Slog.thestranger.com by JONAH SPANGENTHAL-LEE - AUGUST 28, 2008
A South Dakota Grand Jury has charged Seattle Police detective Ron Smith and four other members of the Iron Pigs Motorcycle Club—a biker gang made up of law enforcement officers and firefighters—for their involvement in an August 8th shooting at a Loud American Roadhouse bar in Sturgis, South Dakota. Smith and four other officers—one from Colorado and two others from Washington—were on vacation in Sturgis for an annual biker rally when a fight broke out at the Loud American Roadhouse. Smith claims he was attacked by a Hell’s Angel and fired his weapon in self defense. Smith is a high-ranking member of the Seattle Police Officers Guild and the editor of the guild’s monthly paper, The Guardian. Some of Smith’s rants have been featured here on Slog. The Grand Jury has asked that Smith be charged for aggravated assault or simple assault, perjury and for carrying a concealed weapon without a permit. The four other Iron Pigs members—Scott Lazalde, James Rector, Erik Pingel and Dennis McCoy—are also being charged with carrying unpermitted weapons. Joseph McGuire, the Hell’s Angel who was shot, has also been charged with Assault.
If convicted of aggravated assault, Smith could face up to 15 years in jail and a $30,000 fine. A Perjury conviction would add another five years while the unpermitted weapon charge has a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a two-thousand dollar fine. This morning, the Seattle Police Department issued a brief statement: Upon the Department’s notification of the incident in Sturgis, South Dakota, all SPD personnel involved were placed on administrative leave. As the Department continues to gather and receive information, the officers will remain on administrative leave. Seattle Police Officers Guild would not comment on the charges.