Local Bikers Rally in Waco

Motorcycle enthusiasts feel they've been mischaracterized

Among the thousands of bikers who attended a rally in Waco on Sunday were several dozen from North Texas who gathered in Arlington for the drive down.

They arrived in groups and on their own, with American flags and specially made signs for the event.

Skee Dodson, out of Texoma, duct taped a sign to his windshield that read "I am not a gang member."

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"We're doctors, lawyers and brokers, but we're not gang members and I just want to make sure nobody mistakes me for a gang member," Dodson said.

Many of in the group belonged to biker clubs, but the majority felt they've been mischaracterized in the wake of a Waco shootout that involved at least five different motorcycle clubs.

Mel Robins, vice president of the Sons of Liberty Riders and a McKinney resident, helped organize the Arlington meeting spot. He said a vast majority of those in motorcycle clubs are in them to do good, not cause problems and are certainly not gang members.

"Our club, we're about to do our 3rd annual 9/11 Memorial ride," Robins said. "We enjoy to ride, we're in a club because we like to get involved in political things."

Robins says they are particularly involved with motorcycle safety and other groups do charity work year round. On Sunday, the motorcycle enthusiasts exercised their First Amendment rights as they spoke out for those still in jail in Waco following the shootout.

"It is our intent to do a peaceful, silent protest," Robins said. Riders were asked to bring signs and some made theirs before departing.

"I think we're here in solidarity to support innocent people who have gone to jail who were in the wrong spot at the wrong time," Dodson said.

More than 100 of the more than 170 arrested were charged with organized crime and remain in jail on a $1 million bond. It's a bond figure the riders feel is excessive and illegal.

Those assembled in Arlington on Sunday do recognize some of those in jail are indeed bad actors.

"But the other people who were there innocently, they're the ones that need to get out, they should have been out yesterday," Dodson said.

Their efforts led the group on a ride of over 100 miles from Arlington to Waco where they felt their voices could be heard. The group felt it was a chance for the Sons of Liberty to live up to their mission.

"For the safe keeping of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights," said Robins.

Arlington Police were present at the gathering but only served to escort the large group of riders safely through high-traffic areas between Six Flags Mall and Interstate 20.

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