Police in St. Petersburg, Florida announced yesterday that charges against Clinton Walker have been dropped. Walker is a member of the St. Petersburg chapter of the American Outlaws Association and a firefighter with Hillsborough County Fire Rescue. Since May 7, Walker had been charged with felony battery on a law enforcement officer.
Walker’s arrest coincided with a series of reports by Tampa television station WFTS which expressed the station’s outrage that members of the Pagans and Outlaws Motorcycle Clubs were employed by local fire departments. The television station ran a photograph of Walker standing next to Hillsborough County Fire Rescue Captain James Costa. Costa is president of the Outlaws’ St. Petersburg chapter.
The reports included inflammatory comments by a local agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives named Keary Hundt and a Pasco County gang expert named Brian Kozera.
The station reported that Hundt was “extremely concerned. He considers it (the employment of members of motorcycle clubs) a public safety issue.” WFTS reported as fact that Hundt, “investigates criminal motorcycle gangs. He says they are known for all types of crimes, ‘Drug trafficking, weapons trafficking, extortion, arson, bombings, you name it..’”
Kozera described “criminal motorcycle gangs” as “the mafia on motorcycles, ya know. They’re very organized. It’s organized crime.”
Two days after the television station’s initial report, Walker was the victim of an unprovoked attack in a St, Petersburg bar called the Del Mar Gastro Lounge by a local cop named Ruben DeJesus. Without provocation, while Walker was standing still with his hands behind his back, DeJesus Tased Walker four times, handcuffed him and then kicked him in the groin. Walker was wearing an Outlaws tee shirt at the time.
DeJesus was responding to a call that a University of Florida student had been punched. The student, 21-year-old Zachary Taylor, suffered a fractured skull. His assailant has never been identified..
Robert Ramirez, a second firefighter, was arrested on a charge of obstructing a police officer after he tried to prevent the assault on Walker by standing between Walker and DeJesus. As other officers handcuffed Ramirez, DeJesus made a macho display of grabbing Ramirez’ jaw and shaking his face before shoving him out of the bar.
After Walker’s arrest, a St. Petersburg police spokesperson named Yolanda Fernandez alleged, “One thing we know for sure is, from the very beginning, Mr. Walker did not cooperate with the officer. From the minute the officer walked into the bar and was told that Mr. Walker was the one, which we know now was wrong information, and he approached him, Mr. Walker did not cooperate. It escalated from there. Whether the officer’s actions were right or wrong from there, that will be something for the Office of Professional Standards.”
Cell phone video shot by other customers soon surfaced that proved Walker had been completely cooperative and that DeJesus had assaulted Walker and Ramirez. DeJesus (photo above) is a 31-year veteran of the St. Petersburg police department. In 2011, he was not charged in the shooting death of 18-year-old Jared Speakman. DeJesus shot Speakman four times with a 10 mm pistol as Speakman lay on his back at Dejesus’ feet. DeJesus is currently on administrative leave.