Idaho Senate Denies Profiling

March 21, 2017

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Idaho Senate Denies Profiling

Last week the Idaho Senate rejected an anti-motorcycle profiling bill that had been unanimously passed by the Idaho House of Representatives.

The entire bill read: “No state or local law enforcement agent or law enforcement agency shall engage in motorcycle profiling. For purposes of this section, ‘motorcycle profiling’ means the arbitrary use of the fact that a person rides a motorcycle or wears motorcycle-related paraphernalia as a factor in deciding to stop and question, take enforcement action, arrest or search a person or vehicle under the constitution of the United States or the constitution of the state of Idaho.”

Motorcycle profiling is a new concept based mostly on anecdotal rather than empirical evidence. It is generally understood to describe situations in which police contrive reasons to stop, unnecessarily detain, interrogate, photograph and search motorcyclists, particularly members of motorcycle clubs. Police may stop a biker or a pack for what a police officer will later describe as a suspected traffic or safety violation. Motorcyclists are often not cited for the alleged violations but they are harassed and inconvenienced as either a blatant demonstration of police power or in an attempt to gather “gang intelligence.”

Most members of motorcycle clubs have been victimized by the practice.

Polished Script

Washington passed an anti-motorcycle profiling in 2011 and Maryland enacted a similar law in 2016 but there has been widespread opposition to such laws by both civil rights groups and by police in other states. Police usually oppose such laws on the grounds that they do not profile bikers. Civil rights groups oppose the laws because states such as Minnesota, which defeated an anti-motorcycle profiling bill last year, do not have laws on the books that specifically forbid racial profiling.

A host of laws, beginning with the Constitution, already outlaw profiling. Most police forces – New York City is the most obvious example – profile certain groups as a matter of unwritten policy in defiance of the law. So the Idaho Senate debate followed a polished script.

Republican Senator Patti Anne Lodge said, “I’m concerned about the need for this legislation when there are no complaints filed in Idaho that I can find.”

Republican Senator Dan Foreman, a former cop, argued, “We don’t need this bill…. We already have laws on the books that tell police officers they cannot do what we’re saying they are doing. We cannot pull someone over for no reason other than the fact that they’re wearing a leather jacket or riding a Harley-Davidson. That’s against the law.”

Republican Senator Steve Blair argued that, “A person who is stopped for probable cause who is a motorcycle gang member wearing colors is going to take us to court…We already have a hard enough time…This piece of legislation will give those gang members plausible defense.”

And Senator Grant Burgoyne, a Democrat, opposed the anti-profiling law because it was “special rights legislation. Why just motorcyclists? The standard that’s set out in the legislation to protect motorcyclists should apply to everyone.”

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9 Responses to “Idaho Senate Denies Profiling”

  1. Irish Says:

    Uncle Ace & Kentucky Rider:
    That is how the police operated, but that can change. Complacency is part of the problem. That is how we got here. Not accepting the “that’s how it’s always been, that’s how it’s going to be” mantra is how change happens.
    Profiling/bullshit stops decreased by 90% after Washington passed their profiling bill. It’s still too early to tell about Maryland, but form what I hear, things are better.
    When lawsuits start pouring in about bullshit stops, and the cops have to pay out, the stops will end.

  2. Paladin Says:

    @ Iron Rider,

    Sport bike riders split from the cops because the cops can’t catch them and sport bike riders in general ride really well. Cruiser configured bikes and those that choose to ride them are always going to be low hanging fruit.

    Long May You Ride,

    Paladin

  3. david Says:

    The BS attorneys in the Idaho House cleverly worded the bill, “under the U.S. and State constitutions”, which exempts cops from any “extra-constitutional” stops, arrests, searches, etc. in their anti-profiling bill.

    Attorney office-holders are aware of all which they say, write and do. Judicial Branch attorneys holding Legislative offices, in violation of the separation of gov.powers guaranteed in both constitutions, are a major problem in the States.

  4. Uncle Ace Says:

    It’s not even solely club colors. Here in boise, I wear a Christian patch & have been pulled over 5x in 4 days. Explained each time it was just a Christian patch, & finally found out they were convinced a new club was starting up. They really enjoyed telling me i was either the president or a prospect (???) Just another reason I loathe sons of anarchy. I’ve never been stopped since that show ended. Go figure. And no complaints filed, my eye. I filed, & was told point blank i was being profiled. But I’d rather have to deal with this than not ride. It sucks but they’re gonna do what they want.

  5. Iron Rider Says:

    @KentuckyRider

    There is truth in what you you say. Anyone wearing a patch is a target for Law Enforcement. The funny thing is though you see more sport biker rider that will run from the cops than guy on Harley’s will but yet lets mess with the guys on the Harley’s who aren’t pulling a wheelie for 8 blocks and arent going 120 miles an hour in a 35 mile an hour zone.

    Been like this since the 60’s that the cops have been messing with bikers be like this for a long after we’ve left this earth too that this shit continues

  6. Kentucky Rider Says:

    Iron Rider – you’re correct. The police are going to do what they want, law or no law, as that’s the way they’ve always operated. The benefit to an anti-profiling law would be that it would give us legal recourse if targeted unjustly. Probably one of those things that sounds good on paper but doesn’t amount to much in real life but at least we would have some kind of leg to stand on. Guys like us don’t ride around with GoPro cameras on our helmets (I don’t even wear a helmet), but for those that do they could probably prove there was no traffic infraction being committed so therefore they were being targeted unjustly for being a biker. I don’t know…maybe I’m being overly optimistic because I feel in my heart of hearts that as long as you’re on a Harley and sporting club colors you’re a target. Period.

  7. TX_Biker Says:

    Motorcycle clubs are not Gangs….

  8. Iron Rider Says:

    Honestly even if this passed the cops would just make up some bullshit excuse to pull you over anyways, ” you were going to fast, going to slow, you didn’t signal a lane change, we got a complaint, you were riding the line, you were swerving back and forth” That happens all the time, and when you know you did nothing of the sort, they already have you stopped which was the objective.

    The cops if they dont have anything to scoop you up on just tell you “ok well I am going to let you off with a warning” which covers there ass because there is no reason for you to complain unlike if they ticket you or try and charge you with something which then comes back where you can make your case as to how it was an illegal stop in your legal fight

    Everyone these days gets profiled, just a matter of how much depending on where you are. I always assume that I am being watched and make sure to be aware of my surroundings. You have nothing, they get nothing… you say nothing they get nothing.

  9. Filburt Says:

    Phufk’m and feed’m fish heads.

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