most of all a great time had by all who came to support ABATE Local 6. 

WEBPAGE AND FACEBOOK REMINDER.  Don’t forget to check out our ABATE Local 6 webpage and Facebook page periodically.  Joe does a great job of keeping things up to date.  Also if you have something to add, just get in touch with Joe for the webpage and/or go to the Facebook page and add your comments.  Here’s some links to our stuff:
Facebook page:       

RUNS AND EVENTS.  Here’s what’s happening in November and December:

·         ABATE Local 11 Meeting – November 8 – Escondido Moose Lodge, 25721 Jesmond Dene Road, Escondido – 11 a.m.
·         ABATE Local 38 Imperial Valley Turkey Run– November 21 – El Centro Walmart
·         San Diego Toy Run – November 29 – Save the date – details to come
·         VA Hospital Visit – December 13 – Save the date -- Veteran’s Hospital...details to come 

As always the Final Option will a breakfast at Sweetwater Harley just before our meeting this month.  Howie always invites everyone down to have breakfast first and then ride up to Kate Sessions for our meeting. 
Don’t forget, if you have any subjects or topics you’d like discussed, please email me at and let me know what you’d like covered.  We’ll do our best.

Another important reminder…please remember to let us know if you change membership information … address, telephone, email, etc.  Send the updates also to
Nancy Nemecek
Vice President – Local 6
Email –


Editorial: In Waco case, biker gangs earning more trust than prosecutors

 In this May 17 file photo, authorities investigate a shooting in the parking lot of the Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco, Texas. Police were among those firing weapons during the deadly shootout, though it remains unclear if police bullets caused any of the nine fatalities, according to evidence reviewed by The Associated Press.
Published: 26 October 2015 03:55 PM
Updated: 26 October 2015 10:47 PM

    Editorial: We appeal to the court: End gag order in Waco bikers case
    Reports: Waco prosecutors withheld public information on May shootout

Right after the May 17 motorcycle-gang shootout in Waco, this newspaper’s inclination was to believe law enforcers’ account that the nine deaths and 22 injuries were the result of hardened criminal thugs waging a deadly turf battle. But the longer this bizarre case plays out, the more credible the bikers look, and the more it appears that McLennan County officials have something to hide.

The state attorney general’s office has told McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna to stop withholding text messages that were sought to shed light on how officials behaved after the shootout at the Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco. Police were on hand, guns at the ready, when a brawl erupted in the Twin Peaks parking lot.

A retired sheriff’s deputy, Randall Gates, asked the attorney general’s office to intervene after he was repeatedly rebuffed in efforts to learn about backroom negotiations that let some of the 177 arrested bikers receive reduced bail-bond assessments. The judge in the case initially set bail at $1 million for each suspect.

Gates wanted to know whether lower amounts were negotiated in exchange for some bikers’ waiving their right to sue for wrongful incarceration. Nothing has surfaced to confirm his suspicions. But Gates was stymied in at least three bids to force Reyna to turn over copies of text messages that could explain how the negotiations transpired.

Why does McLennan County have a problem with transparency? A series of actions by officials and the judge overseeing the case provide ample cause for the public to doubt this entire process.

For example, District Judge Matt Johnson issued a gag order that prohibited all arrested bikers from talking about the case. As of Monday, 162 days had passed since the shootout, yet not a single charge has been filed for the nine deaths. Yet no one is allowed to talk.

One biker, Matthew Clendennen, felt compelled to sue, arguing that the gag order is unconstitutional. Others complain that the blanket nature of the bail assessments treated all 177 suspects as equally culpable. All were painted with the same presumption of guilt even though it’s now clear that many were non-combatants who were fleeing the gunfire and simply were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Two-thirds of those arrested had no prior convictions.

Additional confusion reigns over who did the shooting. Initial law enforcement assertions laid blame on the bikers. But evidence now indicates that police gunfire added to the melee.

The public’s natural tendency in a high-profile case like this is to seek information so we can sift the bad from good and lies from truth. Waco officials seem willing to risk a loss of public trust in order to maintain a stranglehold on information.

By the numbers

177 number arrested after the shootout

135 number of suspects originally required to wear ankle monitors

22 number still required to wear them as of September

9 deaths that resulted from the shootout

0 indictments for the shooting deaths

VETERANS DAY SALUTE Wednesday, November 11th beginning at 11am

Wednesday, November 11th beginning at 11am
Join us for a special Veterans Day parade and tribute.
We will see you there!

USA - Here’s How Police Could End Up Making Body Cameras Mostly Useless

By Nick Wing for

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 04: Los Angeles Police Officer Jim Stover, with Information Technology Bureau demonstrates how an officer turns on the new LAPD body camera during a press conference at LAPD Mission Division Friday September 4, 2015 as they talked about the rollout of the agency's officer body cameras. The rollout of the body cameras began last Monday at LAPD's Mission Division in the north San Fernando Valley when officers received final instructions on using the cameras during roll call training sessions. About 1,000 video were recorded during the first two days of operation, according to Mayor Eric Garcetti. (Photo by Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA – SEPTEMBER 04: Los Angeles Police Officer Jim Stover, with Information Technology Bureau demonstrates how an officer turns on the new LAPD body camera during a press conference at LAPD Mission Division Friday September 4, 2015 (Photo by Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Moments before he died, Charly Keunang took a swing at a cop. This wasn’t an ordinary jab or hook. In cell phone video filmed by a bystander in March, the 43-year-old homeless man can be seen spinning toward a group of Los Angeles police officers, arms flailing. He looks more like the Tasmanian Devil than Mike Tyson.

The whirlwind attack lasts a few seconds, and then ends just as quickly as it began. Keunang, a Cameroonian immigrant who was known as “Africa” on Los Angeles’ Skid Row, careens wildly into the incoming fist of one of the officers. The cop punches Keunang in the face and takes him to the ground, where the scuffle continues.

“Stop resisting,” officers yell as they try to subdue Keunang. Four officers blanket him, and you can hear the sound of one of their stun guns clicking. “He has my gun. He has my gun,” screams one. The officers then open fire.

An autopsy later shows that two bullets struck Keunang in the chest at close range. Two entered elsewhere on his torso, and two hit his left arm. Keunang was pronounced dead at the scene, his name among at least 61 unarmed black men killed by police this year, according to a database compiled by

The Guardian.
Keunang frantically swings at LAPD officers at the beginning of a bystander video recorded on March 1. The clip has been slowed for clarity.

The eyewitness video of Keunang’s death went viral, sparking protests from Angelenos who argued the shooting was further proof that the city’s police department should overhaul its use of force policy and rethink its approach to dealing with the mentally ill. More than 1,000people with mental illnesses are estimated to live on the streets of Skid Row, an expanse of downtown Los Angeles that has one of the nation’s biggest populations of homeless people living on the streets. Tensions between police and civilians in the area run high.

As the public searches for answers about what happened on that afternoon in March, a new set of concerns has emerged about police officers’ use of body cameras — and how, or if, the devices will promote accountability and transparency if the policies that govern the footage are overly restrictive.

Two of the officers involved in Keunang’s killing were equipped with body cameras that were recording during the episode. Although investigators have that footage in their possession, the LAPD has not publicly released it. Under recently adopted policy, the department likely won’t release the videos unless it’s compelled to do so in a criminal or civil court proceeding.

Without the body camera footage, a number of questions linger. What happened before the confrontation became physical? Could officers have done a better job of de-escalating? Does the body camera video provide a clearer picture of how and why officers resorted to deadly force?

The existing bystander footage has provided little conclusive evidence. LAPD officials have claimed the most-watched video shows Keunang grabbing an officer’s firearm during the struggle, causing the officer to fear for his life. More than seven months later, the Los Angeles County district attorney, Jackie Lacey, hasn’t announced whether charges will be filed against any of the officers.

To complicate matters further, the few journalists who have seen the body camera footage say it challenges the official police account and calls the department’s tactics into question. At GQ,Jeff Sharlet wrote that the video never shows Keunang gain control of the officer’s weapon. Gale Holland and Richard Winton of the Los Angeles Times reported that officers repeatedly threatened to use a Taser on Keunang before he got violent, while he was trying to talk with them.

It’s unclear if the body camera videos will affect the decision about whether to charge the officers in Keunang’s death. If the LAPD gets its way and the footage is not released, the public will be asked to trust that Lacey made her decision correctly and impartially. In other words, the presence of body cameras will have changed very little in this case, at least outwardly.

With more and more police departments beginning to adopt officer-worn camera technology, Keunang’s death and its aftermath should serve as a warning. When the White House announced a $75 million initiative last year to expand body camera programs around the nation, it said the devices would help “build and sustain trust between communities and those who serve and protect these communities.” But the equipment can only achieve this goal if the policies governing the use of body cameras and disclosure of the footage don’t get in the way.

Critics say the LAPD’s body camera policy is problematic because it allows the department to withhold its footage from the public, it requires officers to review footage before they write police reports, it doesn’t lay out clear punishment for officers who fail to turn on their cameras during critical incidents, and it doesn’t provide clear privacy protections to limit public surveillance.

This is a troubling list of complaints. But at their core is an essential problem: Giving police the power to block the release of body camera footage deprives the public of an opportunity to better formulate an opinion about police tactics and to push back with facts, should community members find an officer’s actions to be inappropriate. In many places, bad body camera policy is threatening to undercut public demands for accountability and transparency before programs even get off the ground.

Here are a few scenarios to look out for:
<span class='image-component__caption' itemprop="caption">LAPD officers at a training session to learn how their department will use body cameras on Aug. 31, 2015.</span>AL SEIB VIA GETTY IMAGESLAPD officers at a training session to learn how their department will use body cameras on Aug. 31, 2015.
Your community might not get to decide whether it wants police to use body cameras in the first place.

Before civilians weigh in on how body camera programs should work, they need to decide if they want police to have the devices at all.

People are already being left out of this most basic decision-making process, says Nadia Kayyali, an activist for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit that focuses on digital rights and technology.

“Where body cams are being adopted, it’s really important that community members — particularly those who come from the communities that are most affected by police accountability issues — need to be involved in that decision. They need to have a discussion,” Kayyali said. “And what we’re already seeing is that instead, law enforcement agencies are applying for this money without that discussion.”

Last month, the Justice Department announced grants to help 73 local and tribal agencies in 32 states expand their body camera programs. Many other cities and towns had already started to do so, though a number of major metropolitan police forces have been slower to move, often due to disputes over the costs of equipment and data storage, as well as resistancefrom police officers themselves.

But while many departments have either begun equipping officers with body cameras or have outlined plans to begin the process, most of them have not yet released official guidelines on how the cameras will be used. Some departments are in the process of drafting policy for the use of body cameras. Others are waiting for pilot programs to conclude before moving forward.

Activists and police officials regularly tout the acquisition of body cameras as a key step toward reform, but many people are still skeptical, believing the devices could fail to prompt meaningful change and even make certain issues worse.

“There is concern that body cameras can be misused, are going to provide more ammunition in court for prosecution, rather than accountability for law enforcement themselves,” said Kayyali. “There is concern that they are really creating pervasive surveillance.”
<span class='image-component__caption' itemprop="caption">An LAPD officer wears a body camera during a demonstration for media in Los Angeles.</span>AP PHOTO/DAMIAN DOVARGANESAn LAPD officer wears a body camera during a demonstration for media in Los Angeles.
Your community might not be included in the policy-making process.

Even if residents agree that police should be equipped with body cameras, they most likely won’t get final say over the policies that will ultimately determine how effective the programs can be.

A coalition of more than 30 groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union and the EFF,signed a letter in May that outlined a set of body camera principles for departments to consider. First among them: “Develop camera policies in public with the input of civil rights advocates and the local community.”

Many departments have taken this advice to heart, at least in theory, by holding listening sessions and seeking public input about body cameras. But just because they’re asking people to submit recommendations doesn’t mean they’re actually including them in the resulting policies.

Cities like Los Angeles have already come under fire for not allowing sufficient public input before drafting policies, and for putting forth proposals that critics say have failed to incorporate civilian priorities. In September, the ACLU suggested that the Justice Department should deny federal grant money to Los Angeles due to deficiencies in its body camera policy. But the LAPD ended up receiving a $1 million grant, putting it among the top funding recipients.
Police could make it difficult or impossible for the public to access critical body camera footage.

This is the biggest concern for civil rights groups and the public, who have pushed for the adoption of body cameras largely in the belief that they can make police more transparent and accountable.

But in some places, law enforcement is already severely restricting the footage it will release publicly. In Los Angeles, for example, body camera footage is explicitly exempted from public records laws. The chief of police can decide to release video as he or she sees fit.

The District of Columbia is currently considering a proposal not to publicly release body camera footage if there are pending criminal charges against a suspect or an officer. In matters of great public interest, however, the mayor would have the authority to decide whether or not to unseal related video. This policy was suggested after Mayor Muriel Bowser attempted earlier this year to make all body camera footage exempt from public records requests.

In Las Vegas, which has taken a more open stance on body camera footage, police will be allowed to withhold video pertaining to ongoing criminal investigations or internal investigations. While this may make sense in some cases, many of the most controversial incidents — shootings, in-custody deaths, use of force complaints — typically result in these types of probes, meaning police could use this provision to suppress the majority of consequential footage until after the investigation has been completed.

Together, such measures have the effect of preserving the existing system, in which the public must simply trust that law enforcement will properly resolve any issues without external oversight.

That’s not helpful.

“If you’re using body cameras for accountability, you can’t then depend on police discretion for the footage to be used for that purpose,” said Kayyali.
<span class='image-component__caption' itemprop="caption">Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti shakes hands with LAPD officers who are wearing the department's new body cameras on Sept. 4, 2015.</span>AL SEIB VIA GETTY IMAGESLos Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti shakes hands with LAPD officers who are wearing the department’s new body cameras on Sept. 4, 2015.
Police may end up using the footage only for their own benefit.

Another emerging point of contention is whether officers will be allowed to view recorded footage before filing their reports or making statements about an incident.

Law enforcement officials in a number of cities, including San Francisco, San Diego andDenver, have said their officers should be able to do so. A Justice Department report on body cameras released in 2014 supports this practice, claiming it will help ensure accuracy, though as The Washington Post recently reported, the director of the group that authored the report has since changed his mind.

In Los Angeles, any officer accused of excessive use of force or grave misconduct will be required to review relevant body camera footage before giving any statement to investigators. Civil rights groups like the ACLU, however, see this as a move that will taint the investigative process before it begins and protect officers from potential repercussions for misconduct.

“It will allow officers to lie and tailor their stories to the video,” said Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst for the ACLU’s speech, privacy and technology program. “But even for most officers who don’t lie, video is not an objective record, and even memory is not an objective record. The officer might see things or experience things the video doesn’t capture, depending on lighting, camera angle, when the video was turned on or turned off.”

Beyond that, there’s the more basic matter of preferential treatment. A civilian under police investigation would not get to review an officer’s body camera footage before being questioned. Some argue that police deserve certain privileges in the legal process, but Stanley says that if the goal is equal justice under the law — even for the law — this shouldn’t be one of the benefits.

“An investigation is supposed to be a search for truth. The families of a person who’s been shot or beat up, they deserve the truth,” he said. “This is not a policy that will yield truth most accurately.”
Officers may not face significant punishment for failing to enable cameras or for disabling them.

While police are pushing for a variety of measures that may end up making body cameras less helpful to the public, the equipment is completely useless if it’s not being used properly in the first place.

To make sure that officers can’t simply snuff out evidence of misconduct by switching cameras off or by tampering with footage after it’s recorded, the coalition of civil rights organizations recommends that departments outline clear policies about when and where officers must turn body cameras on, and enforce strict disciplinary protocols for any violations.

Many departments have established specific guidelines to determine which kinds of interactions with civilians should be recorded, but the punishment for failing to follow policy may not fit most people’s definition of “strict.”

In Los Angeles, the city’s body camera policy doesn’t lay out specific sanctions for an officer who fails to activate the device, though it does say that any tampering with the footage will be “considered serious misconduct and subject to disciplinary action.”

In other cities, the disciplinary response is less vague. In Denver, the first failure to adhere to body camera recording requirements in a 12-month period will result in a written reprimand. A second violation in the same period means will result in the officer being fined a day’s pay and subjected to an in-depth audit of his or her body camera use. A third violation will trigger a formal disciplinary case, while “purposeful, flagrant or repeated violations will result in more severe disciplinary action.”

It’s not clear what level of discipline is necessary to ensure that officers are compliant with body camera programs, but there’s reason to believe they’ll need some pressure. Over the years, we’ve seen a number of controversial incidents in which dashboard or surveillance cameras supposedly “malfunctioned” at critical moments. Important footage has also simply gone “missing,” making it impossible to prove allegations of misconduct.

And in the past year, there have been at least a few instances of officers not activating body cameras before fatal encounters.

Pilot programs have provided some insight into how this problem could play out when more officers are equipped with body cameras. In Denver, an independent monitor’s review found that over six months, many officers failed to record incidents in which they used force. At the time of the report in March, police officials disputed the findings and refused to clarify if those failures were a result of policy violations or faulty equipment.
<span class='image-component__caption' itemprop="caption">Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, left, with LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, right, who is wearing a body camera, shows off the new LAPD body camera on Sept. 4, 2015.</span>AL SEIB/LOS ANGELES TIMES VIA GETTY IMAGESLos Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, left, with LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, right, who is wearing a body camera, shows off the new LAPD body camera on Sept. 4, 2015.
Sensitive body camera footage could end up coming back to bite you.

Another essential aspect of the debate over body cameras centers around privacy. As body cameras become commonplace, police will increasingly be recording in private settings and sensitive situations that involve victims, witnesses and bystanders. Only some of this footage will be of value to the public interest. Good body camera policy should honor the need for transparency while minimizing the potential for privacy violations or putting recorded subjects at risk.

Many cities have drafted policies requiring officers to notify individuals when they are being recorded in their homes or elsewhere. Others clearly lay out instances in which officers may switch off their cameras at the request of a victim or witness.

In Seattle, where police are releasing a much higher volume of video to the public, the city’s police department has decided to withhold footage recorded in private. Other video appears online in heavily redacted form, but gives people the option of filing a formal request to view an unedited version.

These are positive steps, but they don’t eliminate the possibility of abuse. A letter from the ACLU criticizing the LAPD’s body camera policy suggests departments must set down clear guidelines to prohibit footage from being used for any political or personal purposes.

“Finally, while the policy bars unauthorized release of video by officers, its failure to set any rules for release through authorized channels threatens privacy by potentially allowing release of sensitive or embarrassing footage where there is no clear public interest in disclosure,” writes the ACLU.
Officers may use body camera footage for more general surveillance.

Civil rights groups are also concerned about the risks of encouraging police to equip every police officer with a device capable of constant recording.

“We’re very concerned that this technology will expand to include things like facial recognition,” said Stanley. “[The use of body cameras] should be something that helps an investigation and helps establish trust between community and police officers. This should not become yet another surveillance tool.”

Police departments are having enough trouble figuring out how to use body cameras in their current, relatively primitive form, so perhaps this isn’t an immediate concern. But as the devices become more widely used, it seems likely that their capabilities will expand in ways that would further benefit law enforcement. After all, they’re the ones buying the products — even if it is with taxpayer dollars.

“We don’t want the kind of scenario where facial recognition is run against all video with the identity of everybody who’s spotted anywhere at any time logged and stored in some government database — or for this to be turned into the facial equivalent of license plate scanners, where everyone’s face is scanned,” Stanley said.
Body cameras may work better or worse depending on which state you live in.

Keeping an eye on what your local police department is doing about body cameras is important, but it might not be enough. Around the nation, states are reforming public access laws in ways that will ultimately make it harder for body cameras to further the goals of police accountability and transparency. According to the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, 10 states have already passed laws this year that will limit access to these videos, while a number of others proposed unsuccessful legislation.

South Carolina and Texas, for example, passed laws that put a lid on public access to most, if not all, body camera footage. In South Carolina, those videos are now completely exempt from the state’s public records law. In Texas, any video that pertains to a case that is under criminal or administrative investigation will only be released to the public after the probe has been concluded. Police officials in those states can release footage as they see fit.

As more and more states take the body camera push into their own hands, the growing use of this equipment could end up being accompanied by sweeping laws that actually make it less effective.

Civil rights advocates like Stanley say people are right to be concerned about many of the emerging trends in body camera policy. But it’s still very early in the process, and if body cameras are indeed here to stay, he says there’s reason to be optimistic that the rules governing their use will evolve in the right direction.

“Inevitably, we’ll see a range of policies — some good, some bad — but our hope is that over time, things will coalesce into a national standard of best practices around this technology,” he said. “And police departments or states that aren’t complying with it will come to be seen as unprofessional outliers.”

By Nick Wing for