1. News

Hillsborough firefighter wanted in bar fight is suspected motorcycle gang member

Key West Police say Clinton Neal Walker, a Hillsborough County firefighter, was among several members of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club who attacked two bar employees on Sept. 17. Walker, 33, of Bradenton was wanted Wednesday on a misdemeanor battery charge.
Published Nov. 17, 2016

A Hillsborough County firefighter who is a suspected member of the Outlaws motorcycle gang is wanted in Key West in connection with a September bar fight that involved as many as 15 Outlaws members.

The incident is the latest to draw attention to Florida firefighters who are in biker gangs, an issue that has for months vexed local officials who are hoping for a statewide fix.

The Hillsborough firefighter, Clinton Neal Walker, 33, of Bradenton, is wanted on a misdemeanor battery charge. According to an arrest warrant, Walker and other suspects repeatedly punched John Mafera, manager of the Rumor Lounge in downtown Key West.

A woman told officers the fight started after she got into argument with one of several men wearing shirts and jackets with the "Outlaws" logo, according to a police report.

The men told Mafera the woman should be escorted out of the bar, the report says. When Mafera refused, gang members attacked him.

Mafera and another employee who tried to help him suffered wounds to their eyes and mouths. The bar employees said about 15 Outlaws members were involved.

Mafera later identified Walker in a photo lineup, the arrest warrant states. A Key West police detective also sent a surveillance video of the brawl to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, where a corporal who knew Walker as a firefighter confirmed his identity, the warrant states.

According to the warrant, Walker is a "confirmed active member" of the Outlaws, considered by authorities to be the state's dominant motorcycle gang. It is strongest in South Florida but has chapters in Tampa and St. Petersburg.

According to the FBI, the Outlaws use their clubs as conduits for crime, including weapons and drug trafficking.

Walker and another Hillsborough County firefighter were identified as members of the Outlaws gang in May in a WFTS-Ch. 28 report. The story also identified a Pasco County firefighter as a member the Pagans motorcycle gang.

After the report, Hillsborough County Fire Rescue Chief Dennis Jones and County Administrator Mike Merrill began discussing whether to limit affiliation in such organizations.

In August, Jones told the Tampa Bay Times there were numerous legal considerations.

"There's a very fine line between individual rights and rights of affiliation and constitutional rights," Jones said at the time.

Jones said Thursday those conversations are on hold while they wait to see if the Florida State Fire Marshal asks lawmakers in Tallahassee to address the issue.

"This is a broad issue that impacts fire departments across Florida," Jones said. "Once revised statewide standards are set, Hillsborough County will not only follow these guidelines, but we will add additional requirements ... as warranted to further ensure the safety of our residents and firefighters."

The Florida Firefighters Employment Standards and Training Council wrote the State Fire Marshal in July with a proposal to disqualify from employment firefighters with "gang affiliations or known terrorist group affiliations."

Late Thursday, a Fire Marshal's spokesman said there are currently no plans to make such changes.

Hillsborough fire officials learned of Walker's warrant Wednesday, said department spokesman Corey Dierdorff. He will be placed on paid administrative leave pending an internal investigation.

"We take accusations like this very seriously," Dierdorff said.

Walker's attorney, Jerry Theophilopoulos, did not return a call for comment Thursday.

It's the second time this year Walker has been arrested in connection with a bar fight. He was charged with felony battery on a law enforcement officer in June after an altercation with a St. Petersburg police officer. The charge was later dropped after questions arose about whether the officer used excessive force.

Senior researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Contact Tony Marrero at or (813) 226-3374. Follow @tmarrerotimes.


  1. A Hernando County Sheriff's deputy talks to students in the cafeteria of Brooksville Elementary School in 2018. Earlier this month, the school district put forward a proposal to move away from a contract with the Sheriff and establish its own police force. On Tuesday, it announced it would drop that idea.
    Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis spoke out this week against the proposal.
  2. [RON BORRESEN  |  Times].
    The deadline is Friday to submit your employer’s name for consideration.
  3. Sigfredo Garcia leans back in his chair and whispers to his former longtime girlfriend Katherine Magbanua on Friday, Oct. 11, 2019, in Tallahassee, Fla., after Leon County jurors announced a guilty verdict against him in the murder trial of Dan Markel. ALICIA DEVINE  |  AP
    The case had riveted Florida’s capital as sordid details began to emerge about a messy divorce, tensions with in-laws and child custody battles that culminated in a murder-for-hire plot.
  4. The developers of The Heights say they have reached an agreement with Marriott International to include a 153-room Marriott Moxy Hotel on the first seven floors of a 25-story apartment tower planned on the block two blocks east of the Armature Works. The Heights District
    Plans call for a 153-room hotel that will occupy the first seven floors within a new, mixed-use, 25-story tower.
  5. FILE - In this image released Friday, Oct. 4, 2019, by NASA, astronauts Christina Koch, right, and, Jessica Meir pose for a photo on the International Space Station. NASA has moved up the first all-female spacewalk to Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019, or Friday because of a power system failure at the International Space Station. AP
    Astronauts Christina Koch (cook) and Jessica Meir (mere) will now venture out Thursday or Friday, instead of next Monday.
  6. Taco Bell Tuesday announced it had recalled 2.3 million pounds of its seasoned beef filling.
    The fast food chain announced Tuesday it voluntarily recalled 2.3 million pounds of beef after customers reported fining metal shavings in their food.
  7. Former White House advisor on Russia, Fiona Hill, leaves Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, Oct. 14, 2019, after testifying before congressional lawmakers as part of the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. MANUEL BALCE CENETA  |  AP
    The aide, Fiona Hill, testified for more than 10 hours on Monday as part of the Democrats’ impeachment probe into Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.
  8. In this photo taken from the Turkish side of the border between Turkey and Syria, in Ceylanpinar, Sanliurfa province, southeastern Turkey, smoke and dust billows from targets in Ras al-Ayn, Syria, caused by bombardment by Turkish forces, Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019. Turkish artillery on Tuesday pounded suspected Syrian Kurdish positions near the town in northeast Syria amid reports that Kurdish fighters had retaken the town as Turkey pressed ahead with a military incursion that has drawn widespread condemnation. CAVIT OZGUL         |  AP
    Russia moved quickly to further entrench its role as a power broker after President Donald Trump ordered the pullout of American forces in northeastern Syria.
  9. Timothy Farmer is accused of intentionally driving his car into a New Port Richey house. Pasco Sheriff's Office
    Deputies said Timothy Farmer backed his Ford Explorer into the home, then resisted arrest.
  10. Judge Caryl E. Delano, chief judge of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the middle district of Florida Caryl E. Delano
    Caryl E. Delano will serve four years as chief judge of one of the nation’s busiest bankruptcy courts.