So, a Hells Angel walks into a crowded bar with a couple of friends and announces he is “taking over.” Who among us has not at least thought about doing this? Let him cast the first stone.
Apparently, the notion of such an anti-social outrage has never occurred to Ventura County, California prosecutor Derek Malan. Malan wants to put Brandon Thomas Mundell, 28, a member of the San Fernando Valley Charter of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club in prison for 11 years and four months for doing basically that.
The Alleged Crimes
Mundell, also hit a bar patron in the buttocks with a pool cue causing two welts, “brandished” a four inch knife, and had a blood-alcohol level of .14 percent, which is about double the legal limit to qualify as an intoxicated person in California. The unnamed victims of Mundell’s attack were three men who physically tried to prevent Mundell and two associates from entering the Take Five Bar in Newbury Park about 1:30 am on January 19th, 2006.
The Take Five has since gone out of business.
Mundell’s two associates were not members of the Hells Angels. There were about 75 to 150 people in the bar at the time of the incident. And, some of them called police to report that “three Hells Angels” were “acting like idiots.”
Ventura County Sheriff’s Deputy Mark Grambling also suffered several scratches and a bruise on his leg when Mundell accidently hit the Deputy while trying to ride away on his motorcycle. Another cop, Ventura Police Department Officer Michael Brown, has stated that Mundell believed the bar was frequented by members of the Camarillo chapter of the Mongols Motorcycle Club and that he went there hoping that he would be “jumped” by Mongols and so have the opportunity to fight them.
When Mundell was tried last Thursday and Friday jurors were shown about 20 minutes of surveillance video footage of the incident. Much of the footage shows Mundell trying to pick up a woman at the bar. Mundell told the jury that at the time he felt like the “entire bar” was “against him.” The one witness to testify on Mundell’s behalf was a stripper who said the accused biker is actually very “nice.”
Mundell has already pleaded guilty to driving under the influence but he is contesting three counts of assault with a deadly weapon. The prosecutor has also “enhanced” those charges by alleging that Mundell got drunk and acted like an idiot “for the benefit of the Hells Angels.”
The “gang enhancement” has given the prosecutor the opportunity to turn Mundell’s unfortunate night into a show trial of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club and the biker way in general.
Malan wanted to show jurors video footage of the great biker brawl of 2002 in Laughlin between members of the Hells Angels and Mongols in Harrah’s Casino but was denied by Ventura County Superior Court Judge Kevin DeNoce. The judge did, however, allow testimony about the Laughlin brawl and about the Hells Angels.
So jurors heard from a “gang expert,” Ventura County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Jeremy Paris.
Paris told jurors that that his “gang intelligence’ indicated that the Angels were worried that the club’s “image is suffering in the media” and the club is encouraging members to do “more charity fundraisers, especially those that would benefit families.” Apparently, Paris thinks is mendacious in some way.
Paris also testified that the Hells Angels are a “violent criminal organization.” But then, what else would he say?
The jury began deliberations last Friday and had not yet returned a verdict on Monday, December 15th.