Stephen “Bowtie” Stubbs (pictured above), the Las Vegas lawyer who represented the Mongols Motorcycle Club’s legal interests while they were vacationing in Boulder City last June, announced some specifics about that harassment campaign yesterday.
The harassment was the idea of former Boulder City Police Chief Thomas Finn. Finn apparently thought the bikers were an easy and unsympathetic target for his neurotic rage, or his inner demons or whatever drove the man to pick on a big pack of motorcycle tourists. Finn is an advocate of “proactive policing.” Maybe that’s it. Proactive policing is a dark art, in which “professional police” use their “experience and training” to decide who is naughty and who is nice before the naughty ones do something naughty – like rape your grandmother, or eat your dog, or smoke a joint or jaywalk or loiter or talk back.
Finn was fired Monday because he couldn’t admit he was wrong. The Mongols National Run started his long self-humiliation. Finn’s is a complicated and absurd tale that doesn’t need to be repeated in detail again. In a nutshell, he appears to have committed a couple of felonies, lost a couple of lawsuits, tried to bully people who disagreed with him, filed some ethics complaints and complained of religious discrimination. This attracted more attention to him than was wise and pretty soon Boulder City officials noticed he was doing a bad job. Unfortunately, like a man who drinks to forget he has a drinking problem, Finn is still chatting up television and print reporters in and around Sin City. He seems to think he is a sympathetic hero because he is a cop. What may eventually dawn on Finn is that he is such a loathsome man that not even his friends can be bothered to arrange an intervention to convince him to stop – just stop.
Now the Vegas press is lining up to video record every word this guy says. Finn thinks the press loves him because they are all on his side. That’s not what makes Finn a compelling story. Reporters love Finn because he is a nut and people love to read about nuts.
This is how it started.
By The Numbers
About 250 Mongols rode into Boulder City June 22nd and were met by about 250 uniformed and an undetermined number of plain clothes policemen representing the Boulder City Police Department, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, North Las Vegas police, Henderson, Nevada police, the Nevada Highway Patrol, California Highway Patrol, Arizona Highway Patrol, the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Finn later told Ben Frederickson of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, that the army he enlisted was not disproportionate to the threat. “Well there were too many cops in town. Nothing happened,” Finn explained to Frederickson. “Well of course nothing happened. Because there were so many cops in town.”
The police welcoming party issued a total of 27 traffic citations and three misdemeanor citations to members of the motorcycle club or the club’s guests. That’s it. The infractions carried potential penalties of $8,849 which amounts to $35.40 per cop. Four traffic offenses stuck and the offenders were fined a total of $288 which works out to about a buck fifteen per cop.
The other 23 traffic tickets and the three misdemeanors were dismissed.
The Horror, The Horror
Apparently, nobody associated with the motorcycle club actually did much wrong because the police had to make up crimes. The dismissed citations included:
Seventeen visitors were cited for illegally high handlebars. However, the riders were all from out of state, the handlebars were legal at home and because only the federal government has jurisdiction over conflicting laws between states, the handlebar tickets were all unconstitutional. A citation for an improperly displayed license plate was dismissed for the same reason.
A jaywalking ticket was dismissed because at the time the road was still under construction and it had no marked, pedestrian crossways.
A Mongol who was detained without a “reasonable, articulable suspicion” was arrested for “obstructing a police officer” when he refused to answer police questions after identifying himself. Nevada law requires “Terry Stop” detainees to identify themselves and the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Nevada law in 2004. But, you are not obliged to have a conversation with your police harasser, even in Nevada. He was the only Mongol arrested that weekend.
A charge of failing to pull over and stop after activation of a police light bar was dismissed after the traffic judge saw a video of the traffic stop posted on YouTube by Chief Finn.
Finally, a club member’s wife was detained because she is a middle-aged Xicana and the police were looking for a middle-aged Mexican woman. He husband remarked the obvious, “This is fucking bullshit,” to the investigating officer who then charged the man for swearing in public and detained him. That charge was also dismissed.