Legal fight ends --#x00A0;pain; lingers
Judge dismisses lawsuit in connection with parking lot brawl
By Janice Gregorson
The aging bikers, with names like Raider, Dog, Moonshine and Hipshooter, spread throughout the courtroom.
Some pulled their long grey hair into ponytails, others sported flowing Santa-type beards. They wore earrings and hearing aids.
Bikers. Veterans. Grandfathers.
In the rear, armed sheriff deputies stood guard, ready to quell any disturbance.
But all was calm Tuesday as Judge Jodi Williamson listened to testimony in a civil suit stemming from a violent fight that erupted in the parking lot of Apache Mall nearly five years ago between some 30 members of two veteran-based motorcycle groups.
Shortly before noon, Williamson granted defense motions to dismiss the civil suit brought by David and Diana Kisor of Mapleton, Minn., saying they had failed to prove their claims.
At the same time, she told the Kisors, who represented themselves at the court trial, that she recognized their pain.
"I can tell this has been horrible for you," she said.
Diana Kisor, crying, said it has changed their lives forever.
"We have lost our friends, our safety and our security," she said, noting that her husband no longer leaves their rural property for fear of retaliation.
The Kisors alleged that he was physically assaulted by members of the Chapter C Minnesota Vietnam Veterans Motorcycle Club. Kisor and eight other members of In-Country Motorcycle Club had come to Rochester to participate in a Freedom Run the morning of May 21, 2000. A defense attorney suggested Kisor initiated the fight.
A fight erupted in the parking lot at Apache Mall.
Kisor said he suffered a hip injury. He was taken to Saint Marys Hospital by ambulance. Weeks later, he underwent hip surgery.
Rochester police, the Minnesota Gang Strike Force and even the FBI were involved in investigating the fight. No criminal charges were filed. Olmsted County Attorney Ray Schmitz said there were several inconsistencies in witness statements and, ultimately, many witnesses refused to cooperate in the prosecution. He said there was simply insufficient evidence to prove charges beyond a reasonable doubt.
Kisor testified Tuesday that his own club members refused to support him in pressing charges. Rather, he said, they wanted to handle it in a "motorcycle" way.
"That would be war,'' he said, matter-of-factly.