Police hit Hells Angels H.Q. for sidewalk violations after shooting


BY LINCOLN ANDERSON | Updated Wed., Dec. 14, 11 p.m.: Following a shooting outside the Hells Angels’ East Village clubhouse early Sunday morning that left a man wounded, police on Tuesday afternoon gave the biker gang a little hell back in return. Cops sent a message about who controls the street by swooping in and taking some items of the Hells Angels’ property from the sidewalk in front of the place.

Shortly before 1 p.m., police vans closed off E. Third St. between Second and First Aves. Led by Captain Vincent Greany, the Ninth Precinct’s commanding officer, about 30 to 40 cops participated in the operation. There included officers from the Ninth Precinct and Emergency Service Unit, as well as a member of the department’s legal division and also members of TARU (Technical Assistance Response Unit).

They removed two potted plants on either side of the clubhouse’s door, as well as a bench, plus used a circular saw to slice off a small ramp that led to the building’s easternmost door. All of this material was carted off in a Department of Sanitation flatbed truck.

“We just cleaned up the front a little bit,” Greany said. “We issued an Environmental Control Board summons.”

Asked if police had a warrant for the action, the captain said no, and noted that they didn’t go inside the building. They did knock on the door, he said, but no one answered.

So, police left the E.C.B. summons in a manila envelope taped to the front door.

Captain Vincent Greany, third from right, facing camera, led Tuesday’s enforcement action outside the Hells Angels E. Third St. clubhouse. Photos by Lincoln Anderson

After the police left, however, a group of three people exited the six-story building and quickly walked off single file going westbound. They included two men — relatively small and unburly looking — wearing backpacks and hooded winter coats (without the Hells Angels name, known as the gang’s “colors,” on the back) and a woman. A bit later, another woman exited the building, puffing on a cigarette, dark-haired, wearing large black sunglasses, jeans and a black jacket, and walked off toward the east.

At one point during the police action, someone inside the tenement had briefly pulled back a shade in a second-floor window and looked outside. A witness who saw this said he wasn’t sure if it had been a man or a woman.

Summonses were also issued for three of the Hells Angels’ motorcycles that were parked outside on the street under covers. It’s illegal to cover a license plate, Greany noted.

Police left an E.C.B. summons for the sidewalk violations taped to the middle of the front door after no one answered when they knocked. But several people exited the building shortly after the police left. An official-looking sign to the left of the door warns that the parking in front and directly across the street is only for “authorized Hells Angels”

According to radical attorney Ron Kuby, who has represented the Hells Angels in past cases, police the day before had removed the orange cones that the biker gang uses to claim several parking spots on both sides of the street around its clubhouse. There were no cones visible on Tuesday.

“How many police does it take to capture cones?” he asked sarcastically.

The fight Sunday was sparked when a group of five friends in a white Mercedes-Benz reportedly moved one of the cones so that they could get around a livery cab parked outside the Hells Angels’ H.Q.

Hells Angels poured out of the clubhouse and a melee subsequently ensued. One of the men in the car reportedly grabbed a chain out of its trunk and started swinging it around.

One of the non-Hells Angels, David Martinez, 25, got the best of one of the bikers, knocking him to the ground, and then was going to give him another kick. But the downed man — possibly a “prospective” gang member, according to the Daily News — whipped out a gun and shot Martinez once in the chest. The wounded man was recovering at Bellevue Hospital.

Police are said to be testing Martinez’s boot for DNA to try to identify the gunman.

Meanwhile, Kuby scoffed at Tuesday’s police action.

“They took away two beautiful conifers — little Christmas trees — because, what, they don’t have a permit for a potted plant?” he asked. “Look, the N.Y.P.D. is obviously upset about the shooting. They expect cooperation from an organization that does not ask things from or give things to the police.

“I mean, the last time a Hells Angel asked for something from the police was when a Hells Angel gave something to police — which is never,” Kuby stated.

“To paraphrase Bob Dylan, ‘The Hells Angels don’t need you. And man they expect the same.’ That’s from ‘Just Like Tom Thumb Blues.’”

These two motorcycles were O.K., as far as police were concerned. But three others that were under tarps were slapped with summonses for having their license plates covered.

Kuby said he had not yet talked to anyone from the Hells Angels about the shooting. He said all he knows about what allegedly happened is what he has read in the daily tabloids.

“I wasn’t there,” he said. “I haven’t spoken to any witnesses. I don’t know what guy did what. Nobody’s contacted me regarding representation.”

The attorney has previously repped the Hells Angels in civil cases against the city, such as when police executed warrants to search the clubhouse but exceeded the scope of what they were allowed to do, or made “false arrests,” he said.

He has also represented members of the biker gang when they faced criminal charges, including in 2007 when one of the bikers was accused of punching out a drunk woman in front of the place. The biker’s defense was that he had merely forcefully opened the door, which slammed into the woman, knocking her out cold.

Kuby said the police response to the shooting is not an evolving case, but actually “a devolving case.” Cops removing the potted plants was uncalled for, he shrugged.

“Neighbors didn’t complain about the trees,” he said.