Cops Nix Laughlin Booth of SOA/HA Coones
Wednesday, April 30, 2014
SOA actor, business owner, Attika 7 guitarist, and Hells Angels member Rusty Coones had his So Cal Clothing Line booth closed down by police at the 2014 Laughlin River Run.
I knew something was up the moment I saw them. It was hard to miss the Las Vegas policemen sitting atop their muscular horses above the Laughlin River Run crowd, their gazes focused intently on something in the distance. Following their stare, I noticed a larger contingency of police surrounding a vendor’s booth in the parking lot of the Pioneer Hotel. The first wave of police were talking to a big, burly blond guy, the group flanked by another row of patrolmen with more mounted police just behind them. Though no patches were visible, there was enough red and white hats and clothing around to realize the group being confronted by the police were Hells Angels. I didn’t know the gist of it at the time. All I knew was that the cops were out in force, the big, burly blond in the red and white was cooperative but agitated, and the group in question was bringing down an E-Z Up as I walked by.
Turns out it was the So Cal Clothing Line booth run by Rusty Coones, the giant of a man who plays Quinn on ‘Sons of Anarchy,’ operates a bike shop in Westminster called Illusion Motorsports, and is a leading member of the San Fernando Valley and Orange County Hells Angels chapters.
“Yes it’s true I was in Laughlin recently. I went there as a private citizen to help promote sales of my new so cal clothing line,” wrote Coones on his Twitter account.
Thanks to a story run by The Aging Rebel
, we now know that Coones’ booth, an apparel company called So Cal Clothing Line, apparently was set up next to a booth called Lucky 7 Motorsports run by Mike Sincox, who happens to be a Vagos member. The two clubs have clashed in the past, one of the most notable incidents happening in 2011 in Sparks, Nevada when a Vagos member reportedly gunned down the president of the San Jose Hells Angels chapter. Though The Aging Rebel account states that the two parties were operating amicably, the police deemed the proximity of the two factions a liability and the welcoming party I witnessed were the police arriving to shut them down. So both parties lost sales, they had to eat the money they put up for vendor space, and had to pack home boxes of unsold merchandise.
Ever since the Angels and Mongols brawled inside of Harrah’s during the 2002 Laughlin River Run and three club members were killed, the rally has been heavily patrolled by a tri-state contingency of policemen. A strict “No Colors” policy was enacted, the signs still flying outside of just about every casino. What has happened to the Mongols since then has been well documented. The feds launched “Operation Black Rain
” in 2008, rounded up dozens of Mongols on racketeering and other charges, and essentially stripped them of their patch. This has led to trademark lawsuits and a fight for the right of an organization to openly wear its colors. Questions of due process, rights to free speech and the Fourth Amendment have been invoked in defense.
What has happened to the Mongols has made other motorcycle clubs leery of suffering a similar fate. Other issues like motorcycle rider profiling, harassment of riders in groups of three or more, and rider conspicuity have crept into the consciousness of all motorcycle clubs, be it a 1%er organization or not. Their consternation was expressed at the recent Motorcycle Rider Unification Rally
held at California’s state capitol. So it’s not really surprising The Aging Rebel reported that the booth run by Coones' company and the one run by a Vagos member, who’s a legitimate businessman and family man, were getting along just fine. There’s larger issues at stake. Maybe that’s why Coones later Tweeted,
“If the m/c world is to survive the onslaught of legislation we face in this time and the future, coexistence is critical.”
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