What is profiling? Do you know?
pro·fil·ing (prō′fīl′iŋ) From: http://www.yourdictionary.com/profiling
the practice or method of preparing a set of characteristics belonging to a certain class or group of people or things by which to identify individuals as belonging to such a class or group, as to detain for investigation of a possible crime
Have you ever been stopped by a police officer only to have that officer ask you a ton of questions like, what your patch represents, who you ride with, why are you in their area?
Have you ever been to an event where a member or members of 1% clubs are present and had your license plate photographed by a police officer? How about seeing the Anti Biker Units at a swap meet or other gathering?
Have you ever been to an event where there was a road block set up that only stopped people on motorcycles?
If you have experienced any of these things then you my friend have been the target of profiling. Every day across North America, there are police officers who stop people who ride motorcycles for no other reason that to gather "intelligence" about who you are.
Then there are the officers who have a great dislike for motorcycles and their riders who will use their badge to exert their authority over the civilian. When I was in Ontario last week, I heard all sorts of tales over coffee at Timmie's - none of them good, regarding police officers who appear to go over the top when stopping motorcycles and their riders.
I heard horrible things about riders having their helmets taken away and left stranded on the side of the road. DOT helmets not even beanies. I have heard of officers demanding your helmet and when you fail to give it up arresting you for obstructing a police officer.
I heard about officers who stop people and physically bully and intimidate people.
I was told about the BIU - Biker Intelligence Unit, and how they photograph everyone who attends events that 1%er's attend.
That is profiling. Each and every case I was told about was profiling at it's finest.
If you were of Black, Hispanic, Asian or any other ethnic background it would be called racial profiling.
Under our Charter here in Canada, we are all supposed to be equal under the law.
Sadly - we are not. Why?
BECAUSE WE DON'T DEFEND our Rights by USING THEM.
Because our community is highly visible even though as road users we are a minority - we are easy to profile. A motorcycle is a motorcycle, so its not hard to single us out.
In our community, the police would lead you to believe that every person who wears certain types of patches on their backs are criminals. But, that's ridiculously close to saying that all Italians are Mafia members or all Jamaicans are Jamaican Posse members or all Native American Indians are members of the Indian Posse.
You see - every community has people in it who do bad things- there are NO EXCEPTIONS to that statement. We are humans.
But - there are great differences in how the communities themselves are perceived.
You see, police officers are generally looked upon as the good guys/gals who are there to keep order and make sure people stay safe. But this community has it's gross offenders - cops who get busted for theft, wife beating, drunk driving and more. Some kick people in the face when they are down and not resisting. (Remember the Kelowna incident a few months back?) Some get so hopped up on adrenaline when they are in riot gear that they do unspeakable things - look at the G20 and you will understand that statement.
There are police officers who have used their badges to step on people's rights and freedoms just because they can. I myself have experienced that behaviour first hand.
Look at nursing - in that community, there are people who have intentionally hurt people - right here in the small city of Grande Prairie AB a nurse was charged for poisoning food.
How about another respected profession - Doctors. In this community there are those who have raped patients and done other unspeakable acts - the same with priests and yet as a whole, their communities are looked upon in a favorable way over all.
And then we have bikers - motorcyclists - people who ride on two and three wheels.
We have experienced varying degrees of discrimination for years. Because of the nature of our gear, because of the patches we wear on our backs or the machines we sit astride - because we ride - we are an easy target.
In his book, "Hells Angels at War" author Yves Lavigne, a reporter who has delved into the world of the Angels and the Police, states on page 3:
"The police, contrary to the public image they present, have capitulated to the Big Red Machine. They prance ahead of the pack and shrilly announce ther impending arrival, instead of creating a climate inhospitable to the biker's survival/ These excersises are crafted to scare the citizens and manipulate politicians into opening public coffers.
The Canadian public has been deceived into thinking that the police want to end the biker problem. In reality, police want to manage the biker issue and build bureaucracies and careers on the public fear the police themselves fuel." End Quote
I hope you feel the truth of Mr. Lavigne's comments/observations. If you have any doubt as to why our community is held to different standards as road users, if you ever had any doubt that profiling of riders/motorcyclists/bikers does exist because you yourself may not have experienced profiling - consider this man's words carefully and then remember - that there are people who HAVE experienced this type of treatment and I would be one of them!
I don't know about you - but I myself have experienced an officer abusing his authority - the abuse was directed at me - I know - first hand what it is like to have an officer intimidate you and threaten to arrest you. I have been there - my crime? Asking a police officer to come view custom motorcycles at a show I was hosting - LATER. But NO - He wanted to see them NOW. If not for my husband, I would have probably been arrested that night.
I know first hand what it is like to present a security plan for review in order to get a liquor license for an event only to have the plan disregarded and be asked if the Hells Angels are attending the event.
You may think that profiling does not affect you but you would be so wrong...
If you have EVER attended a motorcycle event that required police approval to go ahead - you have probably been profiled without really knowing it.
Now please, don't get me wrong - there are many who wear a police officers uniform who do a great job. But sadly, there are enough with in their ranks who have, for whatever reason, a chip on their shoulder and a bad attitude towards our community that we deserve as a community to be protected from that behaviour.
We ARE a VISIBLE MINORITY - and we do have the RIGHT to expect equal treatment under the law and we are not getting it.
We are being singled out as noise makers, we are harassed at certain events and many of our events are targeted for special unfair or unethical treatment - so folks, it is time for us to exercise our rights and ask for protection under the Charter. If we fail to protect them - by using our Rights - the Rights and Freedoms our Charter affords - the Rights and Freedoms that are fought for by every soldier who has ever served - then we will forfeit those rights and every soldier's service will have meant nothing.
I am asking every rider in Canada who experiences what they believe to be profiling, to send me your photos, videos and statements as to what you experienced. We are going to have all of the material we gather gone over by a civil rights lawyer.
I look forward to your comments, ideas and opinions...
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Ride safely today and for those in the Grande Prairie AB region - remember our $500 Stamp Run Takes Place on Saturday morning at Stojans....check out our calendar or the poster in the Busted Knuckle for all of the details!