Richard White, a member of the Vagos Motorcycle Club from Corinne, Utah has asked a Utah Judge to issue a stalking injunction against the Box Elder County Sheriff’s Department. White’s request asks the judge to enjoin the local Sheriffs to stay away from his home business, White’s Wheel Works, and all motorcycles and other vehicles owned by White and all other members of the Vagos.
White was alarmed by threatening and vulgar comments made in a chat room KSL TV web site. KSL is the NBC affiliate in Salt Lake City. The thread of the chat room discussion was the annual conference of the Bandidos Motorcycle Club In Moab. About 400 Bandidos attended the conference which ended August 25.
The online discussion evolved into a debate about motorcycle clubs in general and the Vagos in particular. White joined the discussion after his business was mentioned by name.
Window Into Cop’s Soul
A participant in the discussion, who identified himself as “caughtyalookin,” expressed his feelings about motorcycle club members as follows:
“There should be a consistant (sic) and sustained NOTICE conveyed to these Thugs, YOU ARE NOT WELCOME. They facilitate everything from narcotics distribution to weapons violations. All of you Failures in life wannabe tough guys including Hells Angels, Banditos (sic), Sun downers (sic), Vagos or what ever else you crud call your selves (sic) need to understand that WE the citizens of Utah will not stand idle while you establish foothold in our State. We don’t buy that you are just a bike club no matter how many “rides” for charity you organize to put a smiley face on what you do behind the scenes. This biker gang trend has been steadily growing in this State and Law Enforcement needs to aggressively pursue legal avenues to make these people feel NOT WELCOME.
“read these blogs carefully and realize that the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs have a surrepticious (sic) agenda to not only foothold but establish their own criminal way of life.”
In reference to the Vagos “caughtyalookin” wrote, “Your little two patch wannabe club is attempting to get started in Utah. Understand that you will have to battle for that ground and me or a guy like me with my little MP 5 (cute) will be there to address you with the appropriate level of force. P.S. Your (sic) a punk.”
An MP 5 is a 9mm machine gun favored by police.
White replied to “caughtyalookin” in the chat, “If I do break the law….Come get me and I’ll pay the consequences for my crime like a man! VFFV” VFFV abbreviates “Vagos Forever Forever Vagos.”
“Caughtyalookin” then wrote, “Hey Vago(spit)….(sic) Hold that thought….(sic) I’ll be right there.”
White interpreted the context of these articles to mean that he was being threatened by s local sheriff. “At first he was just someone who disliked bikers,” White explained in court documents. “Then it became obvious he was an officer familiar with Box Elder County. He was very condescending, but then became more direct and started talking about turf and running people out of Utah.”
“Caughtyalookin” then tried to get White to state his name. “If you are so proud of your club and the image it projects then what is the name (of White’s company). Let me guess its that little one in co***ne. Punk.”
Lawyer Says No Case
A Salt Lake City attorney name Jeff Hunt said the request for an injunction was unlikely to be granted. Hunt specializes in freedom of speech and other media issues. He is legal counsel for the Utah Society of Professional Journalists.
“It just seems wildly speculative to enjoin a whole class of law enforcement officers based on an anonymous statement made in a chat room,” Hunt said. “Generally speaking, to get an injunction of that sort you have to show some imminent threat to your safety. I don’t know how you could meet that standard without even knowing the identity of that person.”