If you've been following the news about the shootings in Waco during a meeting of the Confederation of Clubs and Independents in Texas, you've been inundated with reports that point the finger of blame in different directions. Was this truly a gang related shootout, as police claim. Conspiracy pundits point the finger at infiltrators placed among the riders by some law enforcement agency. Other reports indicate it was anything from a minor altercation that went terribly wrong to the unbelieveable connection of Soviet motorcycle clubs connected to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
It may take months or even longer to sort out all the news stories and claims, but one thing not readily reported on is the cost McLennan County will have to endure before the smoke clears.
It's estimated that the cost to McLennan County is about $7,958 a day to house the riders who were arrested on May 17, at the Twin Peaks Restaurant. Arresting 175 people at one time and placing them into the criminal justice system could have devastating affects on the budget, as the bill for incarceration has climbed to over $80,000 in the first week and a half after the incident. Besides the cost for housing those arrested at Twin Peaks, there is the potential for multi-million dollar lawsuits in the wake of claims of civil rights violations.
Another problem facing the county is the fact that at least 63 riders have requested court-appointed attorneys. Their fees range from $750 for first-degree felony cases with a guilty plea to $400 for third-degree and state felonies pleading guilty. They are paid these fees even if the case is dismissed. Litigation of these cases will ramp up those costs dramatically.
When considering the cost of continued incarceration, court appointed attorneys and possible legal action against the agencies involved at Twin Peaks, time will tell if the budget can withstand the strain.