Hells Angels member sues California city

Nov. 9, 2011 at 8:35 PM
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SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 9 (UPI) -- A Hells Angels member is suing the city of Livermore, Calif., saying his civil rights were violated when police falsely accused him of carrying a handgun.

Joel Silva of Sonoma County filed the $1 million lawsuit Friday in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, the Contra Costa Times in Walnut Creek reported Tuesday.

Silva said he was charged with carrying a handgun after a Sept. 5, 2008, incident in which a fellow motorcycle club member got into an altercation with an off-duty air marshal, court documents showed. The air marshal, Shawn Futrell, called police after he says he was forced off the road by Hells Angels member Michael Fenton, who was traveling with 11 other riders.

Silva, who was part of the group, said officers searched his motorcycle despite his objection. Police claim to have found a .38-caliber handgun and arrested Silva on suspicion of being an ex-felon in possession of a firearm.

He faced federal charges for possession of the handgun, but a judge suppressed the evidence, saying Silva was searched illegally, a violation of his Fourth Amendment rights.

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