01/30/2007

NYPD storm Hells Angels' club after woman is found beaten

By Luis Perez, Staff Writer
Newsday

A small army of machine gun-carrying police officers stormed the Manhattan clubhouse of the Hells Angels motorcycle club yesterday, hours after a severely injured woman was found lying outside, police and witnesses said.

Hours after the raid, five people were taken out of the club.

Although no one had been "officially charged," according to a police spokesman, one person was in custody.

The injured woman, identified by police as Roberta Shalady, 52, of Brooklyn, was found outside 77 E. Third St. in the East Village just before midnight Sunday, police said. She was in serious condition and not conscious at Bellevue Hospital Center, police said last night.

Police said they arrived at the motorcycle club after an anonymous 911 caller informed them of an assault. Hours later, officers stormed the small street and emerged outside the club with five people in handcuffs.

Chris Guzman, 18, who lives on East Third Street, said that at about 11:30 p.m. Sunday, "I saw the lady unconscious. She had a lump on her eye ... and bleeding externally through her mouth. " He said that he and another man then notified police.

At about 1 p.m. yesterday, police cordoned off East Third Street between First and Second avenues, the block where the Hells Angels club is located. Within hours, police snipers were stationed on nearby rooftops and helicopters circled overhead as police waited for a warrant to conduct a search of the club.

Officers climbed a fire escape on the facade of the building, and used black plastic garbage bags to cover up several surveillance cameras that the Angels have set up there.

At 5 p.m., a heavily armored police vehicle called a Bearcat rounded the corner of First Avenue and East Third Street and rolled slowly up to the club's storefront as a crowd of onlookers and media stood by. Helmeted officers wearing bulletproof vests and carrying machine guns walked alongside the armored vehicle.

At about 5:30 p.m., police came out of the club with five people who appeared to be in handcuffs and who were walked out to a police car.

Ron Kuby, a Manhattan attorney representing the Angels, said "the clients that I've spoken to were home inside their beds last night sleeping. "

"I was told they arrested one person and that they've charged that one person with assault, and that's all I know," Kuby said. "They won't tell me what they're looking for. "

Kuby said the NYPD reaction - "the helicopters, the SWAT teams, the boys and all the toys, the armored personnel carrier - I think it's all a little much. " He said the police were treating the area like "an Iraqi city under siege. "

Matthew Nestel and staff writer Bill Mason contributed to this story.

Copyright 2007 Newsday, Inc.

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