The tide may finally be turning against Gangland, the execrable, ATF enabled “reality” show that chronicled and justified the expensive and bogus federal crusade against “gangs.”
Next Saturday, June 8th, The Last American Outlaw, a documentary film about long time Hells Angel George Christie and his most recent court case, will be screened to potential buyers for the first time in a place called the Bell Arts Factory in Ventura. The Arts factory, which used to make mattresses, is a short walk from the old Angels clubhouse in Ventura. The screening is sold out and there is a waiting list.
At the least, the film will surprise people who only know the outlaw world from television. As Nikki Christie, George’s wife, says about two-thirds of the way through the film, “I didn’t know. I thought the police told the truth. I thought newspapers told the truth.”
The film was conceived as an homage to Easy Rider. The British film maker Nick Mead wanted to follow Christie around as he traversed the continent on his motorcycle and chatted with like-minded souls. Christie’s indictment on July 29, 2011 crushed that premise.
The Christie Case
Christie was charged with “conspiring” to “interfere with commerce and the movement of articles and commodities in commerce;” extortion and conspiracy to commit arson. There were six redundant counts. They all said the same thing but they gave prosecutors multiple chances to win and Christie multiple chances to lose. The presumably innocent man was locked up for three weeks and then confined to his home.
Christie, who had retired from the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club the previous April was offered the usual deal: Become a federal asset and help us get Hells Angels or we will lock you up for the rest of your life. You can’t fight us. We will make you look like a rat anyway.
A superseding indictment returned five days before Christmas in 2011 added two counts that both said Christie “knowingly used and carried, and counseled, commanded, induced, and procured, and willfully caused the use and carrying of a destructive device, namely a “Molotov Cocktail,’ during and in relation to, and possessed, and counseled, commanded, induced, and procured, and willfully caused the possession of, that destructive device in furtherance of a crime of violence, namely, Use of Fire or Explosive to Damage Property….” The additional counts carried mandatory penalties of life in prison.
Christie, who owned a tattoo parlor in Ventura, was accused of telling other men to firebomb his competition out of business. Some of those men, who the government said would prove the accusations, were themselves government assets. The same assets claimed Christie controlled tattooing in Ventura and collected payoffs from his competitors in neighboring cities.
Christie took the case to trial and eventually pled guilty to two counts of conspiracy in order to end his ordeal. Like most federal indictees, the only way Christie could guarantee his freedom was to confess to something that would allow prosecutors to save face.
Mead stuck around, camera in hand, for all of this and was by turns baffled, confused and outraged by what he saw. The result is a beautifully photographed chronicle of what it’s like to be the target of the Department of Justice.
Mead gets out of the way of his subject and mostly just listens while Christie and others talk about Christie’s case and the federal war on the biker menace. The film will probably surprise most viewers as much as Mead was surprised. At the least, a broad audience will find an informative and moving story about somebody interesting. Motorcycle outlaws will find much truth in it.
About the film, Mead said “the most important thing to me is that it means something to the people who lead the life.”
Christie and Mead produced the film and Mead directed it. It features interviews with Academy Award winner Michael Blake, Defense attorneys Mariah Christie and Jeffrey Lustick, former Mongol Al Cavazos and former Bandidos President George Wegers.
The author of this page also appears briefly in the movie and is credited with writing the voice over narration. For the record, he has zero financial interest in the success of the film and was not compensated for his participation in it.
You can watch a snippet from the beginning of the film below.