I’m a Disabled Vet, so naturally on Veteran’s Day I was cruising the internet list of the area restaurants offering Veteran’s Day specials to find the best place to spike a free meal. As I was going along, speaking to myself; oh come on, you know you do it, too; I was saying, “Ok, Lunch at Chili’s, now for dinner. Golden corral looks good, maybe Applebee’s, oh yeah Twin Peaks…” Then I remembered, we don’t have a Twin Peaks anymore. The Keystone Cops at the Waco Police Department saw to that.
photo by kwtx tv, waco, texas
Twin Peaks was a horrible situation, and I grieve for the families of the dead bikers, but it NEVER SHOULD HAVE HAPPENED! And now the idiot that threw his face on TV every chance he got to label all motorcycle clubs (That’s what the “MC” on our jackets means) “Criminal Biker Gangs” has the audacity to run for McLennan County Sheriff. So, let’s look into both Twin Peaks and Sgt. Patrick Swanton’s credentials, shall we?
Before we look at individuals, somebody please tell me how 177 people were involved in the parking lot of Twin Peaks? That’s a lot of folks for such a small area. News Flash: if there were really that many people in the parking lot, there would have been a lot more deaths. But that didn’t stop Waco PD from racking up the numbers. Neither did innocence or guilt. These “bastions of law enforcement” went “Cops Gone Wild” and arrested everybody in a vest and charged them as being involved in organized crime and a judge slapped a 1 million dollar bond on every one of them.
Hey officer! Didja notice that those guys are with a Christian Motorcycle Group who were just there for the meeting of the Texas Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs? (A group which supports a motorcycle lobby in Austin to lobby against unfair motorcycle laws) Walt Weaver and his wife, Ester, were there for the meeting. He’s just a gearhead that works on bikes and Ester is a member of the “Queens of Sheba MC.” Now that’s a bunch of “Criminal Bikers” if I ever heard… Actually, it’s a club of women that ride to raise money for charities. Both of them were arrested for gun violations and possible involvement in the shooting. The guns were not fired and the Weavers have concealed carry permits. Either the State of Texas is issuing these permits to “Criminal Bikers” or the arrest was ludicrous. Any bets on which?
They sat in jail for 18 days. Of, course Swanton states there was “probable cause” to incarcerate 177 people. Lawyers for the bikers are going to have a field day with this one… Ok, tell me just what probable cause there was to jail Christian Motorcyclists? Did they say “Jesus loves you” too many times? How about bikers from other clubs besides the Bandidos and Cossacks that were in the restaurant eating with their families? Too much A-1 sauce on the burgers? That would raise up a red flag for me.
Let’s get on to Swanton and the Waco PD and look at how the good Sgt. fueled Law Enforcement retaliation nationwide, and why this never should have taken place. Of the 177 arrested, only 4 people are still in jail. Those arrested are being treated as if they were already presumed guilty, rather than innocent. These bikers have been placed on curfews, forbidden to associate with friends who are bikers, and the Waco PD simply says “They will have their day in court.” Sgt. Patrick Swanton (who, by the way, was not present at Twin Peaks prior to or during the incident, but was rushed in by Waco PD after the fact to be the “Face of the Waco PD” on camera) held numerous “press conferences” over the days following the shootings. In every case, he was adamant that all of the bikers in attendance at Twin Peaks that day were members of “Criminal Biker Gangs” and that every biker there was a “gang member.”
In many cases he corrected himself during video interviews when he would say “biker gangs” and quickly amend the statement to “criminal biker gangs.” When confronted by members of the media with the fact that there were, in fact, bikers there who were independent riders, members of Christian Clubs, or members of what bikers call “Mom and Pop” clubs, Swanton dismissed the idea and simply said, “They lied.” (a “Mom and Pop” club is a club that allows the women to wear the club patch and is not recognized by most outlaw clubs as needing to “swear allegiance” to the dominant club)
When confronted later by the press that many of those arrested were not members of outlaw clubs and were, in fact, innocent of any involvement he quickly stuttered out, “I can’t comment on that,” a far cry from the original statement of the allegation being a lie by the bikers, and a far cry from his original “Swanton Swagger.” Soon after that, all of his subsequent press releases were taken down and no word of any kind came forth from the Waco PD or its stalwart spokesman.
As to the reaction of the Police, it is evident that there was more there than meets the eye. All agencies, from the Waco PD, to the Texas DPS, FBI inclusive admit that there was prior intelligence that something was going down at Twin Peaks during the meeting. Also, there was police and DPS presence at Twin Peaks before the incident even began. Any law enforcement officer, and I know several as friends, will tell you that was enough probable cause to stop bikers as they entered the Twin Peaks area and check for weapons. Our dear Sgt. Swanton whined continually that Twin Peaks wouldn’t cooperate with them and cancel the “Bike Night.”
Why should they? It was a perfectly legal way of increasing business, and one used by several restaurants in Central Texas, as I’ve already noted. One, I might add, that had no history of prior violence at any venue where “Bike Night” had been held. The responsibility to prevent the situation was in the hands of Law Enforcement, not the business. Why weren’t the law enforcement officials in surrounding towns notified to check any large groups of outlaw bikers coming toward Waco? The Texas DPS surely has that authority?
Why weren’t uniforms on the parking lot? I’m sure the Waco PD had that authority, and equally sure the management of Twin Peaks wouldn’t have asked them to leave. Just the police presence walking on passive patrol on the lot would probably have caused second thoughts among the perpetrators of the incident. Oh, just a minute, there were officers in the lot. Twenty-two, to be exact, and many of those were SWAT. Why didn’t they move in immediately to stop the shoving/fistfight? Why did they wait until shots were fired to get involved, and that with “squad weapons” a term well-known to ex-military; it means automatic weapons.
Of course, that makes one think about the other rumor that has been circulating, and that is that law enforcement wanted an incident and allowed it to happen by inaction. Did they plan to be reactive rather than proactive for the purpose of ambushing the Cossacks and the Bandidos, “retiring” (military and law enforcement for “dead”) certain officers of the two clubs expected to be in attendance. Several sources at the scene, sources that have not been as readily quoted as the good Sgt., claim the first shots were fired by law enforcement. That would explain, to some, why the police refused to allow EMT to treat the wounded, even after the incident was over, nor would they allow critically injured to be put in ambulances and taken somewhere that life-saving treatment could be rendered.
I know the police could set guards on hospital rooms. After the ones they wanted to die had expired…oops, did I say that?…the less severely wounded were taken to the nearest trauma center, Scott & White Hillcrest, which was less than two miles away. My wife was in that hospital recovering from a scheduled spinal surgery at the time. When I went to see her, there were Waco PD officers at the door, stopping everybody that went in. After being questioned and acknowledging that I was, in fact, a biker, I was frisked and searched before being allowed in. I was asked continually what my business was, and after repeatedly answering that my wife was there and having to verify her room number, I snapped at the officers.
I asked why I was being treated like a criminal when all I wanted to do was visit my wife. A smart-aleck little female officer said, “Take it up with your buddies.” I fired right back with, “Do you know the difference between a Christian Biker and an Outlaw Biker?” The answer stunned me, as she said, “As far as I’m concerned, there ain’t any.” The other officer there seemed a bit taken aback, also. He told me, in an embarrassed voice, to move on, that I was holding up the line. I told him as I went toward the elevator that I hadn’t volunteered to be harassed, it was their call.
Back to the original story, why weren’t the victims of the shootings allowed medical care? Why was law enforcement there, but didn’t attempt to diffuse the situation when it was just a fistfight. Is it true that all of the nine dead died from police ordinance and not from other bikers? Why did Sgt. Swanton immediately and repeatedly refer to all of the bikers as “Criminal Bikers” and refuse to amend his statement when challenged by the media? Why haven’t the police released video files and information concerning the Twin Peaks incident if there is nothing to hide?
Why were innocent bystanders arrested and forced to spend weeks and sometimes months in jail under ridiculous bonds? Why were restaurant patrons that had their children with them arrested and taken away from their children, leaving several of these young ones to fend for themselves? Well, they all have been told they would “have their day in court” but are no closer now than they were in May? Why were writs of “Habeas Corpus” (relief from unlawful imprisonment) ignored by the court? I suppose someday the truth about Twin Peaks will be revealed, or will it be like the JFK assassination…and nobody ever knows for sure…other than the fact that nine “persons of interest” to Law Enforcement died.
The parent company of Twin Peaks, though, decided to take the cowards way out. Rather than support the rights and the decision of the franchise owner, they pulled his franchise, electing to follow in lock-step with law enforcement and place all of the blame on the restaurant, rather than the police, who could have stopped the incident at several junctures, preventing the bloodshed.
So, I offer this requiem to you, Twin Peaks. Your rights have been trampled on. Your name smeared by law enforcement that chose not to do their job. Your corporate jellied out and sold you down the river. Alas, Twin Peaks Waco. Another part of history has struck you down. And, through it all emerges a sunburned, police public relations officer, Saint Patrick (Swanton) who believes his ability to lie to a camera makes him the perfect choice for Sheriff of McLennan County. Let me put you on notice, dear Patrick…bikers vote, too.