There have been two more Iron Order related arrests in Baltimore. They stem from a fight between members the Iron Order and the Chosen Sons Motorcycle Clubs last June 7 in Essex, Maryland. Both of the accused are Chosen Sons. Their names are David Criles and Keith Romans.
Criles is a detective with the Baltimore Police Department’s Southeastern District. Romans retired from the Baltimore Police Department in 2012. Both men are charged with second-degree assault, disorderly conduct and conspiracy. Another Chosen Son and retired Baltimore policemen named Christopher Jansen was arrested last month on charges of first and second-degree assault, theft and robbery for fighting with members of the Iron Order in February.
A report issued last summer by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives described the nature of the ongoing and escalating conflicts between the Iron Order, which has branded itself as a “law-abiding motorcycle club,” and all other three-piece-patch clubs: “The fact that they wear the State bottom rocker has infuriated the HAMC, Outlaws, Iron Horsemen, Pagans and Bandidos. More importantly, many of their members are police and corrections officers, active-duty military and/or government employees and contractors. Over the past four years, the Iron Order has had several violent confrontations with each of the aforementioned” clubs.
The issue, directly put, is whether the Iron Order can simply appropriate and denigrate what William Dulaney has called the symbols of “organizational identity” that are part of the very evolved ethic that governs relations between all outlaw motorcycle clubs. Dulaney is a professor of organizational communication at the Air Force Culture and Language Center and a faculty member of the Air University Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama. He is also a former member of the American Outlaws Association.
In his book Over the Edge and into the Abyss: The Communication of Organizational Identity in an Outlaw Motorcycle Club, Dulaney wrote, “If a motorcycle club were to adopt the three-piece configuration and not adhere to the outlaw ethic, that club would very quickly cease to exist; motorcycle club etiquette dictates that another dominant club (or clubs) in the area would see to the disbanding of the offending motorcycle club.” The Iron Order is contemptuous of both “motorcycle club etiquette” and the “outlaw ethic.”
What’s Going On
Iron Order members have repeatedly invited confrontations over this issue and it is beginning to seem that, either premeditatedly or serendipitously, the Iron Order has become the dirty end of the stick in the war on motorcycle clubs.
The Department of Justice has been trying to destroy the motorcycle club counterculture since 2008 by attempting to strip three-piece-patch clubs of their symbols of organizational identity. The DOJ tried to confiscate both the Mongols and Pagans insignia in the course of RICO cases against those two clubs. The DOJ is currently trying to strip the Mongols of their insignia in a racketeering case called United States versus Mongols Nation. For more than ten years, the federal government has attempted to violently punish possession of club symbols by serving search warrants for club indicia, or indicators of membership, with teams of Swat goons.
Federal courts have repeatedly ruled that club symbols are Constitutionally protected expression. The evolving relationship between local, state and federal police agencies and the Iron Order seems intended to turn the Constitution on its head. The Iron Order claims the right to appropriate the identity symbols of other motorcycle clubs and pretends to not care or be unaware of the consequences. At the same time the outlaw ethos eschews cooperation with the police when settling business between clubs and the Iron Order disingenuously turns that on its head, as well. After knowingly and deliberately provoking conflicts with other outlaw clubs and engaging in conduct that they know will lead to “affrays,” Iron Order members portray themselves as victims, ally themselves with police and prosecute the men they have provoked.
That’s what is going on in Baltimore right now. A former Orlando Iron Order member named Timothy “Sentinel” Taylor seems to have been assigned by his club to create as much trouble in Baltimore as possible. Taylor was a participant in both the June 7, 2014 and the February 2015 fights.
The Chosen Sons arrests also point to another conflict. All three of the accused men have ties to the Baltimore City Police Department. All three are being investigated by Baltimore County Police.