A federal arbitrator says Hillsborough County was justified in firing a Fire Rescue medic who belonged to the Outlaws Motorcycle Club, noting the negative attention his membership brought the county.
Clinton Neal Walker, 35, of Bradenton, was fired a year ago after an internal investigation concluded he had “unwavering loyalty” to the Outlaws, long considered the state’s dominant motorcycle gang.
He was the first Hillsborough employee to be investigated for gang activity under a series of county ordinances that prohibit membership in any organization the state or federal government considers criminal, including the Outlaws St. Petersburg Chapter where Walker was a member.
Arbitrator Charlotte Gold released her ruling in mid-January, ending a year-long fight by the local chapter of the International Association of Fire Fighters to save Walker’s job. Her report provided new insight into biker gang culture within the county’s fire department and throughout the Tampa Bay area.
“HCFR employees, including chiefs and a fire medic, attended MC (motorcycle club) events,” Gold wrote, and “many of its members were ex-military.”