This is a television and internet story because its heart is a video. This story wouldn’t have even been news a generation ago but it is news now. It has been festering in Fresno, the fifth largest city in California, for about the last week. The story is important because the video that follows these words is likely to pop up in newscasts, press conferences and court proceedings for the next decade and now and forever it will be attached to the phrase “motorcycle club.”
The video was originally posted to YouTube on March 7 but it didn’t start to get attention until this month.
It shows a fairly routine beating in a parking lot. Police say the altercation started in a Fresno bar called the Crossroads. The bar has a reputation for edginess. Last month a man and wife named Herman and Janae Tatum were shot in the bar. Mrs. Tatum died.
When the argument in the Crossroads went outside the two men who lost the fight were set upon by the six winners. One of those losers managed to avoid significant injury by back peddling and dancing and wrestling himself free whenever his arms were pinned. The other loser was wrestled to the ground and stomped. When he went passive he got stomped some more. The stomping hurts to watch and it is probably particularly disturbing to people who have never seen such things before.
The video was apparently recorded on a cell phone by someone acquainted with the winners and Fresno police saw it. “Social media was very, very helpful in this case,” Police Chief Jerry Dyer told Carmen George of the Fresno Bee. “We continue to monitor social media every single day.”
Fresno police arrested four men in connection with the incident. Their names are Apolinio Martinez, Daniel Telles, Christopher Martinez Jr. and Christopher Martinez Sr. And police allege that the four are members of a new motorcycle club called the Malos Hechos – which probably translates most accurately as the “Born Bad.” The police haven’t offered any proof that the assailants are members of the club. And they also allege that Malos Hechos is associated with a notorious fraternal organization called the Fresno Bulldogs.
In his interview with the Bee, Chief Dyer said, “I received a call from an individual who was trying to represent this group as simply people dropping out of the gang and trying to help other people drop out of the gang and get into motorcycle riding, which is nothing further from the truth…. These are individuals that are extremely violent.”
In the same interview Dyer admitted that violent crime in Fresno is down 13 percent from a year ago.