The U.S. Capitol Police suspended two officers on the eve of President Obama’s inaguration for associating with bikers “whose racial views and capacity for violence were under scrutiny,” the Washington Post reports. An offcial told the Post that the action was taken as soon as officials received a file from the FBI on the issue and was not precipitated by then-Homeland Security Secretary Chertoff. The Secret Service had told Chertoff about the officers; he reportedly was prepared to take the issue up with members of Congress overseeing inauguration preparations.
The officers had a long association with a southern Maryland motorcycle club, the Tribes, which the Post describes as a “rough-hewn band of bike enthusiasts founded more than 30 years ago by corrections officers and other law enforcement officials.” In 2004, a former member pleaded guilty to gun and drug charges after an undercover investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Said one official: “We were well aware of what some of the accusations were — some of which may have been repugnant, their associations with these guys — but none of it was criminal or actionable from an administrative” perspective. Terry Katz, a longtime investigator of motorcycle gangs for the Maryland State Police, said, “the question would be whether you can be a biker by night and a cop by day.”