BYFIELD — A notorious biker gang with chapters across the country and the world has decided to open its newest clubhouse here — in a Byfield strip mall.
Newbury police Chief Michael Riley confirmed yesterday that members of the Red Devils Motorcycle Club have picked a location inside Pearson Plaza located right off Interstate 95.
"We're aware of the situation, and we're monitoring it," Riley said.
The Red Devils are well represented regionally with chapters in Essex County/Cape Ann and Middlesex County, according to a Red Devils website. The Cape Ann chapter celebrated its first anniversary on Saturday at the Salem Moose Lodge in Salem. According to several websites, the Red Devils are known as a feeder or support group to the Hells Angels, arguably the most well-known outlaw motorcycle club in the country.
Earlier this month, a Red Devils member was arrested after getting into a verbal confrontation with a Beverly police officer working a detail. According to Beverly police, the officer had ordered traffic to stop to let traffic coming the other way pass.
Police said Miles Hale, 46, of Beverly went around a line of stopped cars and knocked over several traffic cones. The officer ordered Hale to stop. Hale did so but then made it clear he was thinking about fleeing the scene. The officer then subdued Hale and found a folding knife and a bag of marijuana.
Hale was charged on Nov. 5 with threatening a police officer, threats to commit a crime, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, failing to stop for police, failure to use caution while driving, violating the city's knife ordinance and also a civil citation for possession of marijuana.
Riley said police couldn't stop the Red Devils from opening a clubhouse in Byfield.
"They're American citizens. They have a right to assemble," Riley said. "As long as they're not breaking any laws and not causing any problems in the neighborhood, there's really nothing we can do about it."