LOS ANGELES (CN) – The Mongols Nation Motorcycle Club claims city officials in the high desert outside L.A. kept them from holding their annual convention in Lancaster in violation of state law and the Constitution. The Mongols say they meet to reunite members, elect officials and “share viewpoints on social issues.”
The Mongols, a California corporation, claim their peaceable assembly was targeted by Lancaster officials who called the bikers “baby killers” and “domestic terrorists.” One city official said, “I don’t care about the civil rights of gang members,” according to the Superior Court complaint.
The Mongols say they convene to “foster and promote political, social, economic, educational, religious, or cultural viewpoints with an emphasis on riding, operating and maintaining motorcycles.”
About 250 Mongols planned to attend the convention in Lancaster over the weekend of July 17-19, 2009, according to the complaint.
The bikers say they reserved more than 100 rooms at the Desert Inn Hotel in Lancaster and paid $16,500 in advance for the rooms, food and drinks. But a few days before the convention, city officials got together and vowed to do “whatever it takes” to keep the Mongols out of Lancaster, the complaint states.
On July 16, the city erected a chain link fence around the hotel, closing it down before the Mongols arrived. The bikers say they were “coerced, threatened and intimidated” into abandoning their convention.
The city and its officials had no evidence that the group was going to disrupt the peace, the Mongols say. They sued the city, its mayor and City Council.
The Mongols seek $5 million in damages for defamation, emotional distress, interference with contract and civil rights violations, civil penalties for all 250 members who were kept away from the convention, and costs.
The Mongols are represented by Albert Perez of West Covina.