Should Cops Be Allowed to Profile Bikers?
Sons of Hell MC via Facebook
Members of a motorcycle club called the "Sons of Hell" claim in a federal lawsuit that they were treated unfairly by police.
The lawsuit contends that cops violated their constitutional rights and treat them as a gang "based solely on their associations and friendships with the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club."
The bikers allege that a couple of hours after completely unrelated murder/suicide that occurred near their campground south of Flagstaff, officers from the Arizona Department of Public Safety, the Gang and Immigration Intelligence Team Enforcement Mission task force, and the Coconino County Sheriff's Office "forcibly removed Plaintiffs from their residences with assault rifles and other firearms" at their camping spots.
"During the invasion, Plaintiffs were handcuffed forced to lay on the cold ground, detained and imprisoned for longer than three hours (some partially or mostly naked), photographed, forced to answer questions in interrogation, forced to reveal their tattoos for further photography, mocked, otherwise humiliated, yelled at, and threatened with violence by Defendants, under color of their authority as police officers," the lawsuit alleges.
This might be the reason that Sons of Hell members were at the state capitol earlier this year, calling for lawmakers to pass a bill about "motorcycle profiling."
The bill, which failed, said police would need to take courses about not "using the sole fact that a person rides a motorcycle or wears motorcycle-related paraphernalia as the basis for taking any law enforcement action against the person, including arresting, searching or questioning the person, without any other legal basis . . ."
On the other hand, New Times has documented many instances of other motorcycle clubs being involved in murders, shootings, bar brawls, and other crimes.
So, should cops be allowed to profile bikers, when, for example, they have a vest that reads "HELLS ANGELS" across the back?
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Follow Matthew Hendley on Twitter at @MatthewHendley.
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