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Friday, July 6, 2018

California Motorcycle Club members, associates, affiliates and supporters.

 Various members of the motorcycle club community throughout the state have received Gang Validation notification letters from local law enforcement. Although CalGang has been around for years, only recently has law enforcement been required by law (AB 2298) to notify individuals that they were going to be entered into the CalGang database as a suspected gang member. These validations are not limited to members of motorcycle clubs, but to associates and supporters as well.
The club member whose name I blacked out was not even pulled over. Apparently, his picture was taken while he was riding on the highway. The LEO then went to social media and other internet resources to connect him to his club, which apparently is classified as gang on some list or database. The rider in question is well educated, is a teacher in a juvenile detention center, has NO criminal background and has successfully passed rigorous background checks as required for his job. Yet, because he is a member of a motorcycle club, he was profiled while riding and unexpectedly notified that he is a suspected gang member and will be entered into the gang database.
Needless to say, this has sparked a lot of concern and discussion regarding CA State Gang laws, the classification of Motorcycle Clubs as Gangs, whether or not people have been validated as gang members long before the new law required notification, how to reply to these notifications, how to determine if one is already in the database and how to appeal to get your name removed, whether this validation raise the risk of applied gang enhancement charges for traffic infractions or misdemeanors, if the validation information will shared with potential employers, schools, etc.....
Rest assured that this topic is being taken very seriously and various rights organizations and riding coalitions across the state and nationally are beginning to share information and are looking into what can be done.
In the meantime, if you or anyone you know who is connected to a motorcycle club receives a letter like this, please contact me.