MLO - Malibu Locals Only Gang
- Publication: Entertainment Weekly
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Patronised by a variety of A List celebrity offspring,
including Ed Gibson (son of Mel) and Brawly Nolte ( son of Nic)
the Malibu based surfgang MLO, Malibu Locals Only have been caught
in the media spotlight, after a party fight between MLO gangmambers
and Valley based teenagers left a valley teenager brutally inujred,
suffering permanent brain damage.
A recent story profiling the incident on TV show
Celebrity Justice fuelled renewed interest in the gang while also
provoking litigation from those mentioned during the segment. Meanwhile,
in the face of the celebrity based sensationalism, locals insist
the MLO is not a lethal posse of crazed gun toting rich kids, eternally
warped by a life of drugs and pertty crime, but more a simple click
of pivileged kids hanging together and asserting a territorial streak.in
areas like Zuma Beach, Malibu Pier Point Dume, and Broadbeach.
In December last year, a story published by Vicki
Godal/Special to The Malibu Times claimed stated that producers
at Fox 11 News contacted the Times in early January about a story
the paper published regarding the MLO and a beating of a young man
while at party in Malibu last spring. Another beating, again at
party in Malibu, had taken place in the fall, as well as a couple
being attacked while walking on the beach. MLO members reportedly
committed the second beating, while it is unknown who attacked the
couple on the beach.
The Malibu Times artcle also claimed the first
attack in March occurred while the victim was leaving the party.
He was attacked by a group of about 10 young men and was beaten
about the head to unconsciousness. Doctors told the victim's parents
that he was beaten nearly to death. Due to the head injuries, the
victim had short-term memory loss for months afterwards and has
been in psychiatric therapy since the attack. A former honor student,
the victim was accepted to several colleges, but currently has no
plans to attend in the near future.
"I have to read the same thing over and over again to remember
it, and even then sometimes I don't," the victim was quoted
in the Malibu Times story . "It's really frustrating because
school used to be so easy for me." No attackers were ever named
or charged, although the beating was witnessed by at least 20 people,
mostly Malibu High School students. A reward was offered by the
victim's father in the Malibu High School newspaper, The Current,
which first published the story about the beating. The article was
co-authored by the newspaper's editors in chief, David Bresler and
Several Malibu High School students were contacted as potential
witnesses to the beating. Those that called back refused to be named
in this article and would speak only off the record. Malibu High
School principal Mike Matthews said the MLO has been around for
years, but in the past, was not a violent group. "I've been
here 11 years, and only in the last two years have the tagging and
graffiti become prevalent," said Matthews. "I think people
are using the name MLO as an excuse when it's more about individual
characters than the power of the MLO."
Because the families of the victims feared more
violence for their sons, they did not take legal action. However,
the father of the first victim said he consistently contacted Lost
Hills Sheriff's Detective J.P. Manwell, who investigated the beating
of his son
The father said the detective did not return repeated
phone calls in April of last year regarding the case, and in May
he was told the case was being put on hold until after the summer.
In December, the victim went to visit a friend who had witnessed
the beating and who was also listed as a victim in the sheriff's
report, to see if they could help identify the attackers. However,
a formal identification lineup was never conducted. The victim's
father telephoned Manwell on Jan. 31 and said the detective told
him that he would probably stop pursuing the case. The father has
kept a detailed call log since April.
Manwell said in a phone interview Tuesday afternoon that the case
is open and the status is pending. He said he ran the case by the
district attorney's office in Sylmar, but the office did not want
to follow up on it due to lack of evidence. Regarding the beating
in March, Manwell said, "We have yet to receive a strong workable
lead as to the identity of the perpetrators in the first beating.
And the longer it goes on, the harder it will be to prove."
The second beating that took place in the fall
of 2003, happened at a party in a home on Carbon Mesa Drive. According
to the Sheriff's Incident Report Narrative, witnesses say the victim
was surrounded by five males who began demanding he give them information
about a stolen dirt bike. The victim said he kept telling them he
had no idea who took the dirt bike. He was then punched in the jaw
and fell to the floor.
What followed was a brutal beating by the five males. When the victim
fell, the attackers dragged him outside, and continued kicking him.
The victim was unconscious for about five minutes, stated witnesses
in the sheriff's report. The brother of the victim gave statements
to sheriff's deputies, describing in detail the beating, including
an identification of one attacker.
In an act of retaliation, the victim's two friends
tried to set fire to the house. Then, while attempting to put it
out, were chased away by partygoers. When deputies arrived, the
two were arrested on arson charges. In a Superior Court affidavit
filed in the arson case, one of the two charged who had witnessed
the beating of his friend, wrote that the apparent leader of the
group that did the beating yelled at the victim's friends and the
rest of the partygoers, "If you tell anyone or do anything,
we're going to kill you! We know where you live!"
A producer at Fox 11 News had first picked up the story idea about
the MLO when a videotape of a fight that took place at another party
in Malibu during the summer was brought to his attention. The party
was thrown by producers in a rented home, and a group of uninvited
people crashed the party. They were thrown out, and while in the
backyard of the home, a fight broke.
A person connected to Fox 11 had shot videotape of the fight and
sent it to the producer. In researching who the people in the group
were, the name MLO came up. Then the story published by this paper
came to Fox 11's attention.
The victim of the first beating was shown the tape by the news program
reporters. He identified a person in the video as one who was part
of the group of attackers and also named in the sheriff's report.
Although many are labeling the MLO as a gang, Detective Manwell
says they are not considered a gang.
Detective John Manwell - Lost Hills Police Station
Speaking to reporter Craig Stephens in late April
2004, Manwell reinforced his stance. "This is simply a local
group of kids, and it really doesnt come close to being classified
as a gang. There are very definite rules relating to what constitutes
a gang, and the MLO does not really come close to fitting that classification
. It is simply a large group of group of youths surf based largely
stemming from surf codes. There are none of the trademark signs,
including guns, drug dealer, break an entry, just petty crime such
as graffitti and some party fights."
The age range for MLO members can start from 15
upwards and reach anywhere up to 23. With this target age group,
there is the usual scenario of fights at parties and people hanging
in groups, yet it is no more frequent than any other group in the
city of Malibu. The cases was in fact dropped and there is no litigation
pending at this stage "
"In the much publicised party fight case,
apparently involving Brawley Nolte, no charges were ever filed.
The DA never recognised it as a case and declined to press any charges.
I think many media reports led to the apple being placed before
Based in Calabasus, there are four police units
at peak times patrolling in Malibu, with 6-8 units during peak periods.
In addition to police patrols, many local rsidents have personal
security teams overseeing houses.
Member David "Dusty" Olsen - (attributable
as "a member")
The MLO isnt really a gang says "casual"
member Davis Dusty. Understanding the real point of the MLO is the
whole notion of keeping everything localized. There are always lots
of fistfights and its mainly between locals and the guys from the
valley who invade the local parties and beaches. There was the recent
incident where there was a fight at a party and a guy hit in the
head with a flashlight this was really blown out of proportion by
the media Much of the propaganda generated about the MLO came from
the TV news reports.
The MLO was far more organized in the 80s and 90s,
though nowadays, its really not what people think, its isnt really
a gang anymore, its more just a slogan. Basically its a groupof
people who live in the area an who aren't yuppies and its just really
a social thing for Malibu people. Its not really anything erious
or anything hard. There is a certain click of people involved and
they party every night, either at someone's house or on a private
beach. Its kind of elitist in that its really where only a certain
group of people who are involved.
Most of the trouble stems from Valley kids coming
to the beaches in Malibu and surfing our waves. We have no poblem
with surfers from other nearby areas coming, its now mainly the
I think it has been a little distorted, with the
attention on people like Brawley Nolte and Ed and Christian Gibson.
They do surf and they do live in Malibu, so they kind of get identified
as members by default. I think they just know some people who say
they are members and are seen at parties where some MLO have been,
so they end up being identified as MLO, though in the end, Malibu
is a small place and everyone ends up knowing everyone else and
they socialize and party together. Its basically a surfer/ local
thing inolving beer parties and girls, there really nothing more
to it than that."
35 year old Pat Ryan is an MLO "elder"
Many of the MLO are now in the 20's and 30's,
The MLO used to be it was about the surfing and
the codes of surfing. We are generally longtime locals, and althouh
our parents are admittedly middle class for the most part, we are
not rich kids, still this is Malibu, and that will happen. Nowadays,
the whole MLO thing has dissipated of being strictly about surfing
code to being a a bit of a joke, now there are people who are neither
surfers or locals claiming to be members of the MLO.
Yes there was violence but no more than any other
surf area where surfers codes are in place. Back in the day this
was a lifestyle, a world a cult known the world over type of gang,
people lived to surf and nothing more there was a sense of poetry
and a sense o passion and conviction in the whole thing.
It was very much aligned to the whole alternative
music scene, it was very subversive, very left wing, very much involved
with a political; mindset like the environment and liberal attitudes
towards drugs and the work ethic. But the reality is nowadays surfing
isnt such a rebellious thing to do, its a mainstream sport that
girls kids and moms can do, so you begin to wonder about this hardcore
Attributed as " Local Business Owner,"
Jay, Owner of Zuma Jay Surfshop ( PCH Malibu)///////
A former LA county deputy sheriff, Jay is personal
friends with several members and their parents. "These aren't
the everyday gang members who dabble in things like burglary and
drug dealing. They aren't exactly living on the edge or on the fringes
of society, they are kids living in very comfortable and pampered
lives often on big allowances, the children of professional parents
such as doctors or lawyers.
As many of these parents don't have much time,
the children are often spoilt and poorly disciplined, so they end
up getting involved in destructive things towards themselves and
their community, like doing drugs and committing vandalism. Some
of the yiounger members have repeatedly vandalised the local schools,
causing thousands of dollars worth of damage.
Whenever MLO members have a party in the area,
you will generallty know about it. They also surf in groups and
congregate in areas that are keyed or entry only. Scenarios generally
eventuate after when a surfer from the outside comes to Malibu and
enters a private beach possibly attempting to surf a break
The MLO surf in keyed and private entry areas.
An avid surfer from out of the area might sneak into the area and
in turn have a run in with an MLO member and subsequently have his
car trashed, maybe even a fistfight. Thats seems to be their trademark
behavior, a standard measure to get back at outsiders.
Many of these kids are still in high school, so
they tend to congregate at local houses and parties, Some do venture
out to parties and bars, with the older members obtaining them fake
ID's in downtown LA in order to gain admittance to clubs The MLO
have been frowned upon in the local area since the beating incident
at a local party. Nowadays they are far less open about publicising
themselves as gang members
As a local business owner and father of three children
of high school age, Jay has lived in the area for the past 40 years,
also has very strong feelings about the group and their unrestrained
behavior as brazen adolescents. "They lead pampered existences
and seldom have to work or earn a living. They are trust fund kids
who dont have to pay for their car, their rent or food. "
"What ends up getting these people out of
the gang is the intervention of a lawsuit or an arrest. For the
most part, these kids lead a pampered existence and often they are
indulgent destructive and reckless until their parents eventually
kick them out of the house. They are snapped back into reality when
they end up getting older and their parents tell them they have
to move out and fend for themselves, its only then that they end
up realizing that they aren't going to be rich for their entire
The MLO also have their own clothing and jewelry
designed by Bill Wall jewelry. These are insignia fighting rings
they combine in sets of four to use as brass nuckles in fights.
The gang also have various t-shirts and hats with the initials MLO
printed in gothic text.
Clout Owner John Jacobs across from Zuma Beach
This is overblown media hype. There are some idiots
causing occasional trouble, calling themselves MLO. Ed Gibson and
Nic Nolte have been linked with the gang, and are often present
at gatherings and parties, largely due by default they have been
identified as key members. Ultimately Malibu is a small town and
often youth socialise together
This is and always has been a rich area and the
kids who are brought up rich do normal things, they surf, drink
beer, chase girls and fight, they don't sit at home studying the
piano. Like any beach community the kids meet after school after
work and on the beach, they also have wild parties and have live
There will be attention on Malibu as its a celebrity
rich area. People like Tom Hanks, and Adam Sandler surf, so the
attention will be there. As far as the MLO goes, there are about
six high profile celebrities involved with the group. They are indirectly
involved, not outspoken members. Their parents are respected people
who arent happy about their kids being aligned to the type of activity.
Written by Craig Stephens