STATE TROOPER DISCHARGED !After 5-6 long years of investigations and hearings, on Monday, July 9, 2007, the Massachusetts State Police "dishonorably discharged" Trooper (former Sgt.) Jack Garvin. We have a copy of the discharge memo which has been verified by the State Police Public Information Sgt. "We are grateful the State Police investigated and took this action," said Kevin Griffin, Chairman of the Massachusetts Motorcycle Association (MMA).
Motorcycle leaders began to receive complaints in year 2000 about (then) Sgt. Galvin, who had been assigned to the South Boston barracks and lived in Plymouth County, chasing down riders, issuing citations for alleged improper headgear, taking the helmets leaving the riders stranded, towing their bikes, and making inappropriate sexual comments to female riders.
As a result of the numerous complaints, motorcycle leaders formed a "Riders for Justice Committee," compromised of Griffin, Jimi Ricci (then Chairman of the MMA), Bobby Watkins, Jason Schuller, Georgia Sophis, Doug Hadley, Paul W. Cote, and Bill Gannon, who developed a "helmet defense kit" with MMA General Counsel Joseph Provanzano contesting some (and winning) citations issued. The Committee Members also counseled offending riders on the "complaint process," requesting State Police Internal Affairs investigate Garvin's conduct with 'citizen-bikers.'
Larry of BostonBiker.com helped bring notice to the riding community the existence of this Committee ready to help riders wronged, and was a clearing house connecting riders with Committee Members and publicizing the victory in numerous Courts throughout Massachusetts.
(Historical background) - At some point, a "Riders for Justice" group from Colorado contacted the Massachusetts Committee, and requested their name not be used. Out of respect, the Riders for Justice Committee honored their request, and ABATE of Massachusetts was started, and continued to focus on the helmet harassment issue while the MMA stayed with that issue but expanded into other areas affecting riders. Later, ABATE of MA members were absorbed into the MMA and the ABATE of MA Political Action Committee (PAC) was started.
Jointly, and as a direct result of riders complaints about Garvin and a few other Troopers' conduct, a "Directive" was issued by the then State Police Commander informing Troopers helmets were not to be confiscated at traffic stops. Meanwhile, internal affairs continued to investigate the actions of Sgt. Garvin. At some point he was demoted to "Trooper." We do not know if other nonriders were complaining about his conduct or not. But we know of several 'rider complaints' that were under investigation up through June 2007. Its taken a long time," said Griffin, . . . "but the actions taken by the State Police this week in discharging this rouge Trooper show the system works when we work the system."
Cote, who continues to assist assisted riders claimed, "We live in a country where we as adults allow other adults to police us. We have great respect for the work 99% of the police do. But when a line is crossed by a member of the law enforcement community, our only recourse is to use systems in place to redress them." He continued, " This trooper crossed the line, too many times with too many citizens. And now any authority we allowed him to have has been rightfully removed. I applaud and thank all the internal affairs and commanding officers for taking rider complaints seriously and this final and rightful action against Mr. Garvin."
Georgia, Bobbie Watkins and Jason S., have since moved out of State. Doug H., is in parts unknown. Bill Gannon will write his own comments, as he guided us through the initial process of encouraging the filing of complaints. Keep in mind, . . . law enforcement can write tickets and you can contest them in Court. But the Commanders and most Police Chiefs expect their members to act professional at traffic stops and keep their own opinions and editorial comments to themselves - which 99% of law enforcement does.
The system worked !
NOTE: And why is this news for Florida Riders? A few posts back you will see that it would "appear" that "bikers" are getting harassed in Fremont, Calif (complaints to be filed). We have heard through the "grapevine" of a "sting" being set of to stop all bikes heating to STURGIS on I-90 through MN. I believe as Rouge states, "Similar things like this go on all the time." As we are learning re: Fremont and I suspect in other places, all to often the Biker just pays the ticket and goes on. After all it is been made awfully expensive, time consuming and difficult to fight for YOUR rights (note above, it took as long as 6 years and an organized effort to get "one bad apple".
I have always had problems with the constitutionality of "stings" , "profiling" and what can be considered "reasonable cause". Hell if I have to go west I avoid Texas after two occasions of profiling (one of which involved a lonely desert and two cops with guns, not fun). I even consulted an attorney re: two stops in Florida who agreed, "you were profiled". His advice back then. Don't try and do anything about it or it will get worse.
I do believe that at least among cops, I suspect because more of them are now riding, that the situation is improving and would be remiss if I did not mention the Fl. State Trooper that was good to his word. My hope is that they to will maintain vigilance against the "one" who might give them all a bad name.
However "ALL" of us must be "ever vigilant" wherever we reside, "Biker" or not, Police Officer, legislator or Joe Citizen. Turning ones head to look the other way when any individuals rights are infringed on only guarantee's that YOU will be next.
Take no abuse of infringement of your (or any others) right to be treated with Human dignity and respect and RIDE FREE!!!!!...........rc