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BIKER NEWS: Idaho motorcycle group wins lawsuit against feds

BIKER NEWS -- BOISE, Idaho -- A local motorcycle group has won a lawsuit against the federal government. In August of 2013, fede...



BIKER NEWS -- BOISE, Idaho -- A local motorcycle group has won a lawsuit against the federal government.

In August of 2013, federal agents raided the Brother Speed clubhouse in Nampa.

But a judge has ruled that the raid violated the members' civil rights.

Brother Speed's attorney says on the night of August 28th, federal agents used excessive force while looking for evidence of criminal activity.

He says not only did the raid find no proof of drug trafficking or any other crime ring, it also overstepped the members' rights.

"This was probably one of the most excessive types of raids you'll see under the law it's almost militaristic in a way," said attorney Craig Durham.

Durham says the federal search warrant during a Brother Speed meeting in 2013 was uncalled for and unfounded.

"Next thing you knew there were percussion grenades that case through the window, smoke filled the house, door was busted down and there were up to two dozen officers who came into the house, got everybody on the ground," said Durham.

Durham says 12 members of the motorcycle club were detained for several hours, property was taken by agents, and one person was hurt.

Durham says agents were after Timothy Butterbaugh, who had a friend in Brother Speed. But, he was not there that night, and even though he was arrested at another location for meth, they found no link between the group and Butterbaugh's crimes.

"It's our opinion that law enforcement has absolutely no evidence that brother speed is an outlaw motorcycle gang or a criminal organization," said Durham.

In the days that followed, law enforcement told KTVB that Brother Speed was an outlaw gang.

"Outlaw motorcycle clubs, or gangs like brother speed, are going to commit criminal acts," a law enforcement official told KTVB in 2013.

That perception caused the group to file a lawsuit against the federal government, and Thursday a judgment was signed in favor of Brother Speed.

"When they heard that in the media and that they were being typecast as this outlaw motorcycle gang, obviously that affected them and how people would view them in the community and they wanted to correct that injustice," said Durham.

The federal government did not admit any wrongdoing in the judgment, but the group and its members were awarded $16,500.

Durham says it's a rare case but one he hopes sends a clear message about civil rights.

"I haven't seen it often, particularly when you're suing the U.S. or federal agents," he said.

We did receive this statement from U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olsen:

"The United States also did not admit fault, did not admit liability, and did not admit that any of the plaintiffs had suffered any damages as a part of this resolution. Often times in defending the United States in civil litigation, the Department of Justice will seek to resolve for nominal amounts rather than continue to spend litigative resources."

This article was first published on November 14, 2015
Get a copy of krem.com or go to www.krem.com for more stories.

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