Posted by: kevinfortruth | April 21, 2012

Patriot Guard Riders of New England – Ryan O’Laughlin needs your help.

A little timeline here might help, followed by information about the Patriot Guard Riders and how they might be able help expand the awareness that is needed to have federal authorities look into the circumstances surrounding Ryan’s tragic untimely death.

The Timeline;

Some of you reading this blog were not even born when the first Gulf War took place.  Anyone desiring to read about the war itself can do a Wikipedia search or even Google to find out about the war.

The war itself ran from 1/16/1991 to 2/27/1991 – lasting exactly 43 days.  The war took place roughly 14 years before the Patriot Guard Riders organization was formed.

The war was so short and has so few causalities that when people try to list wars in sequence from the 1st world war, they usually skip the first Gulf War – not out of disrespect but because it started and ended so quickly.

Many people who read Ryan’s Obituary might have raised an eyebrow when they read that Ryan served in the Navy in the First Gulf War.  What war?  I am sure some think it was a misprint.

The war itself started and ended so quickly, I am sure the majority of the troops in the war never received any care packages packed with chocolate chip cookies or even Hostess Twinkies that never go bad or can never get crushed.

The second Gulf War was much different – it went on and on for almost forever and there were significantly more injuries and deaths and as a result there were some organizations, like Westboro Baptist Church out of Topeka, Kansas that gained notoriety by protesting at funerals of American  military.

Ironically, when I was serving in the Air Force I was stationed at Forbes AFB in Topeka, Kansas and I am not sure if Westboro was even a church at the time.  Either way, Westboro did not rear its collective ugly head until the 2nd Gulf War.

For some reason, Westboro decided to protest the war and they chose to attend and protest at many funerals of fallen servicemen returning from Iraq and Afghanistan in body bags.

Enter the Patriot Guard Riders.

In 2005, the Patriot Guard Riders was formed to have its members attend all military funerals where Westboro planned to attend.  The riders would form a barrier between the grieving family and friends and the protestors from Westboro who were visiting to disrupt funeral services.

The majority of members of the Patriot Guard Riders have their own motorcycles and from what I have been told, it is an awesome sight when they ride into a town to stand up for a fallen hero.  I do not know how many riders attend each funeral but I am sitting her visualizing and mentally listening to how  all those bikes sound riding to a funeral draped in their American Flags.

The Patriot Guard attends only those funerals where their presence is requested.  As soon as Westboro announces that it will protest a given funeral, I am sure someone in the family or the area is dialing up the Patriot Guard to request their services.

Nationally, the Patriot Guard membership is around 230,000 and there are chapters all across our great nation.

So, we have Gulf War I and Gulf War II and the Patriot Guard Riders.

Now I would like to tie them altogether in a way that could help get more exposure on a national level to the beating Ryan received at the hand of members of the Westerly, Rhode Island Police Department and also the disrespect he and his family received at the hand of the Grand Jury that decided not to indict the police officers that went way beyond their training and procedures causing Ryan’s untimely death.

What is critical here for all of us is to do whatever is necessary to get some Federal agency to reopen the investigation into Ryan’s death.

In addition, I believe the entire proceedings of the Grand Jury be investigated because there is way too much detail about Ryan’s injuries that should not have been ignored or overlooked by a Grand Jury.

From the Police Chief, on down, and those government officials in Westerly who say (not necessarily believe) that the police were only following procedures, I say that couldn’t be further from the truth – and it is truth that appears to be lacking in all parts of the investigation.

I am not a policeman, nor do I know much about all the training each of them goes through regarding confronting individuals at a crime scene – but I do know this – there are many, many steps to diffuse a situation that can be implemented prior to using extreme force – force enough to cause internal bleeding in 11 parts of one’s body that would result in death less than 16 hours later.

Another thing I know, thanks to my extensive non-stop research is that one of the policemen said he ONLY hit Ryan with his club on the back of Ryan’s legs.

Here is a photo showing where the liver is located and as you can see it is nowhere near the back of the legs.

Before the Grand Jury met, the Medical Examiner said that he determined that Ryan’s death was due to a homicide  The police chief countered that Ryan might have had a preexisting condition – those two opinions are so diametrically opposed that it is obvious that either the Police Chief or the Medical Examiner is lying – there can be no other alternative.

So, why would the M. E. lie?  I cannot think of any logical reason but I sure can come up with a few as to why a Police Chief would lie.  The biggest reason I can come up with is to protect those under him, i.e. the three officers involved in the unjustified beating of Ryan to the point where was literally bleeding to death internally and he did not even know it.

The Grand Jury can only issue a decision based on the information presented by the prosecutor.  It didn’t matter whether the Grand Jury was from the Westerly area or the entire state of Rhode Island – they were fed what they were fed.

I will equate this who experience to a young adult applying for a scholarship.  If someone is wanting to go to a specific school, they will put their best foot forward, doing everything to get accepted and hopefully with some kind of scholarship. On the other side of the coin, if the student’s parents are pushing their angel to go to another school instead, the student might hold back a little or not make that extra effort to WOW them – and as a result that student probably did not get accepted or even get considered for a scholarship to the school the parents were pushing.

My first thought, when I read about the Grand jury, was that they were simply in bed with the Prosecutor but my recent opinion is that they made a decision EXACTLY based on the information they received during the Grand Jury.  If the Prosecutor was the one who was in bed with the Police Department, the Prosecutor might have toned down the presentation of evidence and his/her emphasis on certain facts, including the medical examiner’s findings – and as a result, the Grand Jury decided to not to indict – in effect choosing to not have the officers face a criminal trial.

If any or all of this is true, what can be done?  Some of what has to be done is already being done.  Someone thoughtful enough of Ryan’s death started a petition on in hopes of getting sufficient signatures that would make either the Attorney General or the F.B.I. look into everything that has transpired so far.

Here are a few red flags that would make me as a member of a Grand Jury to question the actions of those officers.

  1. Why did those officers take Ryan down a dark alley, out of view of any dashboard camera?
  2. Why are there discrepancies between the police report and the injuries Ryan received?
  3. Why didn’t the officers immediately handcuff Ryan after they tazered him?

I believe the officers were trying to break Ryan like a cowboy tries to break a wild mustang – except the mustang is treated humanely.  All along the way, they kept hitting him, trying to make him fall into conformance – to make him surrender to their demands.

So, Ryan’s family is at a junction where they need the national media to get involved so more petitions are signed.    There are less than 3,000 signatures and someone thought that 5,000 is the magic number to go to the Feds.

I don’t believe there is one RIGHT number but I believe that things can be done, wheels can be turned and people can be encouraged to sign the petition beyond everyone’s wildest expectations.

Enter the Patriot Rider’s of New England.

Yes, there is such an organization and they are there to serve those military, police, and fireman who have passed away – for whatever reason.

Someone reading this might say that because they also serve police, they will not stand up for Ryan, but I do not believe that for one minute.

Ryan was in the right, even though he might have alienated the police by his comments to them, and the police were obviously in the wrong by not following the book and choosing to severly beat Ryan.

I believe someone in Ryan’s family – his widow, his parents, or even his sister, needs to contact the Patriot Riders of New England and see if they can attend some kind of vigil for Ryan.

The Patriot Guard normally attends funerals – especially those where Wesboro has stated that they will attend in protest.

I believe, if the Patriot Guard is made aware of the extenuating circumstances surrounding Ryan’s death, they might consider having dozens or more of their members ride in Westerly on their flagged draped motorcycles as a show of support to Ryan’s family and the community as a whole.

If a vigil was set up in a park in town and the media was notified that the Patriot Guard was going to be in attendance, it would garner national media and if everyone is for the troops as they say they are, it would result in hundreds of thousands of signature instead of the numbers we are seeing now on

Here is the mission statement of the Patriot Guard:

Patriot Guard Riders Mission Statement

The Patriot Guard Riders is a diverse amalgamation of riders from across the nation. We have one thing in common besides motorcycles. We have an unwavering respect for those who risk their very lives for America’s freedom and security. If you share this respect, please join us.

We don’t care what you ride or if you ride, what your political views are, or whether you’re a hawk or a dove. It is not a requirement that you be a veteran. It doesn’t matter where you’re from or what your income is; you don’t even have to ride. The only prerequisite is Respect.

Our main mission is to attend the funeral services of fallen American heroes as invited guests of the family. Each mission we undertake has two basic objectives:

  1. Show our sincere respect for our fallen heroes, their families, and their communities.
  2. Shield the mourning family and their friends from interruptions created by any protestor or group of protestors.

We accomplish the latter through strictly legal and non-violent means.

To those of you who are currently serving and fighting for the freedoms of others, at home and abroad, please know that we are backing you. We honor and support you with every mission we carry out, and we are praying for a safe return home for all.

The only requirement in their mission statement that would be lacking for them to visit Westerly, R.I. is Ryan’s funeral because that has already taken place.

If the Patriot Guard could treat the vigil as a posthumous tribute to Ryan, that should suffice in lieu of a funeral.

All I can do as a blogger is to present possibilities and to help bring awareness to what I perceive to be an injustice.

I was up in the wee hours of this morning reading two threads that were created specifically about Ryan that were both started by a gentleman who says he has known Ryan since the fourth grade – talk about a lasting friendship, right?

The individual who started the two threads goes by the handle of HugeDinghy, aka Dinglebert Humperdinky, who states he and Ryan were good friends growing up.

The site is a site for fishermen, and that is why he has the handle Huge Dinghy.

If any of Ryan’s family can look at these two threads they might know some of the posters.  It might be that between family and friends and Huge Dinghy and some of his friends and a good contingent of the New England Patriot Guard riders, it will justify the national media being in attendance.

Here are the two threads:

This threat focuses on the incident up to and including the M.E.’s findings and ends discussing the Grand Jury.  It is 9 pages long and you can navigate from page to page.

This thread mostly focuses on the vigil that took place after the Grand Jury.  It is 3 pages long and you can navigate from page to page.

My hope and prayer is that some of this makes sense to the family and that the Patriot Guard and individuals from the fishing threads can attend another vigil for Ryan that will hopefully draw many, many, veterans and concerned citizens to to sign the Petition.

For those of you reading this that still have not gone to to read and sign the petition, here is the link:

Again, every signature counts.

Please vote in the two question poll and leave a comment if you are so inclined.





  1. Wow, you tried to do a nice thing and took a beating from some one using a blog name, Patriot in Motion. I’m pretty sure if the “official” group was as insulted as he indicated in his crappy comments to you, an actual “official” representative would have contacted you in a more professional manner with their concerns. That would have been the nice way to handle it anyway.

    • I was a little disappointed by the way he attacked me with both barrels but it game me pause. He could have been a little nicer about it but that is the way he is I guess. Not the kind of guy I would have a beer with, but…

      Nice hearing from you

  2. First, there is no such thing as the Patriot Guard Riders of New England. The PGR is a no borders national organization and they have no chapters. Secondly, this type of event does not fall within their mission statement. It is considered political and the PGR will not become involved in anything political. Thirdly, the PGR does NOT attend funerals just because the WBC will be there. That is not their purpose at all. And lastly, did you get permission from the organization to use their logo and to copy their mission statement from their website? Using the name and logo to further your own cause is reprehensible.

    • Hi Patriot; thanks for responding. I am aware that the organization is without borders, i.e. it is a national organization, but I humbly differ with you about there NOT being state or area entities. There are numerous websites dedicated to PGR NY, Michigan, et. I know they might not be “official” organizations, but there are many websites dedicated to groups that are from each state – they might be organized more as social sites so PGR members in one area can more align themselves locally as well to see what is going on in their area.

      Also, I do not consider Ryan’s death to be politial in nature, I believe a crime was committed and that Ryan’s death is just as though he was killed by an enemy combatant. It would be nice if he could be honored by PGR as a fallen hero – he did afterall serve in the first gulf war. PGR also goes to funerals of retirees who are killed in car accidents or even die from natural causes.

      Regarding Westboro Baptist Church, many sites, including Wikipedia talk about one of the main factors for PGR starting up in 2005 was to respond to what Westboro was doing to deface military funerals. I never said that PGR ONLY goes to funerals where Westboro has announced they would be there.

      Being a career military person myself, I have attended funerals where PGR was there and Westboro was not. If I came across otherwise, I apologize.

      By the way, here is the site for PGR-New England:

      There are literally dozens and dozens of websites that focus on PGR in various states.

      Also, in closing, here is a quote from the Facebook page of PGR where they talk about PGR being at funerals partially in respons to organizations like Westboro:

      “The group was formed in 2005, to shelter and protect the deceased’s family from protesters such as the Westboro Baptist Church, who claim that the deaths of American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan are divine retribution for American tolerance of homosexuality. PGR members position themselves to physically shield the mourners from the presence of the Westboro protesters by blocking the protesters from view with their motorcade, or by having members hold American flags. The group also drowns out the protesters’ chants by singing patriotic songs or by revving motorcycle engines.”

      If the above quote on PGR Facebook is not correct, then someone in PGR needs to correct it.

      Thanks for commenting.

    • Also, mdcoopersmith, I did not see a “tm” on the logo so I assumed it was fair use – I did look at PGR’s main website and Facebook and did not see any restrictions on mentioning the Mission Statement. Organizations usually proudly stand behind their mission statements because it is who they are.

      I am not affiliated with anyone who started the Petition to have someone look into Ryan’s death and I was asked by someone in an email to look into it and blog about it if I found his death a just cause.

      I meant no offense to PGR and I never thought anyone would take offense to the mission statement being printed.

      I truly apologize for offending you. I have admired the PGR for years because of what they have done for military families over the years.

      I might have gotten overzealous in trying to help Ryan’s widow and parents to get more signatures to the petition at and for that I apologize. I will discontinue talking about PGR here and anywhere else.

  3. This is a wonderful idea. In addition to signing the petition, I plan on contacting the Patriot Guards. I have actually seen them in action so to speak. The noise from their bikes makes every one within miles stop and take notice.

    • If the Patriot Guard does agree to attend a vigil, make sure the local media know and make sure a permit is applied for before their visit – although I doubt any police department, even if it is crooked, would do anything to cause a scene against a national group who is there for our deceased veterans.

      Another thing, with New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey being so close, Patriot Guard from those states are withing driving distance to attend as well. These guys are professional and non-confrontational. Even if their visit is against their official mission statement, many of them might come out of respect for Ryan and his family.

      Again, if they are coming, have anyone and everyone blog the hell out of their pending visit.

      There is an old saying from the movie, “Field of Dreams” that goes, “If you build it, they will come.”

Comments appreciated

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