Feds Owe Ex-Undercover Agent for Gang Threats

     (CN) – Rebuking a law-enforcement agency for its “sorry failure” in a “Kafkaesque” tale, a federal judge awarded $173,000 to a celebrated undercover agent threatened with death by the Hells Angels.
     Jay Dobyns started as an agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in 1987. From 2001 to 2003, he engaged in Operation Black Biscuit, targeting Hells Angels members as an undercover member of the Tijuana-based Solo Angeles.
     To impress the Hells Angels leadership and earn Dobyns a full “patched” membership in the gang, he and other ATF agents staged the fake murder of a member of rival Mongols Motorcycle Club.
     Dobyns’ identity was allegedly disclosed in court, however, after 16 Hells Angels members were indicted on racketeering and murder charges in Arizona.
     Facing death and violence threats against him and his family, Dobyns filed an official complaint in 2006, alleging that the agency improperly investigated several of the threats and improperly instituted and managed the relocation of his family.
     The agency agreed to pay Dobyns $373,000 in 2007 for the withdrawal of those claims, but Dobyns brought the ATF to court the next year for bad-faith claim, claiming the agency continued to retaliate against him in breach of the settlement.
     Dobyns said ATF officials took away his secret credentials and exposed him to threats and attacks from the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club, and tried to frame him for an arson attack on his home.
     The ATF countered that Dobyns breached his employment contract, and federal regulations and bureau orders, by publishing a book based on his experiences as an agent, and by contracting his story and consulting services to create a movie.
     U.S. District Judge Francis Allegra partially sided with Dobyns on Tuesday, awarding him $173,000 in damages for mental distress, and pain and suffering.
     “It is evident that ATF officials failed to follow through in implementing the steps that were supposed to minimize the risks that might affect Agent Dobyns and his family,” Allegra wrote. “In the court’s view, this represented another instance in which ATF violated the covenant of good faith and fair dealing.”
     The judge quoted from Shakespeare’s “Othello” to dispatch with the claim that the ATF breached the settlement agreement.
     “Who steals my purse steals trash; ’tis something, nothing; ‘Twas mine, ’tis his, and has been slave to thousands,” the 54-page ruling states. “But he that filches from me my good name, robs me of that which not enriches him, and makes me poor indeed.”
     Allegra also pointedly called the actions “Kafkaesque.”
     “Hopefully, this will bring this Kafkaesque story to an end,” the ruling states.
     The author Franz Kafka’s writings have long been noted as nightmarishly complex, bizarre and illogical.
     Kafkaesque is widely used to describe surreal situations like in his writing.
     Allegra noted Kafka’s “The Trial.”
     “There, Kafka depicts a totalitarian state in which the government suppressed freedom via a deluge of circuitous and irrational process. One of the techniques employed was the ‘non-final acquittal,'” Allegra wrote. “Kafka describes these acquittals thusly: ‘That is to say, when [the accused] is acquitted in this fashion the charge is lifted from [his] shoulders for the time being, but it continues to hover above [him] and can, as soon as an order comes from on high, be laid upon [him] again.'”
     Dobyns responded to the ruling on his website .
     “I have been vindicated,” he wrote.
     “I will not seize upon this opportunity to gloat or celebrate. From my view there is nothing to rejoice in. This is a sad day for my beloved ATF, the Department of Justice and all who believe in and support America’s law enforcement officers. …
     “An agency I spilled my own blood for and enthusiastically accepted every dirty assignment on behalf of for 27 years, knowingly and intentionally accused me of a crime I did not commit; being a person who would murder his own wife and children by fire,” Dobyns added.
     “For those who blame me for ‘rocking the boat’ or airing ATF’s ‘dirty laundry’ in public, you’re just going to have to find a way to get over it. I don’t take it back and I wouldn’t if I could.”
     A star football player at the University of Arizona, decorated agent and best-selling author of “No Angel: My Harrowing Undercover Journey to the Inner-Circle of the Hells Angels,” Dobyns joined the ATF out of college.
     At 26, during his first week on the job, he was shot.
     Dobyns openly professes his love of the undercover work that required him to shave his head, get tattooed from shoulder to wrist, and become Harley-riding renegade Jay “Bird” Davis.

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