Councilman Dave Mann abruptly resigned Tuesday night, a week after the city, he said, recognized local Bandidos motorcycle gang members during a proclamation for Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.
Mann, who was elected two years ago, is also a Tarrant County sheriff’s deputy.
Mann read a written statement before Tuesday’s council meeting, saying that he could no longer serve on a council that did not value and protect its citizens. Members from the local Bandidos motorcycle gang attended the council meeting May 8, he said.
The Texas Department of Public Safety lists the Bandidos among the most significant gangs in the state, along with the Bloods, Crips and Texas Mexican Mafia. The group was involved in the May 17, 2015, shootout with the Cossacks in Waco that left nine people dead and at least 20 injured.
“It is a sad day when city officials invite violent criminal street gangs into our city who thrive on selling heroin, marijuana, methamphetamine and other narcotics and promote prostitution, human trafficking, gun trafficking, murder and other criminal activities,” Mann wrote in his letter.
Mayor Ronald White said in an interview that he was not all that surprised by Mann’s resignation. White said Mann called him earlier in the week to say that he wasn’t happy that motorcycle gangs were recognized at the council meeting.
But White said he was not aware of any Bandidos at the meeting.
“I really don’t understand anything about motorcycle clubs or gangs as I am not around that so I don’t really know,” White said.
White said the city issues proclamations for many things, and people request proclamations from the city secretary’s office.
“I just read them. I don’t know anything about Bandidos,” he said. “I see people wearing leather jackets and all kinds of patches; I can’t tell one from the other.”
White added that councilmember Danny Anderson rides a motorcycle and wears a leather jacket with patches.
“He didn’t seem to have a problem with it,” White said, referring to the May 8 council meeting.
After Mann spoke and left the council chamber, Councilwoman Evelyn Spurlock said, “There were three groups there, and I don’t recall seeing the Bandidos.”
Other councilmembers said there were motorcycle groups at the meeting who were representing the military.
Mann’s letter also stated that White Settlement has “serious moral issues and that the city is “riddled with narcotics” and that the motels in the city have substantial prostitution problems that police are trying to clean up.
Mann shared an email from his supervisor with the Star-Telegram.
“I commend you for taking the higher road,” Capt. B Hardin wrote. “Not just as a City Councilman but as a Texas Peace Officer. We really have to watch who we associate with and it’s obvious there are some people on your City Council who prefer to associate with the wrong people.”
Mann said he repeatedly asked that the city recognize motorcycle clubs associated with first responders, the military and family-oriented activities. The letter also stated that when the motorcycle gang members were leaving the city hall, a city official “openly” invited them to the Fourth of July parade, a family friendly activity.
“I cannot be a part of a council who openly honors criminals and their illicit activities. Council members are sworn to protect our citizens!”