Q&A about arrests in the Texas motorcycle gang shootout

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After Texas Shootout, Summer Biker Rallies Bring Rumble of Concern

DALLAS (AP) -- In the hours after a deadly shootout involving two motorcycle gangs, about 170 people were arrested at a Texas restaurant. Depending on who is asked, the suspects are gang members or innocents who merely belong to motorcycle clubs or both.

But surveillance video viewed by The Associated Press shows dozens of bikers at the Twin Peaks restaurant who were not involved in the altercation that led to Sunday's shooting in Waco. The video calls into question why so many were arrested and then jailed on unusually high bail.

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Q&A about arrests in the Texas motorcycle gang shootout
Authorities investigate a shooting in the parking lot of the Twin Peaks restaurant Sunday, May 17, 2015, in Waco, Texas. Authorities say that the shootout victims were members of rival biker gangs that had gathered for a meeting. (AP Photo/Jerry Larson)
WACO, TX - MAY 18: Motorcyles sit in the parking lot of the Twin Peaks restaurant, the scene of a motorcyle gang shootout, May 18, 2015 in Waco, Texas. A shootout between rival biker gangs began in the afternoon May 17, led to nine dead, many injured and 170 arrerested. (Photo by Erich Schlegel/Getty Images)
FILE - In this May 17, 2015 file photo, authorities investigate a shooting in the parking lot of the Twin Peaks restaurant, in Waco, Texas. Six witnesses say they heard a few pistol shots before automatic fire took over during a shootout last month at a Waco Twin Peaks restaurant. Police have acknowledged firing on armed bikers, but say they cannot address how many of the nine dead and 18 wounded were shot by bikers and how many were shot by officers. (AP Photo/Jerry Larson, File)
Law enforcement continue to investigate the motorcycle gang related shooting at the Twin Peaks restaurant, Monday, May 18, 2015, in Waco, Texas, where nine were killed Sunday and over a dozen injured. About 170 gang members charged with engaging in organized crime are each being held on a $1 million bond and authorities say charges of capital murder are expected in the wake of the Central Texas shooting. (AP Photo/Jerry Larson)
People stand as officers investigate a shooting in the parking lot of the Twin Peaks restaurant Sunday, May 17, 2015, in Waco, Texas. Authorities say that the shootout victims were members of rival biker gangs that had gathered for a meeting. (AP Photo/Jerry Larson)
WACO, TX - MAY 18: Law enforcement officials stands at the scene of a motorcyle gang shootout theTwin Peaks restaurant May 18, 2015 in Waco, Texas. A shootout between rival biker gangs began in the afternoon May 17, led to nine dead, many injured and 170 arrerested. (Photo by Erich Schlegel/Getty Images)
Law enforcement continue to investigate the motorcycle gang related shooting at the Twin Peaks restaurant, Monday, May 18, 2015, in Waco, Texas, where 9 were killed Sunday and over a dozen injured. Waco police on Monday announced the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission closed Twin Peaks for a week amid safety concerns. (AP Photo, Jerry Larson)
FILE - In this May 17, 2015 file photo, authorities investigate a shooting in the parking lot of the Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco, Texas. Police shot bikers in the deadly shootout that erupted last spring outside a Texas restaurant, though it remains unclear if their bullets caused any of the nine fatalities, according to evidence reviewed by The Associated Press. (AP Photo/Jerry Larson, File)
Police detain and watch members of various motorcycle clubs outside the Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco, Texas, Sunday, May 17, 2015. A shootout among rival motorcycle gangs at a popular Texas restaurant left nine bikers dead and more than a dozen injured, a police spokesman said Sunday. (AP Photo/John L. Mone)
Authorities investigate a shooting in the parking lot of the Twin Peaks restaurant Sunday, May 17, 2015, in Waco, Texas. Authorities say that the shootout victims were members of rival biker gangs that had gathered for a meeting. (AP Photo/Jerry Larson)
Authorities investigate a shooting in the parking lot of the Twin Peaks restaurant Sunday, May 17, 2015, in Waco, Texas. Authorities say that the shootout victims were members of rival biker gangs that had gathered for a meeting. (AP Photo/Jerry Larson)
WACO, TX - MAY 18: Waco Police Department Public Affairs Officer Sgt. Patrick Swanton gives a press conference in front of the Twin Peaks restaurant May 18, 2015 in Waco, Texas. A shootout between rival biker gangs began in the afternoon May 17, led to nine dead, many injured and 170 arrerested. (Photo by Erich Schlegel/Getty Images)
Waco Police Sgt. Patrick Swanton addresses the media as law enforcement continues to investigate the motorcycle gang related shooting at the Twin Peaks restaurant, Monday, May 18, 2015, in Waco, Texas, where nine were killed Sunday and over a dozen injured. About 170 gang members charged with engaging in organized crime are each being held on a $1 million bond and authorities say charges of capital murder are expected in the wake of the Central Texas shooting. (AP Photo, Jerry Larson)
Police detain and watch members of various motorcycle clubs near a Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco, Texas, Sunday, May 17, 2015. A shootout among rival motorcycle gangs at the popular Texas restaurant left nine bikers dead and more than a dozen injured, a police spokesman said Sunday. (AP Photo/John L. Mone)
This combination of booking photos provided by the McLennan County Sheriff's office shows people arrested during the motorcycle gang related shooting at the Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco, Texas on Sunday, May 17, 2015. Top row from left; Ray Allen, Brian Brincks, Salvador Campos, Richard Cantu and David Cepeda. Middle row from left; Bohar Crump, James David, James Devoll, Matthew Folse and Juan Garcia. Bottom row from left; Mario Gonzalez, James Gray, Jim Harris, Michael Herring and Tommy Jennings. (McLennan County Sheriff's Office via AP)
This combination of booking photos provided by the McLennan County Sheriff's office shows people arrested during the motorcycle gang related shooting at the Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco, Texas on Sunday, May 17, 2015. Top row from left; Jonathan Lopez, Richard Luther, Michael Lynch, Sandra Lynch, Eleazar Martinez and Tom Mendez. Middle row from left; Marshall Mitchell, Diego Obledo, Danny Oehlert, Larry Pina, Jerry Pollard and Jimmy Pond. Bottom row from left; Clayton Reed, Rolando Reyes, Sergio Reyes, Kyle Smith, Jimmy Spencer and Blake Taylor. (McLennan County Sheriff's Office via AP)
This booking photo provided by the McLennan County Sheriff's office shows Martin Lewis. Lewis, a retired San Antonio police detective, was among about 170 people arrested during the motorcycle gang related shooting at the Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco, Texas, Sunday, May 17, 2015. (McLennan County Sheriff's Office via AP)
This combination of booking photos provided by the McLennan County Sheriff's office shows people arrested during the motorcycle gang related shooting at the Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco, Texas, Sunday, May 17, 2015. Top row from left to right; Jorge Salinas, Bobby Samford, Phillip Sampson, Andrew Sandoval and Timothy Satterwhite. Second row from left to right; Trey Short, Phillip Smith, Seth Smith, Seth Smith and Christopher Stainton. Third row from left to right; James Stallings, Andrew Stroer, Bradley Terwilliger, Michael Thomas and Christian Valencia. Fourth row from left to right; Jose Valle, Royce Vanvleck, James Venable, John Vensel and Justin Waddington. Fifth row from left to right; Daryle Walker, Glenn Walker, Steven Walker, Ronald Warren and Reginald Weathers. (McLennan County Sheriff's Office via AP)
This combination of booking photos provided by the McLennan County Sheriff's office shows people arrested during the motorcycle gang related shooting at the Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco, Texas, Sunday, May 17, 2015. Top row from left to right: Edward Keller, Lawrence Kemp, Michael Kenes, Drew King and Jeremy King. Second row from left to right: Richard Kreder, Thomas Landers, Jarrod Lehman, Martin Lewis and Brian Logan. Third row from left to right: Narciso Luna, David Martinez, John Martinez, Josh Martin and Terry Martin. Fourth row from left to right: Benjamin Matcek, Joseph Matthews, Wesley McAlister, Dustin McCann and Billy McRee. Fifth row from left to right: Rudy Mercado, Juventino Montellano, Michael Moore, Jason Moreno and John Moya. (McLennan County Sheriff's Office via AP)
This combination of booking photos provided by the McLennan County Sheriff's office shows people arrested during the motorcycle gang related shooting at the Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco, Texas, Sunday, May 17, 2015. Top row from left to right: Noe Adame, William Aikin, John Arnold, Ronald Atterbury and Colter Bajovich. Second row from left to right: Owen Bartlett, Jeff Battey, Michael Baxley, Timothy Bayless and Richard Benavides. Third row from left to right: Burton Bergman, Ronnie Bishop, Mitchell Bradford, Robert Bucy and Kenneth Carlisle. Fourth row from left to right: Aaron Carpenter, Christopher Carrizal, Jason Cavazos, Rene Cavazos and Nathan Champeau. Fifth row from left to right: Michael Chaney, Matthew Clendennen, Lindell Copeland, Greg Corrales and Roy Covey. (McLennan County Sheriff's Office via AP)
This combination of booking photos provided by the McLennan County Sheriff's office shows people arrested during the motorcycle gang related shooting at the Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco, Texas, Sunday, May 17, 2015. Top row from left to right: Eliodoro Munguia, Doss Murphy, Robert Nichols, Jeremy Ojeda and Joseph Ortiz. Second row from left to right: Anthony Palmer, Melvin Pattenaude, Julie Perkins, Daniel Pesina and Ares Poinix. Third row from left to right: Marcus Pilkington, Anders Ramirez, Kevin Rash, David Rasor and William Redding. Fourth row from left to right: Jacob Reese, Owen Reeves, Theron Rhoten, Kristoffer Rhyne and Robert Robertson. Fifth row from left to right: Craig Rodahl, Christopher Rogers, George Rogers, James Rosas and Gregory Salazar. (McLennan County Sheriff's Office via AP)
This combination of booking photos provided by the McLennan County Sheriff's office shows people arrested during the motorcycle gang related shooting at the Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco, Texas, Sunday, May 17, 2015. Top row from left to right: John Craft, Ryan Craft, Richard Dauley, Marco Dejong and Jason Dillard. Second row from left to right: Richard Donias, Christopher Eaton, Brian Eickenhorst, James Eney and Morgan English. Third row from left to right: William English, Nate Farish, Don Fowler, Justin Garcia and Lawrence Garcia. Fourth row from left to right: Lance Geneva, Nathan Grindstaff, Valdemar Guajardo, John Guerrero and Bryan Harper. Fifth row from left to right: Arley Harris, Raymond Hawes, Jarron Hernandez, Daniel Johnson and Edgar Kelleher. (McLennan County Sheriff's Office via AP)
This combination of booking photos provided by the McLennan County Sheriff's office shows people arrested during the motorcycle gang related shooting at the Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco, Texas, Sunday, May 17, 2015. Top row from left to right: Ester Weaver, Walter Weaver, Mark White, John Wiley and Jacob Wilson. Second row from left to right: John Wilson, Gregory Wingo, Michael Woods, Ricky Wycough and Gage Yarborough. Third row from left to right: Lawrence Yager, Matthew Yocum and Gilbert Zamora. (McLennan County Sheriff's Office via AP)
DEVELOPING: 9 dead and multiple injuries following a shooting at a restaurant in Waco, Texas http://t.co/HLMqbIyPXY http://t.co/o3dXIzP37b
WACO SHOOTING: -9 Dead -Several Arrested -3 Crime Scenes -Police Fear Retaliation MORE: http://t.co/RzvgzFUeIS … http://t.co/1Ij8pf8lzV
UPDATE: Nine reported dead in #Waco restaurant melee involving #motorcycle gangs http://t.co/8wm6eD224w http://t.co/U79eB50Obl
Anarchy in Waco. Nine dead in Twin Peaks biker shooting. #khou11 http://t.co/DsJtlcCpq4 Photo: @KCENNews http://t.co/mzoSKet8jH
BREAKING! Multiple FATALITIES from biker gang SHOOTOUT in Waco, Texas: Apparently there has been a sh... http://t.co/P3A5kIZSU7 #mcgnews
Multiple people dead in Waco after argument between rival biker gangs ends in shootout http://t.co/GmRrDr4g3z via Mashable
Nine dead, others injured in Waco biker brawl http://t.co/5zkVJX0BOP http://t.co/235iKhqUhY
9 dead in Waco, TX shooting. 3 rival biker gangs open fire against each other in parking lot. http://t.co/hVvPdpaOFt http://t.co/M7IqHQwNpN
BREAKING: 9 dead, others injured after shooting between rival biker gangs in Waco, TX>> http://t.co/8VQEjDDA6r http://t.co/cnPyYjtDY6
RT CBSNews "BREAKING: Several killed in shootout between rival biker gangs in Waco, Texas, police say - … http://t.co/9L9FeRsLKe"
9 dead in Texas restaurant shootout http://t.co/10EVfoFBTJ
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Here's an explanation of the charges, bail and other factors at play in the case:

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WHY ARE SO MANY CHARGED WITH ENGAGING IN ORGANIZED CRIMINAL ACTIVITY?

Texas law says a person participates in organized crime when that person commits any number of offenses as a member of a "criminal street gang."

David LaBahn, president and CEO of the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys in Washington, D.C., said Texas is one of a handful of states with this charge on its books. The charge is meant to disrupt gang activity and is often applied when multiple crimes occur simultaneously.

Suspects don't necessarily have to commit a criminal act to be charged with engaging in organized crime. They can be culpable if they essentially allowed the crime to happen, LaBahn said.

He also said arresting 170 people is not unusual. As a prosecutor in California, he saw protests at abortion clinics where large numbers of demonstrators were arrested for failing to disperse.

Many of those jailed in Texas will probably see their charges reduced, if not dismissed, as prosecutors sort out which bikers participated in the violence, which were bystanders and which cooperated with authorities, LaBahn said.

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IS THE BAIL REASONABLE?

McLennan County Justice of the Peace W.H. Peterson told the Temple Daily Telegram that he wanted to send a message when he imposed the $1 million bail for each person arrested Sunday.

"The atrocity of the incident, the impact on the community and a bunch of other things figured in, but the main thing was the high death count," Peterson said. "Nine people were killed. It was all brought on by a brawl."

Concern that more violence could follow if the bikers were able to leave jail quickly was probably another reason for the high bail, according to Amanda Peters, an associate professor at South Texas College of Law who previously worked as a prosecutor in Harris County.

Bail is not meant "to be a tool of oppression of the government," she said. Instead it's intended to ensure that a defendant returns to court.

"I have seen bail amounts set this high in high-profile cases," Peters said. "And it's usually set this high to allow authorities to determine what's going on."

But other considerations in establishing bail are a person's criminal background and likelihood of fleeing. She said bail will probably drop significantly as defense attorneys challenge the amount.

Judges have guidelines that are used to determine bail, Peters and others say, but they can also use their personal discretion.

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HOW MUCH MONEY DO THE BIKERS HAVE TO POST TO BE RELEASED?

Unless a judge reduces their $1 million bail, the bikers will have to post at least 10 percent of that amount, or $100,000, to be freed. They will have to work with a bondsman who will put up the other 90 percent. A bondsman will often require collateral, such as a car or a home, before accepting a client, Peters said.

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COULD POLICE HAVE INTERVENED EARLIER TO PREVENT THE GATHERING AND SHOOTOUT?

Earlier this week, Waco police said that prior to the shootout, authorities received intelligence that the motorcycle gangs would be gathering at Twin Peaks for a meeting.

But, said Police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton, police could not have prevented the gathering, or the subsequent violence because the meeting occurred at a private business.

The Constitution guarantees the right to assemble peacefully.

"We really don't want police to go in anytime we don't like a gathering of people," said Cynthia Alkon, an associate professor of criminal law and dispute resolution at Texas A&M University.

Police have to know of a crime or conspiracy that's being planned or expected to occur before they can disrupt an event, she said.

"Folks simply gathering who are not a liked group of people doesn't rise to the level of a criminal conspiracy," Alkon said.

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