Details are emerging about the ATF investigation that instigated the militarized police raids early Tuesday morning in which a Swat officer named Shaun Diamond was killed. At the same time, the credibility of official accounts of Diamond’s death are undermined by inconsistencies between those accounts.
Seven homes in Los Angeles County were raided simultaneously at four in the morning on Tuesday. All seven homes were occupied by members or associates of the Mongols Motorcycle Club. The raids were planned by agents in the Glendale, California office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The Bureau has been actively trying to prove for at least the last fifteen years that the entire Mongols MC is a racketeering enterprise. In an ongoing civil case currently titled United States versus Mongols Nation Motorcycle Club, LLC the Department of Justice seeks the forfeiture of the motorcycle club’s insignia and would, in effect, attempt to confiscate the club’s identity.
Diamond (photo above) died during a raid on the home of a Mongol named David Martinez.
The seven search warrants were issued five days before the raids by a retired, part-time judge named Maral Injejikian. The delay indicates the raids were carefully planned. The affidavit requesting the warrants is totally sealed in order to protect the identity of a confidential informant. The actual warrants do not even list the places to be searched or the specific property to be seized. The ATF was searching for a gun or guns. Injejikian authorized the service of the warrants at night.
Mongols, Angels And G-Zers
Citing “multiple” unnamed sources speaking “on condition of anonymity,” NBC reported the raids were an attempt “to head off retaliation by the Mongols against members of their longtime rival Hells Angels…as well as a sport bike club known as the G-Zer (pronounced “geezer”) Tribe, based in the East Los Angeles area. The motive for the payback appears to stem from at least two recent encounters between members of the three gangs on Los Angeles and Riverside County freeways in which Mongols members were shot at or pushed off their bikes. At least one Mongol member was killed, another was paralyzed and several others were wounded in the incidents, according to the sources.”
NBC continues, “Part of the broader investigation is looking at whether the Mongols tried to coerce G-Zer Tribe members into paying dues or associating solely with their gang, the sources said.”
The incidents to which NBC obliquely refers were a fight reported to be between Mongols and Hells Angels on the 15 Freeway last March 22; two shootings on the 60 Freeway in East Los Angeles on August 29 that may or may not have involved members of any of the three clubs named in the NBC report; and a shooting on the 15 Freeway near Corona, California that killed one rider and injured two others.
Multiple sources speaking on condition of anonymity have told The Aging Rebel the incidents are unrelated.
How Was Diamond Shot
Although this is an ATF investigation, the Bureau has remained silent about it. Statements about the Swat raids have been issued by the Pomona, California Police Department and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. The Sheriff’s Department is investigating Diamond’s death as a murder. The concealment of the ATF’s hand in this investigation is an attempt to conceal as much of the investigation as possible. The official secrecy has also led to conflicting and often puzzling statements about exactly how Diamond died and have preempted any public discussion of whether it was necessary to serve these search warrants by using large squads of militarized police to break into private homes in an armed nation in the middle of the night.
The Los Angeles Times has reported, “As Diamond tried to get through an exterior door, an interior door opened and the suspect fired a shotgun at the officer…. Diamond was struck above a tactical vest but – despite wearing a Kevlar helmet – was likely hit in the back of his head…. The suspect’s father was also struck in the arm by the blast.”
Fox News has reported that “Diamond was helping to open the outer door of a home in the 100 block of San Marino Avenue when an interior door of the home was opened and a single shotgun blast rang out. Diamond was struck in the back of the head. Police did not return fire.”
Fox quotes Sheriff’s Lieutenant Eddie Hernandez as saying “The officers at this point didn’t have a clear shot at the suspect. The suspect, we’re being told, laid on the ground and put the firearm to his side. Also the (suspect’s) father was in the way and at that point it became a rescue operation to get the officer some medical attention. The suspect was taken into custody without incident.”
The Los Angeles News Group quotes Sheriff’s Homicide Detective Ray Lugo as saying, “Diamond was on the porch when the suspect shot him.”
Multiple news outlets have stated that Diamond was shot in the face. Multiple other news outlets quote Sheriff’s Department spokesperson Nicole Nishida as saying “Diamond was hit in the upper torso, not the face, contrary to other reports.”
This morning the Los Angeles Times reported, “It was about dawn when officers smashed through the front door with a battering ram. Diamond stood behind them. When the officers entered the home, Martinez fired a single shotgun round and Diamond was struck in the back of his head, Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Nicole Nishida said.”
As a matter of fact, the raid took place three hours and ten minutes before sunrise.
Most news coverage has assumed that it was necessary to send Swat teams to smash through the front doors of homes with a battering ram in the middle of the night. The Times, reports the Mongols are a “gang” that “has chapters across the world, but the most violent reside in California, said Independence, Missouri Detective Steve Cook, an expert on motorcycle gangs. Although the gang has been involved in police shootings, it’s known more for drug trafficking and battles with the Hells Angels, Cook said.”
California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris, who is running for reelection on a platform that calls for a police “war on truancy,” said Wednesday: “Pomona Police Officer Shaun Diamond bravely gave his life in the line of duty, and we are enormously grateful for his courage and sacrifice. On behalf of the California Department of Justice, I extend my condolences to his family, friends and colleagues at the Pomona Police Department. Officer Diamond’s memory will live on every day in the work of all of California’s law enforcement officers.”
The Times, which is most famous this month for its 1996 excoriation of former San Jose Mercury News reporter Gary Webb, further advanced the Diamond story today by reporting that Diamond was a fine, humorous fellow with a mother.