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Fairfield police chief says he'll quit if city forces escort in Hells Angels-involved Christmas toy drive

Fairfield police chief pledges to quit if city forces escort in Hells Angels-involved toy drive
Fairfield police chief pledges to quit if city forces escort in Hells Angels-involved toy drive 02:21

FAIRFIELD — Fairfield Police Chief Dan Marshall is putting his job on the line by pledging to quit if the city forces his officers to help with a Christmas toy run.

He says it's because the Hells Angels are involved in it. 

"This is a hill I'm willing to die on, and I'm willing to give up my job before I order the police department to do this escort," Marshall said. "That's how serious I am about it."

Over the decades-long Samoa Mission Christmas Toy Run, hundreds of motorcyclists, including Santa, parade down Fairfield streets. Fairfield police have served as an escort in the past.

The chief says no more.

"The last two years the Hells Angels have been a part of this run, our officers aren't comfortable escorting the Hells Angels, we have personal indictments on the Hells Angels," Chief Marshall said. 

Mission Samoa director Gene Ahu started the toy drive 19 years ago, and it now serves 400 children. 

"My feeling," Ahu said, "it's not about the Hells Angels. It's about the children."

With no police escort, he's concerned about the safety of the riders.

"We got to watch out for pedestrians, vehicles, people cutting in between us," Ahu said.

Last month, four Hells Angels members were arrested on charges of attempted murder in a Sacramento shooting. Earlier this year, four more Hells Angels were indicted in connection with a beating in Solano County.

Ahu says the Hells Angels at his toy drive are there to help children. 

"If the Hells Angels or anybody wants to come to support us, we'll appreciate it. That's more toys for us," Ahu said. 

"I do not support, ever, any criminal organization. I will not support it now," Chief Marshall said. 

Controversy over a community toy drive, complicating the Christmas spirit.

The city council is standing behind Chief Marshall's decision. Ahu is now trying to figure out how his organization can do this toy run safely without a police escort. He is also hoping the attention leads to more donations.

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