AUSTIN (KXAN) – Most only know about biker gangs from television shows like “Sons of Anarchy.” It is a world most are not allowed to see, and those in these biker gangs do not usually talk about what goes on inside.
But KXAN Investigator Brian Collister has gotten exclusive access over the years to members of the Bandidos Motorcycle Club, who police said were involved in the deadly Waco shooting.
The event at Twin Peaks on Sunday was organized by a coalition of biker groups called the Texas Confederation of Clubs and Independents. The president of that group and main speaker at the event is an Austin-area Bandido member.
“We seen the guys with the M16s, had everybody on the ground,” said Jimmy Graves.
That was the scene when Graves showed up to speak on Sunday in Waco.
“We had one of the inside guys call me, tell me the only thing he knows is he heard a gunshot and he saw police officers running everywhere and bullets going everywhere,” Graves added.
As head of the Texas Confederation of Clubs and Independents, Graves said the meeting was intended to be a peaceful gathering for bikers to learn about their rights, and said he has no idea yet how the fighting started, or who started it.
But in his role as a National Officer of the Bandidos, Graves strongly denies claims by police that biker gangs involved have been ordered to “kill anyone in uniform.”
“How long do you think the Bandidos motorcycle organization would last if we went out shooting at cops?” he questioned. “President Obama himself would send out the Air Force, the Army, the Marine Corp and everybody and take us out. There’s no way. We respect the police for doing their job.”
In past years, the Bandidos have been commended by local leaders in Texas for their charity work. But law enforcement officials said the bikers are simply trying to change their notoriously violent image and are really a criminal organization with hundreds of members who engage in drug dealing, prostitution and sometimes even murder.
“We do not break the law as a whole; we do not encourage it,” Graves responded. “You do not have to be a criminal to be a Bandido. We will not take criminals if we know they’re criminals. We don’t want that reputation.”
The Bandidos deny what happened Sunday was the result of a long-simmering dispute with other bikers.
Listen to more of Investigative Reporter Brian Collister’s time reporting on the Bandidos Motorcycle Club during an appearance on the Arlene Bynon talk show on Sirius/XM Radio.