The Cop and the Outlaw Biker, an unlikely and unusual friendship.
I got the news that my long time friend and brother had died, from a post on facebook. While I was very sad, I did not shed a tear, those tears and mourning had taken place many years prior, while he was still alive.
We had developed a very unlikely friendship many years ago. To be honest, friends is not an accurate term, we were more like brothers. No one, not even myself could have imagined that we would become so close. I was a retired Cop and he was a former 1% outlaw Biker. I won’t use his name, or even his nickname out of respect for the privacy of his family.
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For the purposes of this story I will call him “Otto”. I chose the name “Otto” because many years ago he got a puppy from us and he named him “Otto”. Getting a puppy from my wife and I was no easy task. Having money was not enough and we had forcefully repossessed a puppy or two from their owners, when they weren’t caring for them properly. To us our puppies are like our grandchildren. He gave that puppy a wonderful life and took him everywhere he went, until the dog went to the rainbow bridge.
When I first met Otto it was shortly after his release from Prison. He had done a couple of long term stints due to his past violent criminal behavior. He was very upfront about why he had been incarcerated. He was a 1% outlaw Biker and had developed a terrible problem with alcoholism and drug addiction, so much so that he became an outcast. Otto also had a well deserved reputation for violence.
Without going into great details, I live a sober life and have done so for the past 27 years. I live a sober lifestyle by choice and because of that choice, I spend a great deal of time trying to help people that struggle with alcohol and-or drug addiction problems. That is the reason that I met “Otto”.
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After a few weeks of spending time trying to help him we started to become friends. He knew I was a retired Cop and I knew he was a former 1% outlaw Biker who was trying to turn his life around. At some point we did have the “talk”, that I could not and would not be associated with someone who lived a violent criminal lifestyle. He readily accepted me as a retired cop and accepted the terms of our friendship.
We spent hours talking about how he could transition from a man with a prison inmate and an outlaw biker mindset to being a productive member of society.
He accepted me as a cop and we each accepted each other as friends. We enjoyed each others company on frequent motorcycle rides. Trips to Daytona, dining out at restaurants, spending time together with our better halves. To be honest, there are very few people that could make me laugh the way that he could.
It was a long transition and took a tremendous amount of effort for him to reform his reputation. We worked on these issues for a couple years. Without knowing it, he helped me work on the scars that I had developed as a result of all the violence that I experienced in Police Work. To this day I don’t know if he ever truly understood how much he helped me.
For several years he did well and then Otto made the choice to return to drinking alcohol and using drugs. After a few years of living in abandoned homes, he contacted me and asked if we would help him once again. So, my Wife and I let Otto live with us as he struggled to get back on his feet. Unfortunately that day never came. After a particularly ugly incident when he got high, and began to frighten both my Wife and Dogs I had to throw him out.
Otto was a US Navy veteran and spent the last years of his life in veteran housing. I’m grateful for the staff and people that tried to help him, their dedication and persistance is remarkable. During the last several years Otto was hospitalized several times.on the verge of death due to his drug addiction and alcoholism.
The last time I saw Otto was at a Veterans Hospital when we were told that he might not make it through the night. He survived, but that was the day that I started mourning his passing. For I knew that he would never again be the guy that I had once known.
When Otto died, he was alone, no wife, no spouse, no other half, his brother and sister lived in other parts of the Country. He spent his last few years totally alone and for that I am sad, but as he would tell you that was a choice he made.
Otto taught me many things, not the least of which was that a retired cop and a former 1% outlaw biker – drug addict could be friends and brothers.
Until we can ride together again, fair winds and following seas, my Brother…
John J. “Jay” Wiley is the host of The Law Enforcement Today Radio Show, which is brought to you in part by Transformations Treatment Center. Call (888) 991-9725 online at www.transformationstreatment.center.
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