LAS VEGAS (CN) – Las Vegas police carried their harassment of motorcycle clubs to an extreme by ticketing a minister and arresting his attorney, the two men claim in court.
Kevin Desmairas, an ordained minister with the Bikers for Christ ministry, and his attorney Stephen Stubbs say it’s all part of a “longstanding policy of intentional harassment toward motorcycle clubs” from Las Vegas Metropolitan Police.
They sued the department and Lt. Yasenia Yatomi in Federal Court on Nov. 11, alleging civil rights violations, malicious prosecution and other charges.
Stubbs says he was falsely arrested on Nov. 14, 2013 as he stood by his client, Desmairas, who had been “detained and targeted for interrogation” for failing to signal a left turn.
They say the stop went normally until Officer Yatomi and other members of the police’s gang task force arrived and Yatomi ordered Stubbs to leave so she could interrogate Desmairas about Bikers for Christ.
Stubbs told Yatomi that Desmairas had the right to counsel, to which she “eventually responded ‘I’m not gonna listen to you’ and ‘You’re going to jail.'”
She arrested Stubbs for obstruction and he was cuffed and booked into jail. Then Yatomi detained Desmairas for about two hours to interrogate him about the Bikers of Christ and its possible affiliation with other motorcycle clubs, their attorney, Cal Potter III, said.
The charges against Stubbs were based on Yatomi’s account, but the arrest was captured on video , “which belied defendant Yatomi’s statements under oath,” according to the complaint.
Stubbs was acquitted in March.
Potter said the Vegas police department’s special gang task force has had a policy of harassing members of motorcycle clubs since 2012, when the Mongols Motorcycle Club tried to establish a clubhouse in Boulder City.
Since then, Potter said, the gang task force has had an ongoing policy of harassing motorcycle riders wearing club colors and detaining them to learn about possible gang activities and club affiliations.
The harassment extends to members of Bikers for Christ, which describes itself as a motorcycle ministry and with whom Desmairas is a minister, Potter said.
Desmairas and Stubbs seek punitive damages for civil rights violations, false arrest and imprisonment, malicious prosecution, emotional distress and negligence.
Las Vegas police did not respond to phone and email requests for comment Friday.
Clark County contains many motorcycle clubs of varying types, including the Hells Angels, Vagos, and Mongols, which have had on-and-off feuds with each other and with other motorcycle clubs since the 1960s and 1970s.
During the annual Laughlin River Run motorcycle rally in April 2002, three club members died in a shootout and brawl between dozens of members of the Mongols and Hells Angels inside Harrah’s Casino & Hotel.
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