The Southern Poverty Lawn Center, a prominent NGO tracking hate groups in the United States, reported earlier this month that:
A massive investigation in Oregon shows evidence of a criminal web – involving guns, drugs, stolen property, identity theft and violence – linking white supremacists and outlaw motorcycle gangs.
“Operation White Christmas,” as the year-old investigation is code-named, so far has resulted in the arrests of 54 individuals, mostly in the Portland area, leading to 11 criminal cases in state court and another 43 in federal court…
Others arrested, investigators say, are associates of the Gypsy Jokers outlaw motorcycle gang whose members were believed to be involved in firearms and drug trafficking with the white supremacist gangs.
Incredibly, the Gypsy Jokers have a clubhouse on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, between Fremont and Beech on the west side. The clubhouse exits onto Garfield, and the Jokers own a house that borders the clubhouse on Garfield. (A couple of years ago, I went along Garfield to photograph the Jokers clubhouse, and someone came out of the house on Garfield to warn me away.)
The Gypsy Joker gang made the headlines last year when a member of the club, Joshua Cavett – his skin resplendent with white-supremacist tattoos – murdered his wife in front of their two-year-old daughter, after his wife obtained a restraining order against him. (For a response to this killing from a person writing with the lens of anti-domestic violence work, read the YWCA of Greater Portland’s post about it.)
Back in 2004 the Portland Police Bureau used a battering ram to invade the Gypsy Jokers’ compound on MLK; in 2008 the motorcycle club won a $50000 excessive force lawsuit about the Police Bureau resulting from the attack. An attorney for the Jokers at the time said, “Bikers still get a bad rap from some very dated stereotypes.”
Simon Sez Productions, referenced on the image above, is the organizer of the local Strip Poker Run, held annually.
I’ve said that if it’s happening somewhere in America, it also happens on a small scale in Portland, on MLK. Here’s our own piece of white supremacist thuggery, dearest Portland, on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.