Upland candidate Rudy Zuñiga says he quit the Vagos motorcycle gang, criticizes police chief

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Upland City Council candidate Rudy Zuñiga and his supporters are criticizing Police Chief Darren Goodman over comments he made about documents showing Zuñiga was once a member of the Vagos motorcycle gang.

“For Chief Goodman to assume that I’m a gang member when I’ve never spoke to you, you don’t know me, we never had any conversations,” Zuñiga told the council and Goodman Monday, Oct. 22, during the public comment portion of the regular council meeting. “I’m not what you think I am. I’m actually a really nice guy.”

During the meeting, Zuñiga said he was part of the gang in the past, but said his name should have fallen out of the state’s gang database after he hadn’t been active for more than five years.

Monday night was the first time Zuñiga publicly admitted any affiliation with the Vagos motorcycle club. Earlier this month, he twice declined to discuss questions about the group when reached by a reporter. In a brief Oct. 9 telephone conversation, he said he was not affiliated with a gang.

“I have not committed any crimes. I am not in a gang. I am not in a motorcycle club. I don’t know what to tell you,” Zuñiga said before hanging up.

What Goodman said

According to an Upland field interview report, obtained through the California Public Records Act, during a traffic stop on March 5, 2011, Zuñiga was wearing Vagos gang attire and his motorcycle featured Vagos decorations. He told an Upland police officer he was a member of the Vagos, but that it was “nothing more than a ‘family group,’” the field report said.

Goodman says the Vagos – who have a “Badlands” chapter based in Upland, according to their website – are much more than that.

Vagos are an outlaw motorcycle gang that refer to themselves as a ‘club,’” Goodman said in an earlier interview. “By definition, they’re a criminal street gang as defined under Penal Code 186.22. Its members go through a prospecting stage where they’re required to commit crimes at the direction of existing members.”

Court records do not show Zuñiga has been convicted of any felonies.

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