Motorcycle club sues Kennewick

Kristi Pihl, Tri-City HeraldJune 6, 2014 

Kennewick is being sued by a Tacoma motorcyclist and a motorcycle club for allegedly violating the state Public Records Act.

Edward Gohering and Washington Confederation of Clubs and claim the city didn't provide them with the photos and videos that Kennewick police took when they cited motorcyclists in separate incidents.

Gohering was one of eight motorcyclists stopped by Kennewick police and Benton County sheriff's deputies in August 2012 and cited for traffic violations.

And in April 2013 the Washington Confederation of Clubs held a gathering in Kennewick and some of their motorcyclists also were stopped and cited for traffic infractions.

In both cases, police took videos and photos of motorcyclists.

City officials said in Benton County Superior Court documents that they had received reports of several Bandido gang members headed into the Kennewick area in August 2012.

Kennewick police officers stopped eight people on six motorcycles, claiming they violated traffic laws by not stopping at a marked intersection.

Gohering said photos and videos were taken of them, including having some of the women passengers remove pieces of clothing so photos of tattoos could be taken.

City officials said officers were gathering potential gang information, including videos and photographs, unrelated to the citations. The motorcyclists only were asked to remove their helmets so their faces could be seen, not any clothing, said officials.

Gohering asked for the names and badge numbers of officers, all photos, videos and written or recorded statements and reports. He also asked for copies of educational materials used by the police department and dates and times training was provided.

He claims the city failed to properly respond to his records request. The city withheld some documents and said it didn't have others, said Gohering's attorney.

During the motorcycle club's visit, Kennewick police stopped motorcyclists for traffic infractions and similarly gathered potential gang intelligence including photos and videos, city officials said in court documents.

The Washington Confederation of Club said it asked for copies of the videos and photos, all reports and communication about them and the citations.

The club also asked for a list of all the police officers on duty and all police officers who were near Cascade Street and Kennewick Avenue between specific hours that day.

City officials deny claims that videos, photos and documents have been improperly withheld. The city provided some records, withheld some and said others did not exist, according to court documents.

-- Kristi Pihl: 509-582-1512; kpihl@tricityherald.com

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