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| February 14, 2008
The Hells Angels won’t say for sure if they’re coming to Missoula this year for a summer idyll, but a member of the notorious motorcycle club (don’t call them a gang, lest you irritate the distinguished gents) contacted recently by an Indy correspondent at the Colorado Motorcycle Show in Denver acknowledges they’re laying the groundwork.

A Hells Angel who identified himself as Jimmy from Richmond, Calif., says nothing’s decided yet, but the club has been talking with Missoula Police Chief Rusty Wickman about a potential visit and even lined up a shop to work on their motorcycles while they’re here. He said the Hells Angels want to come play, have fun, spend lots of money and stay out of trouble.

Hey, just because they’re outlaw bikers with a demonic moniker doesn’t mean they’re incapable of observing the niceties. The Hells Angels, Bandidos, Mongols and Sons of Silence all had impressive “hospitality booths” at the Denver biker convention, allowing members of the general public to buy T-shirts and meet club members. The scene sounds so positively business friendly, the Missoula Chamber should consider putting together gift bags for the fellas when they arrive. After those long rides, they’d probably appreciate some moist towelettes and a real estate brochure.

Local law enforcement is doubtless planning its own welcome for the club. Back in 2000, when the Hells Angels encamped at the Marshall Mountain ski area for a weekend in late July, the bikers encountered a formidable, almost paramilitary response. Out-of-state muscle supplemented the local forces, and together they shadowed the bikers everywhere they went, creating the impression of a truly fearsome armed occupation of the town.

And of course, it all ended horribly in the wee hours of a Sunday morning when dozens of riot-ready, baton-wielding, pepper spray-happy officers violently dispersed a large crowd of revelers from downtown, arresting 63 people and roughing up many others. The Indy remembers it as one of ugliest chapters in Missoula history, when the people trusted to protect and serve turned aggressively on the citizens and then refused to own up to their egregious mistakes. Subsequent opinion of the law around these parts hadn’t sunk so low since the residents of Bannack strung up Sheriff Henry Plummer back in the 1860s.

Nobody wants a repeat this time around. Whatever dangers the Hells Angels present, Chief Wickman and his colleagues must plot a response that safeguards public safety without compromising public trust. The front line officers—men and women who do difficult, unpleasant work as a matter of routine—need a reasonable chance to dignify their profession. And the people of Missoula need a show of restraint that inspires respect for the police department, not contempt.

Comments (6)

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Nice......it is funny how you can type under the 'freedom of press' to bring down the LE in our community. I was there and was stupid for being there. I had no business being there when the crowd was taunting and throwing items at police. Are they to just pick up their bags and go home. Let people damage property and then answer in the morning to the community for 'why didn't you do anything. you are sworn to protect us' questions. People need to deal with it!!!

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Posted by good one on 06/01/2008 at 1:51 AM

i do not want to get in a pissing contest with anyone on the internet . all i am saying in this day and age everyone has a computer and a opinion . it seems to me people will say anything they want to on the computer but most would not face to face with another person . i respect your opinion and you have every right to voice it as this is America .

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Posted by jestercykill on 02/15/2008 at 8:26 AM

Well Jester or is that chester so your a hells angels support member puppet.A mindless fool looking to be excepted and willing to do anything to make friends. Well jester what do you mean say it to their face? are you saying they would do something violent ? are you saying they are to child like to allow others to speak their opinion ?what exactly are you saying? if you can't finish your point what is your reason for even opening you mouth and posting?Jester maybe the hells angels are tough compared to you. But to me the average hells angel is an out of shape man that cannot fight at all on his own and that is why they hang in a gang like cowards afraid to be out on their own. Normal men do not need a gang of men to go everywhere with. Sure most of the angels are gay but I don't see other normal gay men running around in large packs like the hells angels.The hells angels are insecure nobodies on their own and they need people like you to feed off of for strength. with out their little support member army the hells angels are nothing but cowards that I seem to alway read about in the paper harming women and children, So see jester to normal men the hells angels are nothing thats why the angels have to jump us in a gang to have a fighting chance. Perhaps thats why the hells angels have hurt so many women and children . because that may be the only people they can beat on their own.

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Posted by Hells angels = cowards on 02/15/2008 at 12:17 AM

Everyone has a opinion one way or the other about the Hell's Angles . Don't hide behind a keyboard and run your mouth. If you can't say it to someones face maybe you should keep your mouth shut . Just my own humble opinion .

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Posted by jestercykill on 02/14/2008 at 10:34 PM

All year I have been reading about hells angels in many states in court charged with murdering or molesting women and children. I just read about one mistrial the jury 8 guilty 4 not guilty for and angel accused of murdering 2 teenage girls. I hope they have another trail soon. The evident seemed overwhelming to me. Also they have a member going to court that had many neat folders of child porn on his laptop. I think he was headed for an event like this when caught with the laptop and cocaine the news paper said. Then we had the hells angel shoot women in the back of the head in Maine get 55years then another member in Mass has 3 orders of protection from 3 different women and he is also charges with molesting a minor. Then their Paul from Arizonian another member on the run charged with murdering a mother of 6 brutally. Dan I remember 20 years ago in NY state they had another President with child sex crimes and child porn. I can remember reading about family’s father’s mothers and children murdered by this gang. I hope all the women and children are very careful around these clowns. I have read about these cases in the paper this year. I wonder how many cases I did not see. I know you can't believe everything you read but I know I do not want to see women and children around a gang that has had this many members involved in these incidents. Considering the extremely small amount of members in that club in the USA that seems to be a very large percent. They say they look over each member carefully and you have to have what they are looking for. Hmmm is this what they are looking for?

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Posted by Chicken head =death head cowards rats and worse on 02/14/2008 at 9:28 PM

The Indy neglects to mention that the unfortunate events of the 2000 Hell's Angels Sunday morning were spawned, in part, by the violent police assault Saturday afternoon on a sober, peaceful protest march against police heavy-handedness down Higgins Avenue. I was arrested then while legally standing on the sidewalk. My crime? - daring to politely inform an imported Utah cop that what he was doing was wrong. As long as Missoula's police know that they can successfully stifle constitutionally protected dissent without consequence or even recollection, we are sure to see repetition.

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Posted by Lawrence on 02/14/2008 at 9:16 AM
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