Hells Angels hold annual 'Screwy ride' to honour slain East End biker

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Despite the recent murder of a senior Hells Angel and a record sentence for another longtime member, B.C.’s most notorious biker gang showed up in force Saturday for an annual ride to honour a slain comrade.

Close to 100 Hells Angels and associates met at the East End chapter’s clubhouse at 3598 East Georgia St. for the event in memory of Dave (Screwy) Swartz.

Swartz was a full-patch member of the East End chapter when he was gunned down in Surrey on April 6, 1988 by a friend after an all-night drinking party. The friend then killed himself with the same gun.

There was a heavy police presence around the clubhouse Saturday, starting early in the morning and lasting until the bikers left for the ride to a Burnaby cemetery about 2 p.m.

Vancouver Police watch over members of the Hells Angels during their ride from Oceanview Cemetery in Burnaby during their annual  Screwy Ride to honour the murdered friend Dave "Screwy" Schwartz in Vancouver, BC, April, 8, 2017.

Vancouver Police watch over members of the Hells Angels during their ride from Oceanview Cemetery in Burnaby during their annual Screwy Ride to honour the murdered friend Dave "Screwy" Schwartz in Vancouver, BC, April, 8, 2017. Photo by RICHARD LAM

Both Vancouver Police and members of the RCMP’s Outlaw Motorcycle Gang unit were on the scene — some in unmarked cars. Several officers snapped photos of the bikers as they arrived and parked outside the clubhouse.

The police then followed the parade of patches along Boundary to 49th until they turned into Burnaby and headed to the Ocean View Cemetery on Imperial Street. They returned to the clubhouse a short time later.

VPD Const. Jason Doucette said “police closely monitor gang functions to prevent criminal organizations such as the Hells Angels from disrupting the general public.”

“Other than a few driving behaviours that required enforcement, there were no major problems reported,” Doucette said.

Hells Angels spokesman Rick Ciarniello did not respond to a request for comment about the ride.

There have been several major events involving B.C. Hells Angels in recent months.

Prominent member Bob Green was shot to death in Langley in October after an all-night party. A member of the 856 gang turned himself into police the next day and was charged with murder. Jason Wallace remains in custody and is due back in Surrey provincial court Tuesday.

On March 8, a prospect for the Nanaimo Hells Angels, Michael Widner, was reported missing near Sooke, days before his body was found. He was also murdered. Last weekend bikers from across Canada rode in his honour on Vancouver Island.

On March 17, B.C. bikers celebrated the opening of a new chapter called Hardside — the 10th since the gang started in the province in 1983.

Then on March 31, David Giles, a 35-year member of the Hells Angels, was sentenced to 18 years in prison for leading a cocaine smuggling operation that was part of a police sting. It was the longest-ever sentence handed to a B.C. Hells Angel.

Giles, 66, is now believed to be on the outs with his club.

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Kim Bolan
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