Every time the Hells Angels gather for their group rides in the spring and summer, police agencies in the Lower Mainland tend to keep a close eye.
The media in the communities where the Angels and affiliated motorcycle clubs are located also tend to pay attention.
The first ride of the season is the “Screwy Ride” on April 8 in honor of the Angels who were slain 35 years ago.
As usual, there was a heavy police presence, as did Postmedia News Group photojournalist Jason Payne, and cyclists arrived and gathered at Seaview Cemetery in Burnaby to pay their respects.
But a photo Payne submitted for this story was posted on province The website caught the attention of some Chilliwack citizens and school board staff.
The photo shows two Hells Angels smiling and embracing, their patches visible on the back of their vests, and a man smiling facing them, with the end of the word “veteran” visible on the vest.
That person was Wayne Williams, Chilliwack School District Transportation Manager.
(for copyright reasons schedule Unable to share photo. )
Someone posted a link to the story on a local Facebook group and asked, “Recognize Wayne Williams from SD#33?”
Almost all subsequent comments defended Williams, saying what he did in his private life had nothing to do with anyone.
“Take this post down,” one person wrote. “Wayne was not only a hero, but one of the nicest people I’ve ever known.”
But people who saw the post contacted schedule Asking why a senior school district employee hung out with an illegal motorcycle club linked to drug trafficking, violence, and prostitution.
“He’s the facilities and transportation manager for the Chilliwack School District and he’s openly pro-Hell (Angels),” said one commenter on Facebook. “Chilliwack needs to know.”
schedule Williams was contacted, and Williams said, yes, that’s him in the photo. He said he rides with the Commando Motorcycle Club, which, according to their website, is made up of “active and retired members of the Canadian Armed Forces and allied forces.”
Williams explained that their clubs are non-territorial and they respect all clubs and their colour. He said it was created because veterans would have a hard time leaving a military fraternity.
“We help people with PTSD and people who are struggling,” he said. “We respect and remember the sacrifices made by our veterans. We welcome friendships with like-minded clubs. If we are respected, we want to return that respect.”
Asked if he understood why some parents of school children might be concerned to hear a senior school district worker hanging around the Hells Angels.
“Of course,” he said. “I mean, that’s not the intention. We’re all veterans, we only respect like-minded clubs.”
He said he could not say whether he thought the Hells Angels were a criminal organization or whether they had been unfairly labeled.
Police, government officials and experts often refer to the Hells Angels as a criminal organization, and while judges in Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec have declared them so, no court in British Columbia has Listing the Hells Angels as a criminal organization stuck.
Williams was also asked if he was friends with any Hells Angels.
“I know guys from multiple clubs. We respect them and they respect us a lot. They do respect us for serving our country.”
Williams said the district’s core values were so important to him that he decided to leave Raiders.
“I need to respect the core values of the school district, and if it conflicts with it, then I will respect it.
“I have nothing to hide. That’s why I don’t think much about it. I’m just a veteran who likes to support our own veterans, and I just try to respect anyone. I try to be good and have a good character.”
Asked Monday morning if Williams had been asked to leave his motorcycle club because of the photo, Superintendent Rohan Arul-Pragasm said he did speak to Williams about it.
Arul-Pragasm said he discussed with Williams the district’s core values outlined in the policy.
“Wayne has decided to leave (the club) because the club rides with various motorcycle clubs around the country and he wants to make sure he emulates the regional values no matter what recreational activities he’s at on the weekends.
“I’m still reviewing events at the district level.”
Do you have anything to add to this story, or something we should report? e-mail:
like us Facebook and follow us Twitter.
Chilliwack Chilliwack School District Hell’s Angels Motorcycles