Ronald Smith, the well known Seattle pawn shop unit detective, police union official and proud patch holder in the Iron Pigs Motorcycle Club, is suing the Seattle Police Department for $169,800.
Smith alleges his department slandered him days after he gunned down and severely wounded an unarmed member of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club in the Loud American Roadhouse in Sturgis on August 9th, 2008. Smith alleges he suffered emotional distress when Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske said Smith had used a Police Department Glock automatic pistol to shoot Joseph McGuire in the stomach and the leg. Smith maintains that he actually used his personal Glock automatic pistol, purchased from the Seattle Police Athletic Association, when he tried to kill McGuire.
Smith demands $150,000 to heal his emotional wounds. He also demands $19,800 to pay his lawyer and to compensate him for lost wages.
According to the suit, Smith only tried to kill McGuire because he was “defending himself from a violent premeditated attack, and he responded in a manner which was neither excessive nor unreasonable.” Smith also believes his reputation was harmed when then-Chief Kerlikowske called him an “embarrassment.” Kerlikowske is now Director of National Drug Policy in the Obama Administration.
The Iron Pigs
The Iron Pigs Motorcycle Club is a three-piece-patch motorcycle club comprised of sworn piece officers, prison guards, security guards and fire fighters. The club was founded in Oroville, California in December 2000 by disgruntled members of another cop club, the Wild Pigs Motorcycle Club.
The club intends to either parody or outdo other three-piece clubs. Members wear state bottom rockers and a diamond patch enclosing “99%.” The club motto is “Never Let The Bastards Wear Your Down.” Before the shooting in Sturgis, the club website proclaimed, “In our professions we are forced to deal with a lot of crap on the job; we don’t need it when we play.”
A Massachusetts criminologist and retired cop named Mitch Librett wrote one of the few scholarly articles about the strange phenomena of cop motorcycle clubs. The monograph, “Wild Pigs and Outlaws: The Kindred Worlds of Policing and Outlaw Bikers,” was published in Crime, Media, Culture: An International Journal.
Librett sees “striking similarities in self-presentation” between cop clubs and other three piece patch clubs. “The colors, slogans, and monikers adopted by the members are often indistinguishable,” Librett has said, “I really have to question why any police officer would feel that emulating the (outlaw) lifestyle is an attractive way to spend their free time.”
About two years before the Sturgis shooting, Iron Pigs National Vice President Anthony “Kornbread” Barber explained the attraction to WBOY in West Virginia, “Some of us get a kick out of pulling up at a red light and watching people lock their doors.”
The pugnacious Iron Pigs once sued a minor league baseball team in Pennsylvania, an affiliate of the Phillies called The Iron Pigs – after a common raw ingredient used in nearby steel mills – with trademark infringement.
The Fight At The Loud American Roadhouse
Official and published accounts of the shooting differ radically from what eyewitnesses have described to this page.
Officially, Smith and four other Iron Pigs who were involved in the incident described themselves as being surrounded and attacked by Hells Angels. News media have described the attack as unprovoked. Charges were brought and dismissed against all five Iron Pigs. After months in the hospital, McGuire was charged with aggravated assault. He eventually pled no contest to simple assault in February 2009.
Uncontrovertibly, Smith has a long history of trying to bully Hells Angels. In 2005, Smith stalked, threatened and then charged a Seattle motorcycle shop owner named James Magnesi with threatening him. A tape recording proved that what had happened was that Smith had actually called him a “dirtbag,” told him to watch his back and told him that belonging to the Hells Angels is a crime.
Witnesses have told this page that McGuire and one Hells Angels prospect were surrounded and harassed by the five Iron Pigs. Smith insulted McGuire. When McGuire punched Smith in the face and knocked him down Smith shot the Hells Angel twice.
Smith claimed to be acting in self defense because he reasonably felt himself to be in mortal danger. But none of the four other Iron Pigs who witnessed the fight made any effort to break it up or to defend Smith.