Charlie Watts and Mick Jagger listen to Hells Angel Sony Barger defend Altamont murder


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Umm, this was in the 47 year old film ‘Gimme Shelter’. Is there anyone who cares in the least about the Stones who hasn’t seen it?


Charlie Watts and Mick Jagger listen to Hells Angel Sony Barger defend Altamont murder

What murder? Oh, you mean the acquittal on the ground of self-defense?

Meredith Curly Hunter, Jr. (October 24, 1951 – December 6, 1969) was an 18-year-old African-American man who was killed at the 1969 Altamont Free Concert. During the performance by The Rolling Stones, Hunter approached the stage, and was violently driven off by members of the Hells Angels motorcycle club who had been contracted to serve as security guards. He subsequently returned to the stage area, drew a revolver, and was stabbed and beaten to death by Hells Angel Alan Passaro.

The incident was caught on camera and became a central scene in the documentary Gimme Shelter. Passaro was charged with murder. After an eight-man, four-woman jury deliberated for 12 and a half hours, following 17 days of testimony, Passaro was acquitted on grounds of self defense.


At least we’ve learned since then how idiotic it is to hire biker gangs to provide event security…


A horrible incident for sure, but stabbing a guy who pulls a gun in a crowd to keep him from shooting anyone doesn’t quite sound like murder to me. Could the situation have been handled without killing him? Probably. But a knife to the head will stop someone from shooting more reliably than a fist.


Not murder based on what is here.

Incompetent band manager and violent douchebag bikers? Yes. Not murder.


Member of white, racist (and infamously violent) motorcycle gang beats a black man to death? Of course it is self-defense…


Sometimes bad people encounter other bad people. Did you see the pistol in his hand in the video?


I’m not saying it wasn’t a violent encounter. I’m saying he could have approached the Hell’s Angels with a ham sandwich, they would have beaten him to death, and an all white jury still would have declared it self-defense for killing a black man.


But they already did beat him up, and he left. Now was the first beating warranted? No idea. But the fact that he was beaten and allowed to leave and then came back with a firearm says that their purpose was, at least originally, not to kill him.

Not arguing that those guys are nice (I grew up around bikers, I’m not really a fan), but ignoring the complexity here in favor of an easily dismissed argument damages the credibility of progressive voices down the line.


It was in this case, and there is film showing the decedent brandishing a handgun that is fairly persuasive on the point. So what’s your problem?


My problem is a man being beaten to death? What’s yours?


My problem is with the headline calling this a murder, when the facts and a jury verdict clearly state otherwise.

The decedent got into a fight with the bikers, was beaten, left the scene, then returned with a handgun. All of which was captured on film.

The jury reviewed the evidence, and voted to acquit on the ground of self defense. Which makes this NOT a murder, in contrast to the headline.


Guess you should talk to the headline author about that, eh?


Yup. That’s precisely what I was doing in my original comment. You know, the one that you decided to reply to with an interjection of uninformed commentary. As logruszed stated quite elegantly above:


Poor baby.

No one is going to change the headline for you.


The press likes to call Altamont the end of the era for the same reason they congratulate themselves on the Vietnam War ending with the Tet Offensive and Walter Cronkite. In fact, the 60’s had ended in 1968 and the Vietnam War dragged on for years after one person in the press spoke out. The Democratic Convention convinced people there was no chance for reform.

From Europe to Asia and Latin America the peace mood gave way to violence and even armed attacks on rich people. But to mention this, today’s young would have to be told the truth about the nature of the Democratic Party and who started the Vietnam war based on a false attack. So instead we hear Altamont. Rubbish. Also in those days Andy Fran ushers usually did security. They were usually 17 to 21 years old.

It is a nice idea they could have stopped a man with a gun who came dressed to the 9’s and whose pals said he was “agitated” and “acting odd”. Had the Angels not been there we might have seen dead Rolling Stones. But the give away is why would the actions of the Angels end the hippies? They were not hippies, supported the Vietnam War and routinely beat up anti-war proesters. What on earth did they have to do with hippies?


Kesey and Ginsberg had a daft idea about recruiting the Angels as left-wing muscle. Ginsberg wrote a poem about it.

It’s all described in HST’s Hell’s Angels.


Members of the Hell’s Angels were part of some of the early Acid Tests, and Kesey and The Dead managed to get along with them (although there were some episodes that could have led to violence even then), plus the Stones were familiar with the less violent UK based Hell’s Angels who had done security for the big Hyde Park free concert.