Three weeks after the May 17th biker shootout, it’s still not clear who instigated the fight.
Evidently at least 50 of those arrested have been released after their initial $1 million bail was reduced. Several hundred bikers also peacefully protested the mass arrests following the Twin Peaks shootout. Somehow bikers in Texas seem to have gotten the crazy notion in their head that “peaceful protest” doesn’t include looting local businesses…
Members of different gangs give conflicting accounts of the shootout. Two bikers just released claim to be members of the Los Pirados motorcycle club, and claim it was the Cossacks, not the Bandidos, starting trouble. The piece also mentions three other motorcycle gangs or clubs present besides the Bandidos and Cossacks, including two (Sons of the South and American Legion Riders) that I hadn’t seen mentioned in previous reports. Combined with those listed from previous reports, that puts members of Bandidos, Coassacks, Scimitars, Vaqueros, Los Pirados, Leathernecks, Boozefighters, Sons of the South, American Legion Riders and Veterans on the scene of the shootout.
Reason has been critical the police response to the shooting, especially since “more than 115 of the 170 people arrested in the aftermath of a motorcycle gang shootout outside a Central Texas restaurant have not been convicted of a crime in Texas.”
A longish profile of the Bandidos, which offers conflicting accounts of their current level of criminality.
On the one hand:
“They tell you up front: ‘We live by our own rules. We have our own morals, code of ethics, and this is our world,’ ” said Carlos Canino, head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Los Angeles. He described the Bandidos as “a lot rougher” than the Hells Angels, but “not as outwardly sophisticated.”
“They’ll fight at the drop of a hat,” he said of the Bandidos.
Police contend the Bandidos have stayed involved in drug trafficking, prostitution and other crimes.
On the other:
Houston lawyer Kent Schaffer, who has represented Bandidos for more than 30 years, said there are more police officers indicted on felonies every year in the Houston area than Bandidos.
He said current members are not like the men of the 1970s, “when they all had long hair, beards, missing teeth and tattoos – some of the older guys look that way, but most look like mainstream society.” They are engineers, oil field workers, computer programmers, he said, with college degrees, short hair and khaki pants.
“Most of these people have respectable jobs, pay their taxes and don’t have felony records,” Schaffer said.
“Most don’t have felony records” would seem to be damning with faint praise…
Other relevant links:
Dutch police indicted 14 members of the Bandidos, seizing a number of weapons in the process, including five rocket-propelled grenade launchers. Now, I’m not an expert on Dutch firearms law, but I’m going to guess those are not legal in civilian hands…
The Republic of Texas biker rally, far and away the largest in Texas, is in Austin June 11 through 14. I’m betting the police presence will be even heavier than usual…