Amigos, Goths And Gangs

August 15, 2016

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Amigos, Goths And Gangs

A more than two-month-old lawsuit in Washington became news late last week when the Walla Walla County commissioners responded to the suit by trying to legally define “gang attire.”

The suit was filed June 6 by two members of the Amigos Motorcycle Club named Corey Ray Puckett and John Allen Smith. They wanted to wear soft colors – tee shirts with their club name and insignia on the back – while attending the Walla Walla County Fair last year. A couple of local deputies told them “no.”

The lawsuit states: “Plaintiffs entered the fairgrounds. While in line for the demolition derby, plaintiffs were approached by two uniformed Walla Walla County Sheriff Deputies – Deputy Humphries and Deputy Daschofsky. The Walla Walla Sheriff Deputies told Plaintiffs they must turn their shirts inside out or leave the premises. The Walla Walla Sheriff Deputies informed Plaintiffs that they were enforcing a ‘no gang attire’ dress code. Plaintiffs informed the Walla Walla Sheriff Deputies that they were not in a gang and that the Amigos Motorcycle Club was not a ‘gang.’ Plaintiffs were forced to wear their motorcycle shirts inside out.”

The suit, which was filed by Seattle attorney Michael David Myers, argues that Puckett and Smith’s “right to be free from discriminatory law-enforcement” was violated and seeks unspecified damages and costs of the suit including attorney fees.

Writing A New Law

The ban on so-called “gang attire” apparently began as an unwritten policy inaugurated by a former county sheriff named Bill Jackson in “the 1990s.” There is no formal ordinance that defines what “gang attire” means and that’s what the county commissioners are trying to hammer out now before the next county fair opens its doors on August 31 and, who knows, maybe more Amigos will show up and this time they’ll be wearing patches.

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Jesse Nolte told Andy Porter of the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin that he wanted to get an ordinance on the books “ “that has some standards and procedures as to how we determine what gang attire is.” The problem with that is – and it is a problem that eagerly awaits its moment in some federal court somewhere soon – is that the term “gang” is probably more difficult to define that the term “goth.”

Tom Sawyer Gangster

Not that people haven’t been trying. Mark Twain wrote about Tom Sawyer’s “gang” in Huckleberry Finn in 1884.

“Now we’ll start this band of robbers and call it Tom Sawyer’s Gang,” Twain wrote. “Everybody that wants to join has got to take an oath, and write his name in blood.” Everybody was willing.

“So Tom gave out a sheet of paper that he had wrote the oath on, and read it. It swore every boy to stick to the band, and never tell any of the secrets; and if anybody done anything to any boy in the band, whichever boy was ordered to kill that person and his family must do it, and he musn’t sleep till he had killed them and hacked a cross in their breasts, which was the sign of the band. And nobody that didn’t belong to the band could use that mark, and if he did he must be sued, and if he done it again he must be killed. And if anybody that belonged to the band told the secrets, he must have his throat cut, and then have his carcass burnt up and the ashes scattered all around, and his name blotted off the list with blood and never mentioned again by the gang, but have a curse put on it and be forgot, for ever.

“Everybody said it was a real beautiful oath, and asked Tom if he got it out of his own head. He said, some of it, but the rest was out of pirate books, and robber books, and every gang that has high-toned had it.”


A University of Chicago sociologist named Frederic Thrasher published The Gang: A Study of 1313 Gangs in Chicago in 1929.

According to John M. Hagedorn, a professor of criminal justice who is arguably the leading authority on “gangs” today, “Thrasher was a social reformer and believed that gangs were part of the psychological and group processes of adolescence in poor communities. He was a firm believer in Children’s Court as a means to handle misguided youth and gang delinquency.”

“In the 1950s and 1960s,” Hagedorn has written, “gang research experienced a revival. As concern for minority gangs grew among nervous whites in central cities, some researchers reframed the definition of gangs from being primarily a problem of wild peer groups to being primarily a law enforcement problem. This refocus from the Thrasher definition was in keeping with stepped up suppression efforts by police and a ‘war on gangs.’”

Hagedorn defines gangs as “organizations of the street composed of either the socially excluded or alienated, demoralized, or bigoted elements of a dominant racial, ethnic, or religious group.”

Hagedorn also sees gangs as “an arena for the acting out of gender. Most gangs today are unsupervised peer groups, but many have institutionalized in urban ghettos, barrios, and prisons. Male gang members typically display an aggressive masculinity expressing values of respect and honor and condoning violence as a means to settle disputes. The gang also promotes a traditional, subservient, femininity, but for girls, membership can also be a sign of gender-role rebellion. Like all of us, male and female gangsters ‘do gender’ in a globalized world of uncertainty.”


The legal definitions of “gang” tend to be circular and less insightful than Hagedorn’s descriptions.

In Washington a gang is defined as “any ongoing organization, association, or group of three or more persons, whether formal or informal, having a common name or common identifying sign or symbol, having as one of its primary activities the commission of criminal acts, and whose members or associates individually or collectively engage in or have engaged in a pattern of criminal street gang activity. This definition does not apply to employees engaged in concerted activities for their mutual aid and protection, or to the activities of labor and bona fide nonprofit organizations or their members or agents.”

The qualifiers at the end of this definition are specifically intended to protect organizations like the Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts of America or the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints from being called gangs. The definition would be hard to apply to the so-called La Cosa Nostra or the Russian Mafia. But it can also be used to describe any number of high school cliques including formal and informal groups of surfers, preppies and goths.


Nine years ago a Utah Gang Update included this passage:

“There seems to be some association between the gothic movement and drugs. In Murray, most of the school suspensions which occurred during 1996 occurred as a result of drug use or dealing by local gothics. There are several reports of gothics who are on probation from around Salt Lake County – although their numbers are far shy of the number of gang members. In most cases, their criminal behavior does not appear to be linked to being gothic, but rather to lifestyle choices related to their personalities and family situations. However, most law enforcement personnel simply do not have enough information about this movement to make a statement one way or another as to any organized criminal activity as part of this subculture.”

And that passage raises an obvious question. If the Amigos then why not the goths?

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25 Responses to “Amigos, Goths And Gangs”

  1. Joseph Says:

    I really can’t see why the cops would want to screw with the Amigos MC, biggest concentration of undercover cops in the ranks of the red and gold nation. It’s the easiest way in the back door for cops undercover. Also the smartest way for an undercover to climb the red and gold ladder to the gcherished position of belonging to a bigger club. I have to chuckle a little when I hear stories of what’s going on inside of the support clubs.
    It’s amazing how many chapters have informants in their ranks, Across the States …The bandits should start at Clallam Co. Shake up the State a little. But on a lighter note, Club and Gang are two different words. Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Clubs.

  2. K-Bar Says:

    Not to mention that the brother of Jeff Thomas, the first president a past motorcycle club in Walla Walla (Sonneraufgang M/C,) was a Walla Walla police detective. Jeff owned a shop called Positively Fourth Street near downtown Walla Walla.

    Most of the bikers in Walla Walla, especially the Amigos M/C, have been there for years, are well known to the police there, and VERY RARELY ever get into any kind of dispute with anybody over anything. Ridiculously enough, the Walla Walla police department sent in one of their officers to go undercover in a state-wide meeting of ABATE (the anti-helmet law group) and found himself talking to people with whom he went to high school. This entire thing about banning colors in public events is ridiculous.

    With Walla Walla being the site of the state penitentiary, there has been a long-standing agreement that there should be no disputes among clubs in town, so that members of various clubs can come visit friend or family who might be incarcerated with no worry of trouble. This whole thing is much ado about nothing.

  3. Sieg Says:

    “…Though I’m against it when it’s at casinos, state fairs or in other words where citizens congregate….”

    So, in other words, LenGoveia, you AREN’T a rider, maybe a guy with a bike, but that’s it.

    There are many events in our area where, time to time, Patches that are most definitely aren’t friends come across each other. There has never been a problem. Never seen a problem STARTED BY RIDERS wearing Patches at ANY public event in the 50 years I’ve been riding.

    First step to slowing the roll is to disregard all the SoA propaganda bullshit about how things work in the real world.


  4. Scooter Rick Says:

    3 or more people, all wearing identifying marks to distinguish themselves, with crimes being the major goal. Hmmm, Walla Walla County Sheriffs. Think about it

  5. LenGoveia Says:

    Been a biker for many years and have never had a problem with any club,and if a club member chooses to wear club insignia that’s cool..Though I’m against it when it’s at casinos,state fairs or in other words where citizens congregate.So far,by luck,citizens have not been shot and when that finally happens the police,feds,etc are going to make life miserable for all of us..clubs want to shoot each other,then shoot each other…Having a child catch a bullet due to club wars/squabbles is something that just can’t happen…

  6. Davr Says:

    What will happen to the Sworn Few LEO Mc in Walla Walla? Oh the irony!

  7. Mike Smith Says:

    Nothing new here. The PAC NW has always been a shit hole. If you read that article, the Sheriff made that “Rule” up ten years ago and his storm troopers have been giving it the force of law all this time. Until these men stood up and said “no more.” Now the County, et al, are trying to justify it, after the fact, with a new law or ordinance.

    I remember when Oregon had billboards that said: “Now you have seen it, go home.” And the pigs would cuff you an beat you and push your bike over when they caught you. It is a fascist land. Not that Houston and Jacksonville are much better.

    So don’t let the coffee shops and hipsters fool you: it is a bad place.

  8. Nobody Important Says:

    Law Enforcement. The biggest gang on the block, and they’re not tolerating any competition.

  9. TX_Biker Says:

    @Stroker, yeah that’s so true. Here in Texas they are trying to take away our voice too. The TCOC&I has been under fire indirectly here. They use the excuse of arresting someone wanted. Why at a COC meeting? To put every patch holder from every club on notice….

  10. Bubblehead Says:

    @Potmetal- Yes. Way before the Navy went all PC.

  11. Potmetal Says:

    @Bubblehead(canoe club vet?) & @Stroker: Sadly, agree.

  12. stroker Says:

    I have known several Amigos, and they are a rock solid, respected mc. Yes. LE (of most any state) wants to vilify, persecute, prosecute, and punish everyone with a patch. Why? Because we’re easy. We don’t hide, we have a rep, and no, the public, by and large, is NOT on our side. We can be arrested, charged with whatever the cops feel like charging us with, and everyone, including the public, is fine with that. As hard as we try to be ourselves, and wear our colors, and be right out there in public, the more cops of all stripes try to take us down.

    Because they can.

    And no-one cares.

  13. TX_Biker Says:

    Amigos are a good bunch of brothers. There is no reason for the Sheriff of Walla Walla Washington (I just wanted to say it) to think of them anything less. it seems LE wants to vilify and punish everyone with a patch. Is it ego or envy that causes them to hate us?

  14. david Says:

    Hagedorn, in his book “Global Gangs” wrote at page 3,
    “An old Irish police commander I interviewed talked about the wild ‘clubs'(not MC) of his youth. When asked what happened to his old ‘gang’ he thought for a moment, and said: ‘They all became policemen’.”

    Pg.5 “Many Chicago policemen ‘worked'(as in, at public cost) illegally and in close harmony with ‘criminals’ and politicians’.”

    Pg.16 “In Chicago, the state is in fact made up of more than legal(read:lawless) institutions.”

    Hagedorn asks the best question at the end,Pg.16,”Doesn’t it stand to reason that state(agent) actions, particularly corruption and violence, would play a role in the trajectory of a city’s gang.”

  15. Mercyful Fate Says:

    “having as one of its primary activities the commission of criminal acts”

    What basis or measurement is used to define or determine this?
    This is a rhetorical question.

  16. Sieg Says:

    Hagedorn is a pretty good guy, deals with people you really don’t want to get sideways with, and does it with class.

    Gangs…I guess irony totally escapes these piggers.


  17. bcnasty Says:

    “any ongoing organization, association, or group of three or more persons, whether formal or informal, having a common name or common identifying sign or symbol, having as one of its primary activities the commission of criminal acts”

    How the fuck they pull this off by there own definition. Every time I read this to me I got to laugh. Law was designed to require a lot of proof to prove Primary activities. Or maybe maybe being our wonderful court system they really do not care.

  18. Bubblehead Says:

    The point of the “law” is to make every citizen a “criminal”. It is the only way those in power can control the sheeple. Step out of line just a little bit and WHAM! Some Federal Prosecutor is up to their knees in your shit.

  19. Nobody Important Says:

    Why not Goths? Because they don’t scare anyone. They’re not capable of any sort of real violence, and people know it now.

  20. Fr. Abraham Says:

    Seeing as how the Motorcycle Profiling Project recently released an article detailing how there are more felons in the ranks of law enforcement than that of motorcycle clubs, I’m wondering if the Walla Walla Sheriff’s Office will tell their deputies to remove their “gang attire” (read: badges and other uniform regalia) before walking into the fairgrounds?

  21. Brad H Says:

    So-o-o the hundreds, if not thousands, of catholic priests who butt fuck little boys should be exempt from the gang definition because others of their cult do good deeds?

    That sounds logical!


  22. Head Chingon Says:

    Lets see what happens when Walla Walla County Sheriff Deputies – Deputy Humphries and Deputy Daschofsky block the entry of Black Lives Matter gang to the County Fair.

  23. Bone Head Says:

    Quote from Rebel’s article…

    “…any ongoing organization, association, or group of three or more persons, whether formal or informal, having a common name or common identifying sign or symbol, having as one of its primary activities the commission of criminal acts, and whose members or associates individually or collectively engage in or have engaged in a pattern of criminal street gang activity.”

    Then the whole or most of the organization has to be involved? I’ve seen an office bowling team that was a “gang” by this definition.

    “This definition does not apply to employees engaged in concerted activities for their mutual aid and protection, or to the activities of labor and bona fide nonprofit organizations or their members or agents.”

    And then this part would condemn anyone who raised funds to pay for their organizations?

    They haven’t clearly defined anything, have they? Except a way to violate 1st Amendment Rights.

  24. Fuck Wood Says:

    Stop drysnitching crybaby..Even Worse then those sagging pants wearing motherfuckers is the girls like u that point the finger and say HOW COME U DON’T TELL THEM SOMETHING???..Just deal and fight your own situation without bringing anyone else into it…What happened to the real OUTLAWS!!

  25. Wood Says:

    So saggin ass pants, blue or red clothing of any type, stupid fucking looking hats with the brim turned up will be outlawed under this new law? How about the obligatory 10 year old Crown Vic? Will that count as gang attire? Somehow I doubt it! Jesus I can’t believe how far this country has fallen in a mere 50 years!

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