A Baltimore television station, WJZ, is reporting that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (the ATF) is investigating the most notorious cop club of them all, the Chosen Sons Motorcycle Club.
The station has stated over the air and on its web site that “sources close to the federal case tell (WJZ) Eyewitness News links to the Chosen Sons are under investigation and the case remains wide open.”
The “case” the station mentions is the one being brought against Chosen Sons patch holder and former bounty hunter Michael Papantonakis. After he retired from being a bounty hunter Papantonakis, 53, went into the potato chip business.
Want A Gun With That
Papantonakis had an Utz potato chip stand in Baltimore’s well-known Lexington Market. Lexington Market started as a farmers’ market in 1782 and is now a popular destination in the city. The federal police say that sometimes, for an extra fee, Papantonakis would throw a hand gun or two in with your bag of chips.
Papantonakis was arrested earlier this month. Court documents accuse him of selling many special bags of chips to members of the Bloods and Crips street gangs and to members of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club.
The ATF is also trying to pile on a charge that Papantonakis tried to hire one of his customers to attack the Lexington Market’s general manager.
All A Misunderstanding
Joseph Evans, the attorney who is representing Papantonakis, quickly explained that all of this is merely a terrible misunderstanding. At his initial hearing, Evans told the judge that Papantonakis is only an avid firearms collector whose collection had grown too large so he decided to sell a few pieces off. “Most of the weapons or firearms were sold to a long-time family friend, someone he knew the last 20 years,” Evans explained.
But the argument did not work. Papantonakis remains in jail and now the investigation may get messy.
The Chosen Sons
The Chosen Sons Motorcycle Club has four chapters in Maryland. The mother chapter is in East Baltimore. It claims to be the largest motorcycle club in the state. The Baltimore Sun has estimated that the Chosen Sons has 100 patch holders in Maryland.
The Chosen Sons is a three-piece-patch club founded by Baltimore policemen in 1969. It was then exclusively comprised of police and fire department employees. It is now reported to include other public employees, private detectives, bounty hunters and others.
A Fallen Hero
Fifty-one weeks ago, one of the founders of the club, Norman Stamp, was killed by a uniformed Baltimore cop outside a strip club following a patching-in ceremony for a Chosen Sons prospect named Michael Privett. Witnesses said members of the Chosen Sons and other patrons got into a fight over a woman. When the fight spilled outside, Stamp spilled outside with it. He was wearing brass knuckles. Brass knuckles are illegal in the state of Maryland.
When the uniformed officer, John Torres, ordered Stamp to freeze, Stamp ignored him. Torres shot Stamp with a TASER. Stamp fell to the ground, pulled a gun and aimed it at Torres. Torres shot Stamp twice in the chest.
Stamp died early the next morning. He was a 44-year-veteran of the force and he was given a full, bag pipe funeral attended by numerous Baltimore cops and members of the Chosen Sons. Baltimore Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III called him “a mentor to some and a friend to many.”