Wednesday, October 4, 2023
Courthouse News Service
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Feds Accused of Chilling Member’s Right |to Wear Mongols Motorcyle Club Insignia

SAN DIEGO (CN) - The government's indictment of 79 former and current members of the Mongols Motorcycle Club should not affect an unindicted member's right to wear the Mongols patch, Ramon Rivera claims in Federal Court. The mark was forfeited by the government and banned from use by the indicted gang members.

Rivera says the court order only applies to gang members indicted in U.S. v. Cavazos, which ties the gang to murder, hate crimes, arms dealing, and a host of other violent crimes.

Rivera claims federal agents have seized items bearing the Mongols mark from people who weren't charged in Cavazos. He says this chills him from wearing a jacket or shirt displaying the image, even though he has the right to do so.

"To Rivera, his display of the image affirms his membership in the Club, symbolizes unity and brotherhood with his friends and fellow Club members, most of whom are low-income and Latino, and represents their struggle for recognition and equality," the lawsuit claims.

Rivera is suing the director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the special agent in charge of the ATF's Los Angeles division; and the U.S. attorney general for alleged First Amendment and due process violations.

David Blair-Loy with the ACLU Foundation of San Diego & Imperial Counties is representing him.

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