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Saturday, November 12, 2016

Final Solution For Bikers

Yesterday the German Bundestag passed legislation that will allow Germany’s federal government to prosecute and pursue forfeiture actions against motorcycle clubs – Germany calls them rockergrupen. The new legislation probably signals a refinement in the German war on bikers.
The Federal Republic of Germany is comprised of 16 states. Since     1871, when Germany became a politically unified nation rather than a culturally unified but politically divided nation, police power has traditionally been reserved to the various German states. The one exception was the Nazi era, when police power was centralized. After Germany was reunified in 1990, most police power continued to reside with the states. The duties of federal police in Germany have been largely limited to securing the country’s borders. And, since the advent of the European Union, which effectively eliminated national borders in Europe, the federal police have been mostly delegated to policing airports and trains.
In the United States investigations and prosecutions of motorcycle clubs are always directed by the Department of Justice and by federal police forces like the ATF, the FBI, the DEA and the Department of Homeland Security.

National Menace

But in Germany, for example, the German state of Berlin banned wearing the Hells Angels patch in May 2014; the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia banned insignia associated with both the Hells Angels and the Bandidos a couple of months later; and an incident in which two Mongols were allegedly shot by Hells Angels in Hamburg last December was investigated by police there.
A German appeals court recently overturned the German patch bans. The new national legislation was introduced after prosecutors in Hamburg dropped their appeal of that decision.
Germany has seen motorcycle clubs as a national menace for more than three decades but has been unable to eliminate them. As Wolfgang Dick, a reporter for German broadcaster Deutsche Welle, put it four years ago: “The main problem is that many members of motorcycle gangs – mostly men aged 40 to 50 with a good education – have regular jobs. They live in inconspicuous small houses with neat gardens. They are well connected and have a strict, self-imposed code of honor.”
“Because of that, we don’t receive any testimony,” anti-biker zealot Frank Schleiden told the television reporter. “Aggrieved gang members never betray the perpetrators. The gangs shut themselves off completely and sort things out between themselves.”
But Federal German Police, instigated by American federal police, have been chomping at the bit to get in on the action. After the 2014 Berlin ban, André Schulz, who is the director of Germany’s Association of Criminal Police, told Speigel “that a nationwide phenomenon like biker gangs…needs to be…centrally investigated.” Today Germany is a step closer to doing that.