Hells Angels: Patriots Point pulls plug on benefit due to sponsorship

MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) - The Charleston chapter of the Hells Angels is crying foul Thursday afternoon, claiming that Patriots Point pulled the plug on a benefit ride for veterans because the motorcycle club is a sponsor of the event.

But, Patriots Point officials say the issue is traffic control and not the Hells Angels involvement.

Mount Pleasant police are declining to work the event and that's why Patriots Point says they won't and can't allow the fundraiser to happen at the venue.

The event has apparently been in the works since January. The flier bills it as the first annual Patriots Point benefit ride scheduled for May 19 that starts on I-26 and ends at Patriots point.

About a thousand bikers are planning to pay $20 to see the Yorktown and bring awareness to a Charleston veterans memorial. The sponsors include the Charleston chapter of the Hells Angels and the Warhorse Brotherhood Motorcycle Club.

"My understanding is back when they approached us with this event there was going to be involvement of the local law enforcement agencies, particularly with traffic escort and functions like that," said Bob Howard, operations director for Patriots Point.

But, the Mount Pleasant Police Department decided not to participate. Major Stan Gragg said based on the information from Patriots Point, law enforcement cannot support the event.

"Consequently, we didn't feel it was an event that could really work on our property," Howard said.

A spokesman for the Hells Angels said the motorcycle club believes the fundraiser was canceled because they will be among the 1,000 bikers who were expected to come to the Yorktown and that officials feared there may be trouble.

"I don't believe that's true at all," Howard said."I think it's based on the logistics that potentially that many motorcycles coming into a very confined area without proper controls and escorts involved in the process."

But even though the event has been called off, that won't stop the bikers from coming. A Hells Angels spokesman said they plan to split up in groups and come a few at a time.

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