Sunday’s biker gang shootout in Waco, Texas—which left 9 dead, 18 injured, and over 190 arrested—and the media storm that followed have highlighted a prevalent bias both in policing and reporting on such incidents.
The incident reportedly involved five rival motorcycle gangs, which began fighting inside local Twin Peaks “breastaurant” before spilling into the parking lot. Afterwards, roughly a hundred weapons were recovered, including guns, chains, knives, bats, and clubs. Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton described the aftermath as “the most violent crime scene I have ever been involved in.”
Amid heightened scrutiny over police brutality against people of color and the recent spotlight put on killings of unarmed, Black men, the widely-circulated photographs of Waco police peaceably rounding up the mostly-white perpetrators drew immediate comparisons to images of unarmed protesters facing down police in riot gear in other places.
Other reactions focused on the aftermath of the shootout, compared with crackdowns in largely Black communities, or made light of what they saw as an inevitable police bias.
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