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Thursday, September 06, 2007

Hells Angels Sue Over Traffic Stop

As several Hells Angels rode motorcycles in formation along Sheridan Boulevard in Denver, a Mountain View police officer stopped them, ordered them to keep their hands in view and called for backup, a federal lawsuit says.

Dozens of police officers arrived, including the Denver SWAT team and a police helicopter, said the bikers' attorney, David Lane.

The men, Mike Dire, Donald R. Dilling, Dustin Ullerich, Jeffery R. Heley, Nikolas Pew, Paul Frederick Smith, Shiloh Frazier and Todd Zahn were held at gunpoint and handcuffed during the Sept. 2, 2005 stop, according to the lawsuit filed Friday in U.S. District Court.

Frazier was speeding in the city limits of Denver, but pulled over by the Mountain View police officer.

Frazier and Zahn were in possession of handguns at the scene and arrested.

Zahn has since pleaded guilty to possession of weapon by a previous offender and charges against Frazier were dismissed.

The rest of the Hells Angels were released after sitting in handcuffs for one hour, the suit says.

The lawsuit is not the first time the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club has sued the city and county of Denver.

In 2001, the group received $50,000 and a letter of apology from the city over a police raid at their clubhouse.

"This is the second time the Denver Police Department has decided that the Fourth Amendment does not apply to the Hells Angels," Lane said.

Denver police spokesman Sonny Jackson said Thursday that he would not be able to comment on the lawsuit because the city had not been served with it.

The Hells Angels are also suing the Mountain View Police Department, claiming that the officer who stopped the bikers had no legal authority to do so in the city of Denver.

A separate lawsuit over the constitutionality of the traffic ticket issued to Frazier has also been filed in federal court.

Mountain View Police Chief Eric Gomez did not return a call for comment.

Lane says the traffic stop was made for the purpose of gaining information about the group, the same reason for the 2001 clubhouse raid.

"The scope of the searches far exceeded any permissible pat-down for weapons and included taking papers from plaintiffs such as address books and other personal papers which were copied by the police, presumably in order to gain intelligence about the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club," the suit says.

The Denver Post

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