The Hells Angels, known for their criminal activities, violent tactics, and abundant odors, are perhaps the most notorious motorcycle gangs in the United States. Hunter Thompson once described the group as "American as jazz." And that's worth remembering; No matter what their reputation is, they have the same rights as any other Americans. One member of the group, Maurice Eunice, is fighting the federal government in court for needlessly launching explosives through the front door of his clubhouse.
On August 2, 2011, Special Agent Patrick Ryan of the DEA obtained a search warrant for the Hells Angels clubhouse in San Diego county, California.
Instead of knocking, they opening the door by firing "breaching charges and flashbangs" through it.
The raid in El Cajon was the result of a two-year investigation, and agents were looking for specific Hells Angels members, but the explosion revealed a building empty except for a terrified dog. …
As the Angel who owned the clubhouse, Eunice says the government conducted an unreasonable seizure and, once inside, intentionally caused him emotional distress by stomping on pictures of his dead friends.
"We found the pictures inside with footprints on the glass," says Julia Yoo, the civil rights attorney who wrote the complaint. "And there's a video of the incident that was filmed before any of the other [members of the media] showed up. There was an agent standing outside giving interviews. Somebody tipped them off."
Eunice, who first filed his lawsuit back in 2012, believes the feds wanted to create a media spectacle, and that if they wanted to search his building, they could've asked him for a key instead of bombing it and causing $130,000 worth of damage.
"A district judge granted a summary motion… that ruled in the government's favor" earlier this month, but Eunice plans to appeal.
"The Hells Angels pose a criminal threat on six continents," according to the Department of Justice. But, once again, that doesn't mean individual members don't deserve their rights to be protected. The scary thing is, they aren't so different from the rest of us when it comes to victimization by militarized police. In at least one past case, a Hells Angel pulled a gun on a SWAT team looking for drugs that busted into his house, because he thought they were robbers. They killed him, and never found any drugs – kind of like the case of an 80-year-old who died in his bed due to a botched, fruitless raid. Or this guy who now faces the death penalty for shooting an intruder who turned out to be a cop looking for drugs.
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