Seattle officer's perjury charge in Hells Angel shooting is dismissed
Perjury charges have been dismissed against a Seattle police detective who shot a member of the Hells Angels motorcycle club while off duty last month during the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota.
Seattle Times staff reporter
A perjury charge has been dismissed against a Seattle police detective who shot a member of the Hells Angels motorcycle club last month during the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota.
Ron Smith was charged with aggravated assault and perjury after a two-day grand jury hearing in August by the Meade County, S.D., Circuit Court. He was also charged with a misdemeanor count of carrying a concealed weapon without a permit.
Smith says he shot Hells Angel Joseph McGuire in self-defense on Aug. 9 during a bar fight in Sturgis.
Smith claimed he used his personal firearm, but South Dakota authorities said records obtained from the Seattle Police Department revealed that the gun had been issued by the department. That led to the charge of perjury.
However, Seattle police later discovered that the gun Smith used was not a department-issued gun, but was one purchased by Smith from the Seattle Police Athletic Association in 1996.
Meade County State's Attorney Jesse Sondreal said the perjury charge was dismissed "because it was now patently obvious that the charge has no basis in fact."
Smith said Friday that he was pleased the perjury charge had been dismissed, but declined to comment further.
Smith told The Times last month that he shot McGuire on Aug. 9 after McGuire and a group of bikers jumped him inside the Loud American Roadhouse.
An aggravated-assault charge was filed against McGuire, 33, of Imperial Beach, Calif.
If Smith and McGuire are convicted of aggravated assault, they each face up to 15 years in prison.
Smith had traveled to the rally with fellow members of the Iron Pigs, a motorcycle club made up of police officers and firefighters. Smith said he helped establish the Seattle chapter of the Iron Pigs in 2001 as a "fraternal organization for officers."
Smith, who has been placed on administrative leave, admits that he had been drinking on the night of the shooting but said he wasn't drunk.
In an earlier interview, Smith said he may have been targeted by the motorcycle gang. He testified in a high-profile federal racketeering and murder trial last year that sent several former and current members of the Hells Angels to prison.
All four defendants in the case went to prison for terms ranging from seven years to life without parole for convictions on conspiracy and racketeering charges.
Court records and police testimony show that the detective has clashed with another Hells Angel.
Authorities filed charges in 2005 alleging that Anthony James Magnesi, a member of the Washington Nomads chapter of the Hells Angels, had threatened Smith over the phone.
Magnesi, in turn, recorded one of their phone conversations and gave it to the police department's Office of Professional Accountability (OPA), claiming it was Smith who had threatened him.
An internal investigation was opened, and the incident was referred to Smith's supervisor as a training issue, according to OPA officials.
The misdemeanor criminal charges filed against Magnesi were dismissed.
Susan Gilmore: 206-464-2054 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Information from Seattle Times archives and staff reporter Jennifer Sullivan is included in this report.
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
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