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Reader's view: Police agitating the public over Hells Angels

In what seems an ongoing effort to dishonestly sensationalize the coming visit of the Hells Angels and to glorify the status of the Duluth Police Department, police spokesman, Lt. Dan Chicos has used loaded language and inaccurate information to ...

In what seems an ongoing effort to dishonestly sensationalize the coming visit of the Hells Angels and to glorify the status of the Duluth Police Department, police spokesman, Lt. Dan Chicos has used loaded language and inaccurate information to agitate area residents rather than to serve and to protect them.

By stating in the July 14 story, "Softball, party set despite Hells Angels," that half of the members of the Hells Angels are "convicted felons," Chicos exaggerated, making the club seem more ominous than it is. To use the term "convicted felon" is to dishonestly make a felon seem more dangerous than he is. All felons are convicted; otherwise they would not be felons. Three percent of American adults are felons, including professors, doctors, lawyers, investors, businesspeople, professional athletes, clergy and military personnel. If you have 32 friends, one of them is likely a felon.

The Hells Angels gathering will not "draw" members of "support motorcycle clubs" to the area, as Chicos suggested. There are no so-called support clubs here. There are two independent motorcycle clubs in this area, the BPM Motorcycle Club and the Thunderbird Motorcycle Club. These clubs have been part of our local population for more than 40 years. The Lost Race club mentioned by Chicos has not even been in existence for more than 15 years. Trying to make local clubs and a nonexistent club appear to be farm teams of the Hells Angels was dishonest and ill-informed.

It is dishonest alarmism to say the Hells Angels is a substantial threat to public safety and to suggest that the club singles out towns to dominate. It is even more irresponsible to claim the club would target local citizens to assault.

This kind of rhetoric only served to inflame local citizens, some of whom may now try to challenge or assault motorcyclists.

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Thomas V. Koehler

Two Harbors

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