A Fatal Showdown at Red River’s Annual Motorcycle Rally
Sunday, May 28, 2023 – According to news reports, a deadly clash erupted during the highly anticipated Red River Memorial Day Motorcycle Rally on Saturday in the heart of the picturesque town of Red River, New Mexico.
“… the Waterdogs president, insisted the Bandidos were the aggressors and had attacked him in the past, all over a now-2-year-old photo posted on Facebook. The photo showed Shady with at least one member of a rival gang of the Bandidos.”https://www.abqjournal.com/2602807/waterdog-boss-says-bandidos-to-blame.html
This brutal confrontation allegedly unraveled between two motorcycle clubs, pitting the notorious Bandidos against what the news reports as the relatively obscure Water Dogs. This article attempts to look at law enforcement targeting of the Water Dogs and Bandidos and to educate rather than sensationalize. For example, was there even a rivalry at all, or is this a false narrative? The police only release things that help them to poison jurors. So we can’t rely on them for the truth. In the last few weeks, we have seen news about a shootout between the two clubs in New Mexico.
My Background in Reporting This Motorcycle-Related News
At the outset, I am a civil libertarian, and I do not buy into the concept that bikers are “outlaws” or “gangs.” Outlaw is a term used by only the most elite bikers. It was created by the American Motorcycle Association years ago and stuck, ultimately evolving into the term “1% er.” When I repeat these terms below, they quote what the police call many bikers, not my views or opinions.
Full disclosure: I am biased towards less government and more freedom! I don’t profess to be an expert on either M/C, or have inside information. My background is in fighting for liberty and personal freedom, not as an M/C insider. Even if I were an insider, I’d never share my secrets.
To lay a foundation, several of my uncles were in “outlaw” M/Cs. I grew up taking Judo, kickboxing, and dealing with a Marine dad with two Vietnam tours. I was kicked out of school for fighting and ultimately got a full-time job in construction, attending high school at night. (I had no choice, as the Marines required a high school diploma.) After getting out of the Marines, I started several small businesses, became a paralegal, and ultimately became a lawyer with no law degree (I got my JD after trying cases as a licensed attorney.)
Tell me it can’t be done, and that will be taken as a challenge accepted. When I needed the Marines most, they turned a blind eye. Only veteran Marines and Navy Combat Corpsmen, who were also bikers, stood up for me and my family when my Marine dad died of Agent Orange cancer. Bikers helped me arrange a bagpiper and a 21-gun salute at a gun range when our own govt said due to COVID-19, Sgt Paul Ehline, USMC, could not be buried with military honors.
So I am biased toward M/Cs and give little trust to anything I read in the press. I was also falsely arrested by a West Covina cop and thrown in jail over a parking ticket (ultimately, I won my civil rights lawsuit against Officer Milleson, further leading me to become a lawyer.)
Grain of Salt in Messaging
No, I have little trust in municipal police, especially in light of civil forfeiture laws being used to steal private property from citizens under the color of law! I grew up around these people and have defended many in criminal cases and helped others with bad bike wrecks. These people would have been fighting alongside me against the King of England when he tried to seize our “powderhouses.” With that, let’s get into it. According to the press, pandemonium ensued, lives were tragically cut short, and bodies bore the scars of the mayhem. With a curfew established and businesses shut down, the incident occurred eight years following a shootout in Waco, Texas. Nine bikers were killed in that gunplay, and 18 others were wounded. This violent clash involved members of motorcycle groups, including the Bandidos and Cossacks.
With one press conference, a new light has been cast on the enigmatic world inhabited by what police are now calling the Water Dogs Motorcycle “gang” (apparently around seven riders, now one dead, who DO NOT consider themselves to be outlaws) and the MC community in general. Let’s take a deep dive with us into their origins, activities, and the fateful encounter that catapulted this elusive biker club into the limelight with motorcycle law attorney Michael Ehline.
Tracing the Christian Birth of Water Dogs M/C
According to the press, the genesis of the tiny Water Dogs Motorcycle Club confounds police agencies in the small details. It appears the president of the M/C of the Waterdogs takes strong exception to what happened here.
“… the water comes from the living water which is Jesus Christ. And the dogs comes from, we’re a bunch of filthy dogs trying to chase after the clean water.”https://www.abqjournal.com/2602807/waterdog-boss-says-bandidos-to-blame.html
The M/C finds its origins in the industrial heartland of Stirling, Kansas, in the late 1970s. Purportedly propelled by a shared yearning for freedom, the media narrative is that a group of rebellious, audacious individuals came together, birthing an intimate brotherhood united by their love for motorcycles and the unfettered roads.
Over time, the club’s influence expanded. Apparently, even being seen in a picture with a rival club could be enough to get you in trouble.
“… motorcycle club he started nearly a decade ago in New Mexico and named the Waterdogs is not an outlaw gang.” (Source.)
The press says that rival motorcycle clubs began respecting this elite M/C as an outlaw. It also appears law enforcement has branded them as outlaws. Police, as they do with many 1% er M/Cs and rider clubs, started calling them a “gang.” These particular bikers do not appear to have grown in groups (chapters). But reporters say they began stretching their tendrils across multiple states and cementing a reputation with the DOJ.
“What started the bad blood was a photograph someone posted on Facebook of Shady at a friend’s wedding as he was talking to three other men.”
At least one of the men belonged to the Mongols, a major rival of the Bandidos. The Mongols in recent years have been trying to move into New Mexico, according to federal criminal records, a state where the Bandidos have traditionally dominated.”https://www.abqjournal.com/2602807/waterdog-boss-says-bandidos-to-blame.html
Now, it appears police have branded them as part of the criminal underworld, despite the fact they have never been on law enforcement’s radar. The press calls them a criminal organization too, but why? According to police, the result was a cat-and-mouse game in a testosterone-charged environment, and a number of people got killed along the way. But now the biker community has again proven that for-profit media and police are not telling us everything accurately.
As will be discussed, this M/C is nearly impossible for police to target under the RICO statutes, much to their chagrin. Some in the DOJ would say its elite status and loosely knit organizational structure makes all six of them less likely to be convicted for organized crime than the purportedly more centralized outlaw M/Cs, such as the Bandidos, M/C. I also have a bridge for sale if you believe that one.
A Brief Understanding of Alleged Bandidos Structure
According to online sources, the Bandidos members are required to be male and possess at least one Harley-Davidson motorcycle (although other American-made motorcycles like Indians and Victories may also be permitted). Again, these are private clubs, so this may not be exact. But this is what many experts think the structure is as the established hierarchy.
Potential members must go through a three-step procedure prior to initiation, as follows:
- “Hang around”
A screening process is implemented to safeguard against infiltration by law enforcement or anyone else hostile to the club. The full patch is earned once the members unanimously agree and probation is over. It comes as no shock that military and police personality types would gravitate towards these merit-based, blood oath-type organizations. In one example, Jack McDowell, a former State Police officer who was acquitted, was alleged to be affiliated with the Bandidos after leaving his law enforcement job. McDowell faced murder charges and was initially convicted and sentenced to life in prison for his involvement in a 2011 homicide in Rio Rancho. However, his conviction was later overturned on appeal.
The press says the Bandidos members and rival M/Cs, like the Water Dogs, are breaking laws or creating victims. But where is the proof that Water Dogs are even an M/C as opposed to being a plain old Riding Club? At least as far as Water Dogs, it appears these are Christian men who ride motorcycles and attend charity events with their wives. Even labeling these as M/Cs, or as “gang members” could subject someone to a defamation lawsuit unless it is a personal opinion based on an innocent misunderstanding. For sure uncorrected stories like that can poison the jury, as it is a guilty until proven innocent narrative. We know that for-profit media, the same media supporting a wide-open southern border flooded with cartel drugs and human trafficking, use these labels.
Progressive journalists assert that 1% er motorcycle clubs are engaging in a multifaceted spectrum of illicit activities. Although the police proclaim that groups like the Water Dogs are a “Motorcycle Gang,” the riders themselves, as well as people who have seen them at pro-veteran rallies, take strong exception.
An Attack on Christians by the State?
Water Dogs are not a motorcycle gang, they are born-again Christians who want to be left alone. That alone is not something the politicians in our surveillance society can tolerate. Reporters and the DOJ cunningly weave their purported web of infamy, most likely to poison the jury pool. Christians in recent years have been targets of the DOJ, so this makes more sense now.
Civil Forfeiture Laws Are Driving The Narrative?
“Under typical civil asset forfeiture laws, law enforcement can seize property suspected of being connected to criminal activity, even if the owner hasn’t been charged or convicted of a crime.”Under typical civil asset forfeiture laws, law enforcement can seize property suspected of being connected to criminal activity, even if the owner hasn’t been charged or convicted of a crime.” (Source.)
Police claim they are reaping both financial spoils and fostering camaraderie among their ranks. Police are heavily involved in civil asset forfeiture, where they pull you over, steal your money, and claim it has drug residue on it (90% of all federal reserve notes have drug residue on them).
State and local police will work directly with the DEA to steal property from law-abiding citizens, as outlined about the USMC veteran in the video below:
In the end, the DEA will do all the legal work and kick back 80% of the stolen property sale to the cops. These are the same people who say the Bandidos Motorcycle Club and pretty much anyone who rides a Harley is a “motorcycle gang.” Just watching the above video should make you throw up, knowing these cops are actually veterans trying to steal property from a USMC medically retired COMBAT VETERAN! Naturally, many lawyers like me think these labels are just a way to get political cover for their constant harassment of anyone riding a motorcycle—an easy target to steal property from. A decent Harley can command $50 to $60k.
That’s a lot of money that municipal police can use to get new police cruisers, weapons, and promotions (and further militarize their units.). One thing is certain: these men are willing to risk being injured or killed just to be involved in the M/C. Even supporters and prospects will throw down in defense of a brother. The dangerous act of motorcycle riding alone shows that these men are among our society’s most brave and daring. If you go down on your bike, expect them to be with you at the hospital to see you through.
Police Have No Duty To Protect Anyone But the Government?
Basically, the above heading is true. Police have zero duty to protect private citizens. Their job is to protect the municipal corporation.
“Neither the Constitution, nor state law, impose a general duty upon police officers or other governmental officials to protect individual persons from harm — even when they know the harm will occur,” said Darren L. Hutchinson, a professor and associate dean at the University of Florida School of Law. “Police can watch someone attack you, refuse to intervene and not violate the Constitution.”https://ehlinelaw.com/blog/do-police-have-a-duty-to-protect-me
The DOJ, Texas, and Northern New Mexico Police assert that two-wheel enthusiasts like the Hells Angels, Bandidos Motorcycle Club, and Water Dogs earn their money and prestige through drug trafficking. The ones I know all have good jobs. How else can you afford a great motorcycle and ride with your brothers?
If they were a gang, they would not keep winning their cases in court, right? It appears police have a hard time making these charges stick historically. Now, these same agencies claim that in recent years, these M/Cs have been pawning stolen vehicles and stolen firearms throughout the country and possibly even to drug cartels in Mexico. (like the way DHS and US Border Patrol assist cartels in welcoming illegal aliens and trafficked minors into the US?) But now, since the DOJ thinks the Bandidos were in at least three shootings in Texas and Oklahoma in the last several months and will contribute more, they will pour resources into that and ignore our wide-open southern border.
Police have branded these riders as “masters of subterfuge.” LEO says they allegedly maneuver the labyrinthine drug trade, which is exactly the buzzword police departments use to confiscate motorcycles and cash! LEO also says they employ covert transportation methods such as concealed compartments in vehicles and enlisting trusted couriers to execute their “clandestine operations.” (Again, the exact buzzwords needed to confiscate property.)
Again, this is exactly what police say when they use civil forfeiture laws. We have been unable to find any evidence supporting these claims that any of these M/Cs are “motorcycle gangs.” So we caution readers to do their own research and never to trust journalists working for for-profit media. We were also told that mRNA gene therapy was really a “vaccine” that would stop and prevent the spread of COVID-19, which we now know is false. Next time you see a biker, consider the Declaration of Independence. That is my view. Bikers want freedom from the overreaching government and the snowflakes driving the social media narrative.
Water Dogs, RICO Laws, and LEO Revenue Generation Schemes?
The DOJ has sensationally heightened the Water Dogs into public view. This is exactly what no M/C wants. Interestingly, due to cries of racism, police no longer aggressively patrol in high crime areas or make the same number of arrests. How else can police raise revenue, except by going after organizations composed primarily of white males? After all, the press and even the public schools have branded white males as public enemy number one. Good luck getting any sympathy from a jury.
According to the LA Times, M/Cs like them are involved in money laundering schemes. The police say M/Cs easily navigate the legal landscape and potentially circumvent RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations.) So this has raised concerns among law enforcement and so-called legal experts. Understanding the intricacies of RICO and its application to what police and sensational news stories describe as “outlaw motorcycle gangs” is crucial in evaluating the truth or falsity of police and news media allegations.
The Complex Nature of RICO Laws
RICO laws were enacted to target organized criminal enterprises and curb their influence by imposing severe penalties and enabling the government to seize assets gained through illegal activities. However, the application of RICO laws to so-called two-wheel bandits presents unique challenges due to their decentralized and secretive nature.
Elusive Tactics With Law Enforcement Agencies?
Police say M/Cs like the Water Dogs’ have expertise in circumventing RICO laws. The DOJ suggests these types of M/C have a high level of sophistication in their “operations.” Again, the only place I see M/Cs operate is at charitable events. But LEOs persist that these clubs maintain a complex network of affiliates, maintain a low profile, and employ strategies to conceal criminal activities. Hence, LEO says, clubs, including the Water Dogs, “may” have developed methods to elude law enforcement scrutiny and prosecution under RICO. The issue here is we see hundreds of shootings in high-crime neighborhoods across the US every week. As soon as a male, often a military vet, wearing a patch is involved, it’s automatically a major problem that will require more laws and confiscation of private property.
Ongoing discussions are taking place regarding potential legislative reforms to enhance RICO laws to address what they say are the evolving strategies employed by motorcycle syndicates. These so-called reforms may include provisions specifically tailored to counter the tactics the proclaim are used by groups like the Water Dogs, ensuring that the intent and effectiveness of RICO laws are preserved.
Upholding the Rule of Law
The battle to hold bike hoodlums accountable for their criminal activities and prevent RICO evasion is ongoing. By constantly reassessing legal frameworks, improving investigative techniques, and fostering international cooperation, crime control agencies aim to close the loopholes that may allow some groups to operate with impunity.
The alleged expertise of the Water Dogs in evading RICO laws raises significant concerns within the legal and law enforcement communities. However, as a lawyer, I take exception. RICO laws have historically been used when police can’t make a legitimate arrest. Efforts to counter RICO thwarting strategies and ensure compliance with RICO require a multifaceted approach, including legislative reforms, enhanced investigative techniques, and close collaboration among agencies.
Fateful Clash With Bandidos Motorcycle Club and Water Dogs
The alleged clash between the Water Dogs and Bandidos MC at the Red River Memorial Day Motorcycle Rally exploded with unprecedented ferocity. Amidst the raucous symphony of roaring engines and exuberant crowds in Northern New Mexico, tensions reached a crescendo, culminating in a tragic exchange of gunfire. Lives were tragically extinguished, and apparently, rival M/Cs suffered grievous wounds in the ensuing bedlam.
This harrowing incident forcibly thrust the elusive Water Dogs into the public consciousness, tearing away the shroud of secrecy that had veiled their existence. Promptly, investigative agencies mobilized with fervor, launching extensive investigations. They claim their goal is to untangle the intricate threads of M/C operations and identify those responsible for the bloodshed. But we have also seen that far-left, progressive news organizations want to strip away maleness as “toxic,” so it makes one wonder if this is just another attack against males being strong males.
Known Public History of “Outlaws”
As far as I understand, most 1% ers feel proud to be called “outlaws,” but they dislike the term “motorcycle gang.” After all, this is a term the police gave them. The alleged clash between the Water Dogs and the Bandidos during the Red River Memorial Day Motorcycle Rally tells only one side of the story. The state would have you think this served as a chilling reminder of the pervasive mayhem that has plagued the tumultuous history of outlaws M/Cs. Police say feuds, power struggles, and territorial disputes mark violent encounters. Confounded police proclaim this has stained the underworld with a legacy of brutality and bloodshed, just like in the Sons of Anarchy TV show. But again, a private club wants to remain private, so it is left up to us freethinkers to dissect the truth. The press is not to be trusted, EVER!
Incidents of cruelty have become an all-too-familiar occurrence within the realm of outlaw motorcycle clubs, transcending geographic boundaries. We see in the news there are shootouts, brutal assaults, and targeted assassinations that punctuate them in the press. The media claims that they are perpetuating a “motorcycle mobster” atmosphere of fear and chaos. The evening news claims the roots of this brutality lie in a toxic blend of power dynamics, reputation preservation, the pursuit of honor in life, and the defense of lucrative criminal enterprises. However, jurors in many criminal cases apparently do not believe these are gangs, and many lawyers have been able to return not-guilty verdicts. Hence, the reason cops rely on RICO is to throw everything against the wall and see what sticks.
Temptation of Outlaw Biker Lifestyle?
The irresistible allure and silence of the outlaw biker lifestyle, with its rebellious counterculture and tightly-knit brotherhood, may act as a magnet for strong individuals seeking a sense of belonging. Clearly, this is an alpha male environment where Marine vets like me would prefer to dwell. The media and police claim it also creates opportunities for illicit pursuits. Conflict and what the U.S. describes within this subculture as criminality [when someone besides the CIA or FBI is doing it] could find fertile ground to flourish.
Law enforcement claims that disputes are often resolved through armed confrontations rather than peaceful dialogue. However, it makes sense that people like veterans would be attracted to the scene, as most of us feel abandoned by our country when we return home. The press and TV shows like Sons of Anarchy present a volatile environment that perpetuates a cycle of suspicion, aggression, and the threat of lawlessness. From my time getting to know many bikers and growing up in a family of bikers and Marines, I can say without question that these media narratives are false and ill-informed. If I had to guess, I’d say that the media is simply a propaganda wing for law enforcement and not a reliable source of information.
A Cycle of Violence or Media Hype?
According to the press and DOJ, the history of what they describe as outlaw motorcycle “gangs” reveals a distressing pattern: violence begets violence. the DOJ claims that each act of aggression fuels retaliatory strikes, intensifying feuds and perpetuating a never-ending cycle of bloodshed. Police say that the pursuit of dominance and a deeply ingrained sense of loyalty to one’s club compels members to resort to extreme measures to protect their turf and maintain their standing in the criminal hierarchy. However, the bikers I know will do everything possible to de-escalate. Remember, these are people who want to be left alone. Why would someone like that go looking for trouble? Seems like a lot of hype.
This incident is not an isolated event but rather a continuation of what the police call a long and brutal history. Politicians, mainly progressives, call for a comprehensive approach that combines law enforcement efforts, social interventions, and community engagement as imperative to address this “scourge.” Only by dismantling the allure of injustice, they proclaim, and offering alternative paths, can we hope to break the cycle and bring about a safer, more peaceful future. We saw how M/Cs (“bikees”) were destroyed in Australia by these same types of politicians, so it appears to many this is just another assault against “toxic masculinity” by the authorities.
What Sparked this Shootout?
Reports indicate that a prior altercation between the Water Dogs and the Bandidos in Albuquerque sparked the Red River shootout. A photograph involving another club ignited a fire of anger and resentment, setting the stage for a fateful encounter during the Memorial Day Rally.
A Closer Look at the Triggers of the Red River Confrontation
Alleged Rivalry over Criminal Activities and Territory
The police and news media say that the explosive confrontation between the Water Dogs and the Bandidos at Red River was driven by fierce competition for control over “criminal enterprises, territories, and valuable resources” brought to a boiling point. Having been falsely arrested myself, I take everything they say with a grain of salt. I would trust a biker to babysit my kids over ANY public school teacher or member of the political class.
Challenges to Outlaw Prestige and Dominance
The cops and press that perceived disrespect or challenges to the M/C’s reputation and dominance played a pivotal role in triggering the Red River shootout. They assert that outlaw biker culture places immense value on maintaining a strong and unwavering image, making any perceived affront a potential flashpoint for bloodshed. Police claim the battle to protect M/C reputations intensifies conflicts and fuels the need for retaliation. Again, this is what the police say. We also see that in Texas, police are using being in an M/C as an excuse to confiscate firearms and seize property with zero due process under the law. So there you go. There is more to the story than Hollywood musings.
Investigating the Broader Picture
As criminal justice organizations delve into the Red River Shootout, their investigations will extend beyond the immediate incident. By comprehending the motivations and triggers that underpin these confrontations, authorities assert that they can develop proactive strategies to prevent future acts of aggression.
LEO claims their efforts to curb the influence of outlaw motorcycle gangs need to focus on dismantling the underlying motivations for turmoil. Police say this entails initiatives aimed at disrupting criminal activities, providing alternative paths for individuals seeking power and belonging, and promoting community engagement to counter the allure of the so-called outlaw biker lifestyle. The state claims they want a harmonious society, but do they really?
The Purported Underworld of the Water Dogs
Delving into the mysterious realm of the tiny Water Dogs riding club may reveal a glimpse into their inner workings and operational structure. LEO says their “secretive nature” makes gathering concrete information challenging. But in the press, law enforcement bureaus and experts have pieced together some insights.
Allegedly, the Water Dogs operate under a hierarchical structure similar to other M/Cs. They allegedly have various chapters, each led by a president and supported by key officers responsible for enforcing rules and regulations. But all we could find is that there are now six riders, down from one, and that they worship Jesus. LEO persist, however, is really a secret gang with a hierarchical structure that ensures a centralized command and control system within the bike pack, facilitating communication and coordination between members.
Like being a Marine, membership in the Water Dogs is probably exclusive and restricted to individuals who have proven their loyalty and dedication to the fraternity. If it is like a normal M/C, its prospective members often undergo a rigorous initiation process. Police claim this may include criminal acts to demonstrate their commitment to the so-called “gang’s” values and objectives. My experience has been that prospects in most M/Cs simply need to prove they are reliable and dependable. All I have seen is a fraternity. In this case, despite sensational reports, this appears to be a very small fraternity, with several members having been in the biker scene for a long time. Some members are likely friends with members of other rival clubs, and a photo on social media showing two friends at a funeral of a fellow biker could be enough to set off gunfire from the barrel of a rival club, perhaps.
Tracing the Roots of the Water Dogs
Unraveling the origins of the Water Dogs Motorcycle Gang proves to be a challenging endeavor if you are looking for ghosts. While their exact founding date remains elusive, legal enforcement entities speculate that the posse emerged several decades ago. It is believed that a group of rebellious individuals seeking camaraderie and a sense of belonging formed the foundation of this seven-man, yet now enigmatic biker club.
The Water Dogs gained notoriety through media allegations of criminal activities, particularly in the realm of narcotics trafficking, extortion, and organized hostility. But so far, I have not found a record of convictions or anything else to suggest they are criminals. So this could be a way for LEO to use the press to target these men they call members of outlaw motorcycle syndicates. It’s far easier to get convictions and plea bargains when the entire jury believes a lie.
Collaborative efforts with federal agencies, such as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), all seem to be aimed at taking down M/Cs. Although we have a wide-open southern border with cocaine and methamphetamine trafficking, etc., LEO is targeting what they perceive to be the “motorcycle underworld,” instead of Mexican drug cartels trafficking drugs and children and enhancing border security.
Sustaining the Battle: “Ongoing Commitment”
The government’s fight against what they call rebel motorcycle groups like the Sons of Silence, Mongols, Hells Angeles, Water Dogs, and other rivals is an ongoing battle that they claim demands sustained commitment from police forces. They say allocating sufficient resources, including personnel and technology, is crucial to counter the threats effectively. States like New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma may be on the radar, as they contain a large number of bikers and others who dislike authority.
The clash between what police call the Water Dogs Motorcycle “Gang” and the Bandidos at the Red River Memorial Day Motorcycle Rally is a stark reminder of the challenges of striking a balance between the right to be free and the need for police to enhance their budgets, benefits, and pensions. Law enforcement agencies must continue to adapt and refine their strategies to make arrests when so many cases result in NOT GUILTY verdicts. Let me know if we missed anything or if we need to make changes. Call us at (213) 596-9642 if you need a motorcycle lawyer or have 2nd Amendment rights questions. If you are a veteran, we also invite you to help us support the West Coast Vets Against Cancer Act!
- Associated Press