Woman beaten outside Hells Angels headquarters

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NEW YORK (AP) – The attorney for a member of the Hells Angels promised a federal lawsuit Tuesday against police over the biker’s alleged wrongful arrest after a woman was found unconscious outside the club’s Manhattan headquarters.

There was “absolutely no evidence” linking Richard West to the incident that left the Brooklyn woman in stable condition Tuesday at Bellevue Hospital, said Ronald Kuby, lawyer for the motorcycle club.

Kuby said West, who joined him at a news conference outside the Angels’ Lower East side headquarters, would sue the NYPD.

He says West was taken into custody hours after Roberta Shalady, 52, was found unconscious outside the building late Sunday with a head injury and bruising around the eyes.

Police said Tuesday that there were no immediate arrests in the case, but offered no response to the allegations by Kuby and West.

A department spokeswoman said it was possible that a response might be issued later.

Brendan Manning, a club member wearing his colors and his blonde hair past his shoulders, said no one in the Angels was involved in whatever happened to Shalady.

But police nevertheless used a helicopter, sharpshooters and officers in riot gear in what Kuby and Manning called an unnecessary overreaction.

“We don’t do stuff like that,” Manning said of the alleged assault. “We have too much respect for people. I don’t know what happened.”

The police returned to the club’s headquarters on Monday, carrying a search warrant, and seized a number of unspecified items from inside – along with its front door, bearing the Angels’ logo.

Kuby said police had also taken video footage from four security cameras in place outside the Angels’ hangout. The group’s roots in New York date back to 1969.

In 1999, the city agreed to pay $450,000 to seven club members and two of their girlfriends over a raid at the six-story headquarters. The Hells Angels sued over the 1998 raid, alleging the police had conducted an illegal search by going beyond the scope of their warrant.

Kuby identified West as the Angel taken into custody by police this week, and charged it was part of an ongoing pattern of harassment against the group.

“The Hells Angels Motorcycle Club is tired of being the NYPD’s piInata,” Kuby said. “They’re scary guys, and they want to live their lives their way, but they have rights.”

AP-ES-01-30-07 1853EST

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