Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

No Indications of Potential Gang Violence at 75th Sturgis

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

No Indications of Potential Gang Violence at 75th Sturgis

Article excerpt

STURGIS, S.D. * Never-before-seen crowds are expected to ride into the craggy, evergreen-dotted Black Hills of South Dakota this week, all headed to the 75th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

The rally is famous for bawdy behavior, with police busting hundreds each year for drunken driving and drugs, but authorities and bikers alike say there's no indication there will be violence like that seen this spring among outlaw clubs in Waco, Texas, where a shootout left nine people dead and twice as many injured.

Several law enforcement agencies with a presence at Sturgis said they haven't received intelligence from officials nationwide that outlaw motorcycle gangs are planning violence as an extension of the Waco shootings. And a former Hells Angels chapter leader said it's likely the gangs will work to maintain a low-key presence because of the attention on the Texas incident.

"There's a lot of information out about Waco, (but) not a lot of information that any of it's going to spill over into Sturgis," said Dan Satterlee, an assistant director at the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation. "But, like all our operations ... not just related to outlaw motorcycle gangs, we are heavily invested with personnel and resources in this Sturgis rally."

The rally officially kicks off Monday, capping years of planning among state and local agencies for the landmark event, which reportedly began as a race that attracted a handful of people in the late 1930s.

Attendance guesses for this year's rally exceed 1 million people a huge jump from the estimated 442,000 people who flooded the town of roughly 6,900 last year. But Sturgis police Chief Jim Bush said he hasn't changed his security and policing plan much since 1995.

Gangs will likely try to avoid violence at Sturgis this year because of the public attention Waco received, said Pat Matter, who was president of the Minneapolis chapter of the Hells Angels until he went to prison in 2003.

Nine people were killed and 18 injured in the May 17 shootout involving bikers and police at the Waco restaurant that authorities say arose from an apparent confrontation between the Cossacks and Bandidos. …

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