Today, a massive gunfight between rival biker gangs in Waco, Texas left at least 9 people dead and 18 injured. “In 34 years of law enforcement, this is the worst crime scene, the most violent crime scene I have ever been involved in,” Waco Police Sargent Patrick Swanton said.
The police have not named the gangs involved, but images taken after the massacre appear to show members of the Bandidos and the Cossacks, among other gangs, who have a history of violent confrontations in the area. The gang members reportedly opened fire on the police when they arrived at the scene.
Many of the individuals involved appear to be white, including some with white supremacist tattoos and patches. One image, in particular, is raising question about whether the suspects would be treated differently if they were minorities:
— Austin Statesman (@statesman) May 17, 2015
Several commentators have noted that it’s a remarkably casual treatment of individuals who could be potential suspects for mass murder. No one is handcuffed and several people appear to have access to their cell phones.
It’s not known if any of the individuals in the photo played a direct role in the violence.
The image, of course, does not depict the full extent of the police response. The Los Angeles Times reported that, out of 150–200 bikers on the scene, “sheriff’s deputies were holding about 20 people wearing leather motorcycle vests — with their boots removed and in flex cuffs — in the parking lot.”
Many drew comparisons to Baltimore where police deployed tear gas against protesters and the National Guard was deployed. Although looting and vandalism occured, no one was killed during the Freddie Gray protests.