Security Increased for North Valley Biker Rally

July 11, 2008 2:05:21 PM PDT
Merced County Sheriff's deputies, Los Banos police, and Highway Patrol officers will be enforcing a zero tolerance policy at the biker rally that starts tomorrow in Los Banos. They say recent clashes between two motorcycle gangs have given them a reason to be concerned.Cell phone video captured the chaos at Los Banos Park when a fight broke out between two rival biker gangs last month. Shots were fired and one person was stabbed before police and sheriff's deputies were able to stop the melee.

Deputy Rick Shukri/Merced County Gang Task Force: "It lasted a good hour, two hours during the investigation. And of course, they're always uncooperative with law enforcement. They dislike law enforcement. They have their own agenda and their own rules and that's what they abide by."

Authorities believe the attack was in retaliation for a fistfight at the Los Banos Fairgrounds two months earlier. Now officers want to make sure there won't be more trouble at the biker rally that's being held there this weekend.

Cmdr. Gary Brizzee/Los Banos Police Dept.: "We believe tensions are higher among the two groups and their affiliates and we believe there may be issues or problems at the upcoming event."

That's why several different agencies are teaming up to crack down on anyone who breaks the law.

Mark Pazin/Merced Co. Sheriff: "The bottom line is we're not going put up with any nonsense from these outlaw motorcycle gangs."

Organizers and vendors for the 2nd annual event say they welcome the extra law enforcement presence.

David Dovidio/Vendor: "Personally I think it's a good thing because we want the people in the local community to come out to the show. If they're afraid, they're not gonna come."

And other bikers say they don't want two criminal groups ruining their reputation or the rally.

Paul Dunn/Biker: "Most of the people that ride, they're not going to do anything wrong, they're going to enjoy themselves, ride with a bunch of people, so it's all good."

Vendors are expecting as many as two thousand bikers in Los Banos this weekend, partly because there's another large rally less than an hour away in Hollister this weekend.

Local authorities say they're ready for the rush and will be looking for everything from weapons to vehicle violations.
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