Highwaymen Fallout

May 18, 2009

All Posts, News

The big net that swept up 74 people associated in some way with the Highwaymen Motorcycle Club in Detroit last week snared a couple of brightly colored fish.

Hold onto your handlebars. Forget Gangland. Here comes 20-20, 60 Minutes, Dateline, Newsweek and the New York Times.

Former Cop

Cynical assignment desk editors everywhere will find defendant 49, David “Stifler” Tomlan, particularly telegenic because he is a former Garden City, Michigan police sergeant. Tomlan was fired by Garden City in 2006 for “violating departmental rules and regulations.” He was a cop for ten years and this is his second indictment in the last 14 months.

Tomlan was indicted in March, 2008 for lying to the FBI and for possession with intent to distribute cocaine and anabolic steroids. Both illicit pharmaceuticals are widely and credibly believed to be substances commonly abused by many police officers.

Last week’s indictment, which supersedes the 2008 complaint, also accuses Tomlan and others of stealing “some motorcycles” from the Myrtle Beach “Motorcycle Week” in May, 2006 and bringing them back to Michigan in a “U-Haul trailer.” In the manner of federal indictments, Tomlan is also accused of talking about attending the Myrtle Beach Rally.

The latest indictment also accuses Tomlan and 15 other defendants of conspiring to get “more than five” keys of cocaine, which would work out to about 12 ounces per defendant.

Attention Keith Olbermann

The snarkiest prize in last week’s big biker bust was Defendant 62, a prominent Detroit citizen named Hatim “Tim” Attalla; although the FBI insists he should actually spell his name as “Attallah:” Possibly because it looks more Al Quaidaesque when it is spelled that way.

Attalla’s arrest is potentially embarrassing for former basketball star and new Detroit Mayor Dave Bing.

Detroit, of course, you must already know, manages to epitomize everything that most people hate about government in a very interesting and humorous sort of way. Let it go that the argument could be made that maybe the FBI should be investigating Detroit instead of the Highwaymen. But they are not. They have decided to keep it simple and just go after the Highwaymen.

So, after a long chain of humorous and improbable events new Mayor Bing appointed a “highly respected community leader” named Tim Attalla to his “crisis turnaround team.” Then, the very next day, Attalla was named Defendant 62 in the Highwaymen indictment.

See? Isn’t Detroit interesting and humorous?

Big Shot Lawyer

Attalla is accused of being:

• A member of the Arab American Republican Club;
• A former member of the Michigan Civil Rights Commission;
• A member of the Wayne County Mental Health Board;
• A trustee of the Children’s Hospital of Michigan;
• A member of the Dearborn Development Authority; and
• General counsel for the Highwaymen Motorcycle Club.

Specifically, Attalla is charged by the United States of America with “advising arrested individuals to keep silent” (which actually, until recently was legal in the United States) and with “acting as general counsel for” a “criminal enterprise”

To Quote James Joyce

There is a “commodious recirculation” (as James Joyce once said of toilets) to the case against the Highwaymen. The argument goes that everyone is provably guilty because the Highwaymen is a criminal enterprise and the Highwaymen is provably a criminal enterprise because everyone is guilty.

Or, as Detroit politicians often say, “It’s all good.” Sometimes they say, “The show must go on.”

“You vet people before they come into your tent,” a Bing political opponent and “businessman” named Thomas Barrow told the Detroit News. “Now Dave Bing has a consigliere for a drug cartel in his midst.” So already the Bing Administration has failed. Behold the great pageant of democracy in Detroit.

And, just as a footnote, in case you are one of that vanishing breed who still likes a little context with your sizzling hot news, has already taken the FBI more than three years to get to this point in the Highwaymen case. Really. Three years. And, it will take more years before anybody is ever actually tried.

Funny isn’t it? Unless you are one of the guys who is now locked up. Or Tim Attalla. Or Dave Bing.

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