This interview is with an officer in a small European OMC (Outlaw Motorcycle Club) and is one of the few full-patched female members of any club. Many details have been changed to protect the identities of everyone involved. You can assume that all names, dates and places have been either omitted or changed.
CRGI– Your club lives largely outside the law. How do you handle things like theft and breaking contracts, the kind of thing that most citizens would bring to the law?
MC– The story I want to tell started in 2013. We got two new prospects in autumn and they started to run their one year probation. In spring 2014 we made a party for our guests. Out treasurer asked the prospect R. to pay his club fees but he told him he hadn’t enough money. Some hours later R. came and handed 50 Euros to the treasurer saying his wife had given the money to him. Late at night the treasurer counted the amount in the register and 50 Euros had been missing. He suspected R. immediately but I told him that there must have happened a mistake because nobody has stolen money from the MC as long as I’m a member. I also told him that there was no evidence and everybody behind the counter could have taken the money. R. paid his fees on time later on and behaved normal.
CRGI– Many citizens have the idea that an OMC is vicious and quick to take things into their own hands. Wasn’t this enough evidence to do something about it? Why was it so important to you to be sure?
MC– Of course we’re capable of doing things quick and vicious if needed. We also don’t call the cops, we’re solving our “problems” on our own. The main principles in our MC are faith and honesty. I’ll have to trust on my bros in every situation. Whether in riding, fighting or having problems. And they trust in me 100% too.
Blaming somebody having broken the most important rules is a severe matter. Of course for the defendant but also for the accuser. Blaming on somebody without having enough evidence could be dangerous and can drop back on the accuser when turned out to be wrong. Blaming with enough evidences will cause an action by the members. And this action almost includes a kind of punishment, depending on the seriousness of the offense. The range is wide. Starting with harsh words from the president to being beaten, severely wounded and kicked off of the MC.
MC– Later, R put a 1% patch on his vest and though we explained him the meaning of that special sign he insisted of wearing it because he felt like an “onepercenter” and would act in the same way.
CRGI– What’s the significance of a 1%er tab?
MC- Wearing a 1% in my country means that the biker is following his own rules and the rules of his MC. He really doesn’t care about rules or laws from state, police etc. The biker decides what he wants to do and gives a shit on law and order. His rules and the rules of the MC always come first.
CRGI- Was R allowed to award himself that patch? Is there a usual protocol and did he violate it? When a prospect insists on something over the objections of patched members, what is going on? Is there a normal corrective response?
MC-We’re having our MC statutes of course. But these don’t include the wearing of that patch. Everyone is free to design his vest as he wants to. Of course he has to take the responsibility for every patch or badge.
Insisting of wearing this 1% patch would cause the patched members watching him being beaten if he would be involved in a fight. They only would stand around and say “Come on and fight. Finally you’re stating that you’re a 1%er and we told you enough about it.” Did he insist on other things the patched members told him and he won’t obey he would be punished or kicked off from the MC. There are different varieties of punishment and some are really humbling.
It starts at the lowest level with a harsh speech from a member, then of the president. The next stage would be to stitch a loud pink and broad ribbon all over the backpatch. The ribbon includes the inscription “Club punishment”. And the punished had to wear it and show himself in public with it for a determined time. The worst punishment (except from being beaten and kicked off) would be to be forced to cut down the backpatch and walk around with nothing or get back the probationary backpatch which would even be very humiliating for every full member.
CRGI– What happened next?
MC– The summer party was celebrated and the treasurer kept a wary eye on R. but he didn’t see anything suspicious. The autumnal party also passed by without any problems. Meanwhile the treasurer had placed a small register with some cash float behind the counter, in case of visitors who would buy some drinks. He took the “big” register we use for the parties home. Four days later R. had to open the clubhouse two hours earlier to light the fireplace. When the other members arrived he told them that he found the entrance door unlocked. But he had checked the whole clubhouse and nothing would be missing. The other members checked the clubhouse too and somebody found out that the small register was missing. The two guys who locked up the clubhouse after the party couldn’t explain how they could forget to check the door before leaving. They felt bad about that for months. Somebody suspected a former member having a second key and we changed the lock and all keys.
Then we voted for full membership of R. (acceptance of every member is needed to become a full member) and I refused because I didn’t trust R. I couldn’t explain, it was my gut instincts which told me to refuse. Even the president was the same opinion. We discussed a long time and at last the other members persuaded us to say yes. The president told R. that the acceptance was by a hair and that R. would have to show his loyalty.
CRGI- The other members were not suspicious at all?
MC– As I told you, the main principle is faith. And this had never happened before. Some of our members are true friends for more than twenty years. In an “inner circle” we spoke about possible suspects but there was not one single evidence suspecting other members. The two guys accused by R. to having forgotten to lock the door felt uncertain and had self-doubts for weeks.
In a meeting I looked daggers at our youngest patched member while talking about the thieving. Just to test his reaction. Later he told me that he was scared to death that we would suspect him without having done anything wrong. Everybody of us felt really bad that time, and sad of course. Being duped by a person you normally would commit your life, freedom and health hurts.
CRGI– What happened next?
MC– The last spring party was a success and our treasurer went around with a donation can. We got this from a last wish foundation for cancer suffering children and the guests put a lot of money into the can. The next meeting I mentioned in passing that the can was pretty full and ready to be passed to the foundation. I did this with a special intention because I knew that R. has big financial problems that time and had to leave his home because he stole electricity with an illegal mounted cable from his landlord.
CRGI– Biker clubs do charity and outreach work in the US as well. It’s a little off our main subject, but would you like to talk about it?
MC– Other MCs organize toy runs, blood donations, round-trips in sidecars for disabled people etc. We’re doing some charity by collecting donations but we’re also trying to treat people in the same way as we want to be treated. That means eg; helping if there was any accident, bullying or harassment of helpless people. We butt in, we don’t look the other way.
CRGI– Back to the story of R.
MC– One week later R. was in the clubhouse before the other members arrived. He seemed to be very nervous and was leaving as soon as possible. Later that evening I routinely checked the counter area with the club cellphone, the music computer and the donation can, which was missing. We immediately called every absent member (except R.) but nobody knew where the can could be. We also searched the whole clubhouse but the can was lost.
Before I left I placed the new bought small register in a special way and memorized the exact position. Gut instincts again, ok.
We started to think and discuss the thefts without telling R. because after collecting any possible fact and summing up there could be only one offender: R. And suddenly R. started to ask suspicious questions during the next week like “when will be the initiation of my backpatch to confirm my membership” etc. He always watches his opponent very exactly like looking for any hint of knowing something. But nobody told him a single word.
The next meeting I told the bros that we would find the register without any money and I was right. It was moved to another position and 30 Euros were missing. Unnecessary to say that R. had different excuses not to come to the meetings after the can was missing.
The president was so upset that he promised to beat this asshole close to death, rip all his clothes and force him to walk naked through the streets while his vest would burn on our campfire together with his bike. He also promised to drive to R.’s new home, took the pump gun with him, threaten and/or shoot R. and look for the can. (I have to mention that in my country you can’t own a pump gun or other firearms legally, except you’re a hunter, shooter in a club, personal security etc. with a proven license. But MC members always get and own what they need to defend their home and their MC.) Our president is a true “one percenter” who’s living on his own terms and so we had some problems to persuade him not to kill R. We’re having some peaceful members which didn’t agree and argued a lot.
CRGI– To your knowledge, how common is it for an OMC in your country to kill one of their own members? Would it ever be a decision of the entire club? Or would one member act on his own? Or would the senior leadership make the call?
MC- If done it mostly happens in the very big MCs here. It’s not happening every day but the number is increasing since many members with migration background have entered the big MCs and they’re defecting from the rules of the “old school members”. As far as I know the senior leadership usually makes the call and one or more member are executing. He/they also would take the blame if being arrested. There’s no exact knowledge of the background because nobody talks about it. In our MC the prez would decide and execute on his own if necessary. There’s no doubt.
CRGI– Interesting. Go on.
MC-I was at the president’s home in the garden because he asked me for some help and I’m very skilled at gardening. He was still in rage as suddenly R. and his wife arrived and came to the backyard. R. handed out his backpatch, obviously expecting the return of the 75 Euro pawn he had to pay when he got it. But he wasn’t able to tell his intentions because the president hit his head with the fist immediately and smashed him to the next wall. He moved that fast without any sign that R. was totally surprised. The president is 1,95 meters tall and 175 kilograms, R. is 1,70 meters and 95 kilograms. R. started screaming “stop, what are you doing” while the president continued to hit his head again and again with one fist while using the other hand to fix R. at the wall. R. didn’t fight back, he only crooked and tried to protect his head. (1%??? Phhh!)
His wife tried to interact, I intervened and pushed her away. I still had my (nearly closed and locked) clippers in my hand when I did that and scratched her forearm from wrist to elbow with the blade because she tried to beat me. No deep cut but skin was missing and some blood coming. I stood in front of her and said I would severely hurt her if she would try to barge in again. She stepped backwards and didn’t move any more. Meanwhile the president was still beating R. yelling, “you’ve stolen from your brothers, confess”. R. denied, screaming. The president stopped beating, grabbed R.’s throat and started choking him, asking again:” you’ve stolen, confess”. R. denied twice again his face changing into purple red, blue, tongue coming out. With his last breath he whispered “yes” and the president opened his hands. Then R. stood in front of us, gasping for air, sobbing and confessing all the thefts, explaining that they had no food, no diapers for the child etc. I think he got a concussion too because he hold his head and started to be cross-eyed. Not my problem and no pity.
The president told him to appear to the next meeting and bring 300 Euros with him. He also reassured that R. wouldn’t harmed if he would appear and bring the money. Otherwise the former brothers would make a private visit with all possible conclusions. He also told R. not to do anything stupid concerning every member or the MC e.g. telling stories to the police etc. otherwise “We know your name, your address and your family. And the forest out there is large, dark and contains a lot of lonely and deep holes!”
At last his wife told her friend that I attacked her with the clippers and that R. was forced to confess. But nothing else happened. Some days ago R. appeared with two independent companions from a Christian MC on the meeting (he was too afraid to come alone) still with nice blue marks around his throat and in the face and handed 300 euro to the MC. The president told the members not to touch R. because he had given his word and he would beat everyone like R. who wouldn’t comply with. The members obeyed. He forbid R. to set one foot into our area and also prohibited being a member in every MC. Otherwise he would draw the consequences and his new backpatch would be ripped (and possibly a little more).
R. is still out in bad standing and as far as I know he will never appear at the MC scene again. He knows well enough what will happen if he would do. I also know what will happen if some of my brothers would meet him random. I informed the local MCs about R., put it on our website and placed an extra ad in the biker magazine. So R. is banned. If he’s clever he and his wife will stay where they are and not say one word about the incident. If not I’m pretty sure that our MC will make a visit.