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Nov-27-2010 09:58TweetFollow @OregonNews
Tim and Bonnie King Receive Excellence in Journalism AwardSalem-News.com
(PORTLAND, Ore.) - Americans traditionally encourage youth to be involved in group activities, join clubs, etc. Parents and upstanding citizens often suggest that young people join the military so they can wear a uniform and belong to a group they can be proud of.
But for some reason, being in a club as an adult can get a person in to real trouble. Belonging to a motorcycle club in particular, is a sure way to earn the attention of police, who are often trained to assume that a person two wheels with a patch on their back is a real danger.
This is called criminal profiling, something the people who make the laws in this nation say police are not allowed to.
But it happens every day.
Salem-News.com is a multi cultural organization. It is the organization's belief that all people are created equal, and that none should be the subject of illegal police activity.
News Editor Tim King wrote a story titled Southern Oregon Motorcycle Club Member Sentenced in March 2010, that terminated the state attorney general's bragging rights on the spot.
"He was trying to make it sound like he had brought in half the Manson family, when it was clear that the crime that the bikers supposedly committed, was a small in house matter," King said.
There were no drugs, nobody was shot, no money was stolen; it was simply a matter of a club discovering that one of their members had a particular type of criminal past that is not acceptable and he had lied to gain acceptance by the club.
King said he knew that the Oregon media would simply publish the press release, but he knew he had to take a different approach.
"My dad rode Harleys in the early days and he always had motorcycles when I was growing up - and friends who were club members; they were extremely respectful of my conservative yet motorcycle smart dad. Because of that and many other experiences, I know a different side of this community, and I refuse to be part of the process that disrespects these riders who are almost all military veterans."
King says there are problems on top of problems for these club members.
"I know one local club is hassled endlessly over a crime their members supposedly committed back in '68. The funny part is that almost every member was either born after that, or was a kid when it happened, years before becoming a club member. Even more, there are police agencies that have had officers go bad, and the agencies know this is the case. I often wonder if Oregon State Police would enjoy being judged by the act of one or two individual troopers who went bad, I doubt it."
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