Should Cops Be Allowed to Profile Bikers?

Categories: Morning Poll
sons-of-hell-top.jpg
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."

See also:
-"Sons of Hell" Bikers Claim Cops Treat Them Like Gangsters

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?

Cast your vote below:


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Follow Matthew Hendley on Twitter at @MatthewHendley.



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21 comments
D-day
D-day

profiling is just another word for prejudice.

aliasetc
aliasetc topcommenter

I profile everybody I deal with and so do most people. You only get one chance to make a first impression. Ain't that profiling?

dfwmitcb
dfwmitcb

I'm all for the professional law enforcement community disrespecting bikers ignorning their constitutional rights and treating them like the lowlife filthy hellraisers they are, as long as after being violated they in turn get to light their favorite Officer's house on fire, or we could just settle our differences with a maple syrup chugging contest?

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Should Bikers be allowed to Profile Cops ?


Folksinger
Folksinger

I was there when that happened, in fact I was camped out just down the way from where these guys where camped at They had done nothing wrong, the majority of them had already retired for the night when this all went down.... and what they (the cops) did was totally wrong!! They (the cops) had been waiting outside of the event all day, there was just a few just a few of them, or so I thought. ....I tell you it was scary as hell with all of those cops rolling in like they did, like how did they all get there so quick, and so many of them? Which means they was staged outside of the event. Up until the murder/suicide happened, everyone was hanging out, having fun and being cool!

Francisco Cortez
Francisco Cortez

YES! pull them over, pat them down, and run background checks. Let them get the taste of what Hispanics go through. Profiling is legal here, so why not?

Marco Cruz
Marco Cruz

yup, theyre organized gangs just like every other click out there. you want people to notice you and your colors, reap what you sow.

ElRomano
ElRomano

Of course they should be profiled. Just consider it SB 1070 for Bikers.

jonnyquest
jonnyquest topcommenter

I once had an unusual experience regarding a biker. I was visiting a friend who lived just a short distance from a notorious biker bar. Regular shootings and stabbings. A friend of my friend knocked on the door to tell us there was a biker passed out in the front yard. What should we do? If we call the cops that might provoke an incident and retribution. The guy might need help, but maybe he's just passed out. So we go out to investigate. Each of us has a pistol in hand behind our back. "Are you ok, do you need help, do you want us to call someone for you?" The guy was falling down drunk. "I just need some help starting this." He had broken off the kick start lever. He tried push starting it and fell again. "Let us call someone for you". "Naw, fuck it. I'll just push it home, thanks guys." We last saw him pushing his bike around the corner at the end of the street. Did he make it home? Yeah, pretty sure. At least we didn't see anyone laying in the street later. Did we profile him? Hell yes we did! And everybody was better off. But I was much younger, not too concerned about consequences, and really lucky.

Susan Rastella
Susan Rastella

Only in Arizona and only if they have brown skin. JUST KIDDING DON'T SHOOT.

NWEng
NWEng

They should absolutely be able to profile anyone as long as as the current theocracy and constitutionalists deems them undeserved of their guaranteed rights under the constitution.  After all, the Bill of Rights and/or any other constitutional guarantees belong to the righteous and upstanding like our family and friends; but, not everyone and especially not to people or groups we don't like.  /sarc

In all seriousness, how is this topic even a valid question?

Joe Kennedy
Joe Kennedy

I take that back... Yes, but only the ones on those crotch rockets that do stupid shit life popping wheelies on the freeway.

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

There's an interesting business model.

Form a group, design a uniform that says something to the effect of "We're An Outlaw Gang" and associate with Hell's Angels.   Wait patiently to have your rights infringed upon, then sue.


JohnQ.Public
JohnQ.Public

There's a bigger question - should cops be allowed to profile anyone?  Should cops be allowed to profile African Americans? Hispanics? White kids wearing their pants below their ass?  Investment Bankers?  Hedge Fund Operators?

Our justice system is built on the concept of individual culpability - we only investigate an individual when law enforcement has an articulable suspicion (Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1) that the individual has been involved in criminal activity.  Our Constitution demands no less.  Unfortunately we have moved far, far away from that standard as demonstrated by everything from the recent disclosures about NSA monitoring to Phoenix PD spying on, monitoring and developing dossiers on members of the occupy movement (http://blogs.phoenixnewtimes.com/valleyfever/2013/05/occupy_phoenix_group_criticize.php). 

No, cops should not be allowed to profile bikers.  Investigate specific allegations of criminal activity - of course, but not profile.

Andrew Jones
Andrew Jones

Police shouldn't be allowed to profile ANYone.

whyme1969
whyme1969

Many beaners are just leeches off the system. I was at the event. unless you know whats been done ///shut the hell up. Sons Of Hell were totally profiled. they had nothing to do with the shooting in question.


whyme1969
whyme1969

@JohnQ.Public I have a very simple profiling system......Did the officer observe an offense ? ---if yes investigate....if no move on. ...are they wearing funky looking patches yes.....move on...no...move on. seems pretty simple. if they don't look threatening then life goes on . as the line says...don't want trouble don't start trouble..


JohnQ.Public
JohnQ.Public

@marcy.   Agree.  I don't know enough about the murder/suicide that caused the cops to rouse these guys, and whether the cops truly had any investigative information to cause them to believe that these guys were involved or not, but if not it would be very, very similar to the Gaucin situation.  And like Gaucin should not have been profiled just because he has brown skin and speaks Spanish, these guys should not be profiled just because they wear colors. 

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