Members of the Black Riders Liberation Party, self-described as the Black Panthers for the modern era, say their Watts headquarters was raided by authorities today in retaliation for the group's participation in Tuesday's raucous May Day rallies in L.A.
A spokesman for the state parole agency says phooey — it was just a routine check-up on a parolee who happens to be a leader of the Black Riders.
His name is …
… General T.A.C.O. (for Taking All Capitalists Out), born as Mischa Culton.
A Black Riders rep told the Weekly that authorities came knocking about 9 a.m:
They raided the base of General T.A.C.O.'s headquarters and 113th and Wilmington. Nobody was arrested. There was nothing in the house that was under the guise of a violation for the General. The main reason they did raid was the events we've been holding — the 20th anniversary of the Watts gang truce and the the May 1 general strike we took part in.
An Occupy L.A. participant with knowledge of the situation told us this:
The riders claim they're trumping up charges against them, classifying them as a gang to get rid of them. They're the anti-gang. They're trying to unite the gangs and trying to get them to stop shooting each other. They're to unite the hoods.
However, Luis Patino, spokesman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, practically laughed off the allegations:
Parolees from time to time get visits from their parole agents called compliance checks. These are very routine. They're not raids. No one was arrested. If we did not do the compliance checks, we would not be doing our job.
As you can see in the video, above, the General has been visited by the law previously, and the Black Riders made similar allegations then. The Black Rider rep told us that he was on parole for a crime related to possessing an illegal weapon.
“We have the right to bear arms,” she said.
[Added at 4:55 p.m.]: His record indicates that the General is on parole for possession of a machine gun after having been sentenced to 8 years behind bars in the early 1990s for assault with a firearm.