Hells Angel says people are rude to him
Spokesman tells court he feels 'fear and loathing' since group was ruled a criminal organization
Neal Hall, VANCOUVER SUN
Published: Tuesday, October 17, 2006
A high-profile member of the Vancouver Hells Angels says people have been rude to him and he has experienced "fear and loathing" from the public at supermarkets, restaurants and other places after an Ontario court ruling last year that found the Hells Angels is a criminal organization, a Vancouver judge was told Monday.
In an affidavit filed in B.C. Supreme Court, Rickey Ciarniello, 61, the president of the Vancouver chapter, who has been a member of the Hells Angels since 1983, says he has always proudly worn his Hells Angels insignia, known as colours, but since the Ontario ruling he has experienced "harassment, stigma and ostracism that membership would now seem to entail."
He was wearing a black jacket in court Monday that said in small letters on the front: Vancouver Hells Angels.
His affidavit, obtained by The Vancouver Sun, claims he is a law-abiding Hells Angels member who is "not responsible for the criminal acts that have, at times, been committed by some of its members."
His affidavit recalled that after the Ontario ruling, Ciarniello went to a restaurant called Joey Tomatoes wearing his colours and overheard a couple asking to be moved because they didn't want to sit next to a criminal.
"Following that I was quite uncomfortable and decided to leave the restaurant," said the affidavit.
"I have noticed a marked difference in the way that people respond to me when I am wearing my colours," Ciarniello said in his affidavit.
"The mood has gone from friendly and casual curiosity to fear, loathing and avoidance such that I am now made to feel uncomfortable wearing the HAMC [Hells Angels Motorcycle Club] insignia."
Since the Ontario judgment, his affidavit says, staff members at the local Safeway near his Port Coquitlam home -- where he has purchased groceries for 20 years -- are not as friendly as they used to be, and he's received similar treatment at a Shell gas station.
His affidavit also states that John Bryce, president of the East End chapter of the Hells Angels, was refused as a customer of the Bank of Nova Scotia, after two decades of business with it, after the Ontario ruling.
And Ciarniello says while he regularly spoke to the media on behalf of the Hells Angels in B.C. and nationally, he has generally refrained from speaking out to the same extent after the ruling because he is concerned that "I may be charged with participating in the activities of a criminal organization...."
He said the effect of the Ontario ruling "is to declare me a member of a criminal organization notwithstanding that I have never engaged in the promotion of criminal conduct."
His affidavit was filed as part of his constitutional challenge of all the sections of the Criminal Code making it illegal to participate, direct or instruct people for the benefit of a criminal organization.
He claims the Ontario Superior Court ruling in the case known as Lindsay and Bonner has caused a stigma to belonging to the Hells Angels in B.C., which infringes his section seven rights of life, liberty and security of email@example.com