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Tue, Aug. 20

Lack of permit, insurance sparked Run for the Wall trouble

Some participants in Run for the Wall, an annual motorcycle ride from California to Washington, D.C., in support of veterans, claim the Kingman Police Department disrespected them when they came through Kingman May 18. Deputy Police Chief Rusty Cooper said the department didn’t allow the group to conduct its own traffic control because it lacked the proper permits and insurance. (AARON RICCA/Miner)

Some participants in Run for the Wall, an annual motorcycle ride from California to Washington, D.C., in support of veterans, claim the Kingman Police Department disrespected them when they came through Kingman May 18. Deputy Police Chief Rusty Cooper said the department didn’t allow the group to conduct its own traffic control because it lacked the proper permits and insurance. (AARON RICCA/Miner)

KINGMAN - It wasn't a lack of support that kept Kingman Police from playing escort and traffic controller to hundreds of motorcyclists that rode through town May 18 as part of the nationwide veterans event known as Run for the Wall. It was a lack of proper permits and insurance, according to Deputy Police Chief Rusty Cooper.

Cooper on Thursday responded to a pair of letters to the editor that were highly critical of the Kingman Police Department's actions during the event.

"We did have conversations with their liaison officer," said Cooper. "I'm not going to second guess what the letter writers said, but it came down to no proper permit or insurance. That put the liability on the city."

Cooper also disputes allegations that KPD officers threatened participants with jail if they attempted to direct traffic - stopping citizens who have green lights to allow the motorcyclists to drive through unimpeded.

"We did caution the liaisons that we didn't want them directing traffic. We told them they would be ticketed, not jailed, and that they had to follow the same traffic laws as everyone else."

Cooper said he personally supports Run for the Wall. "They're a good group and they do good things, but they're still expected to obey the law. If they come next year and have the proper permits and the required insurance, we will help, but this year, the decision was made not to and we stand by that decision. I can say we never threatened anyone with arrest."

The letters, one that was penned by a state of Washington resident and the other by a Texan, accused the KPD of treating the group with threats and disrespect.

Both writers allege the KPD threatened participants with jail if they attempted to direct traffic when hundreds of motorcyclists came through the city on the first day of the 10-day ride, which concludes today.

The ride began in 1989. It features hundreds if not thousands of motorcyclists who ride from California to Washington, D.C., and the Vietnam War Memorial. The goal is to promote healing among all veterans and their families and to honor the memory of those killed or missing in action.

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