“May 17, 2015 started off like any other lazy Sunday in Waco, Tx…” How many articles have you seen that started out just like that, then turned the eye on Twin Peaks and the “Biker Shootout?” For most in McLennan County and the rest of the Nation, that’s how the day is remembered. But some of us remember it differently. We remember it as “The Day McLennan County Finally Out-did the Embarrassment of the David Koresh Incident.” Yes, just as Jimmy Carter is no longer considered the worst President in history, Janet Reno is now off the hook as the worst embarrassment in McLennan County.
How can I make that claim? Wasn’t Twin Peaks a horrible, gruesome incident that shocked Waco and the Nation with its violence? Yes, of course, but it was also the day that District Attorney Abel Reyna, Police Chief Brent Stroman, Justice of the Peace Pete Peterson, Waco Detective Manual Chavez, and Waco Police Sgt. Patrick Swanton LOST THEIR COLLECTIVE MINDS! They didn’t go it alone, no, no, no, they took the whole Waco Police Department, the Judicial System, and a whole troop of assorted law enforcement players with them.
We could go all the way back and ask why twenty-two officers including SWAT and DPS did nothing to stop the altercation on the parking lot until bullets were fired. Seems to me if they knew in advance that something was going to happen, then the pushing contest that led to a fist-fight would be a big clue that it was going down. Pretty much? One would think… We could also ask where the witness is that said the Police fired the first shot. But these are questions to be asked during the present investigation, and hopefully in the subsequent investigation of the above mentioned men.
Our starting place is the round-up of any and everybody wearing a biker patch, no matter where they were during the incident, and absolutely trampling on their collective, 1st, 2nd,4th, and 14th Amendment rights. First, whether a fight broke out or not, the rest of the people not involved had the Constitutional right to “peaceful assembly.” Let me point out here, to all of the people in the nation who have been played like fools, this was not a rendition of the OK Corral where everybody that rode a motorcycle was involved in the melee. The activity was confined to fifteen or twenty members of two or three clubs.
The Texas Confederation of Clubs & Independents has a list of member clubs and associations that includes several Christian Motorcycle Clubs, several charitable associations (Bikers Against Child Abuse, Queens of Sheba) and several veterans groups, including VFW, American Legion, Combat Veterans, and others. They were there for the Central Texas Meeting to discuss the coming agenda of laws in the State Legislature that were of interest to bikers and what to look for in the coming elections of 2016. They had reserved the patio area for the meeting, so as not to interrupt diners inside. In fact, several of the bikers were next door at Don Carlos Restaurant eating and were assaulted by Law Enforcement when they ran outside to see what was going on.
Nevertheless, One Hundred & Seventy-Seven (177 for the law enforcement that can’t read big words, like Habeas Corpus) people were arrested and charged with a blanket warrant of “Engaging in Organized Crime.” As Breitbart.com, a leading news entity reports:
If thirty guys were fighting who were the other 140 that were arrested? The Christian Ministries, the Veterans Clubs, and everyone else who attended a COCI meeting aimed at keeping bikers safe, biker legislation, and scheduling biker events? So now your local motorcycle minister is locked up on a 1 million dollar bond.
Here comes the embarrassing part of this segment. Justice of the Peace “Pete” Peterson was rousted out of his Sunday nap to issue these arrest warrants by the good DA Abel Reyna. You remember old Abe don’t you? He’s the candidate back in 2012 who was suspiciously let go several times when his blood alcohol levels exceeded 1.0 when driving at night. Yep, he was still elected District Attorney and backed by the Party Machine. Want to bet on that horse again, guys? Reyna convinced Peterson to release to him warrants with the names and details not filled out so he could take them down to the holding center and “fill-in-the-blanks” after the warrants arrived. Is that enough to look a “special kind of stupid?”
Apparently not, because Peterson then proceeded to set a one million dollar bond across the board, without looking at the individual cases. His reason? As quoted in the Waco Tribune, Peterson said,
“I think it is important to send a message. We had nine people killed in our community. These people just came in, and most of them were from out of town, very few of them were from in town.”
Isn’t that a bit like saying, “Take that, you scoundrels?” The Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association thinks so. They filed a complaint against Peterson alleging he violated the Texas Constitution, Judicial Canons… oh …and the law by, “illegally setting $1 million bonds without considering any of the factors he was required to consider in setting bonds.” That’s rough when 3,000 people who are all lawyers are against you.
Now what did that pesky 14th Amendment say, “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” Oopseee! Of course, the visiting Judge that is setting the case for the hearings is still deciding that the Police had “probable cause” in the arrests. He must be scared of backlash from Parnell McNamara ….. people die in his jail.
Enter, Waco Police Sgt. Patrick Swanton to further muddy the waters. Swanton is the Public Relations Officer (ironically: PRO) for the Waco PD. No, Swanton was not at the scene when the incident went down. Yes, he was obviously coached on what to say. Remember, Swanton is the guy who skyrocketed to National Fame by appearing on the news channels, both local and cable, to coin the infamous phrase, “Criminal Biker Gangs.” It’s obvious that he’s a little like a Washington Politician … He can’t read his “que-cards” … because he had to back up several times when he just said “Biker Gangs” instead of including the tag “Criminal.” And, he was informed … for the sake of the cameras … that there were only four or five Biker Gangs, excuse me, CRIMINAL Biker Gangs present at Twin Peaks.
Let’s quickly, for the record, list the clubs KNOWN to be in attendance at a political agenda meeting of a licensed lobby:
- Bandidos MC (Criminal Biker Gang #1)
- Cossacks MC (Criminal Biker Gang #2)
- Scimitars MC (Criminal Biker Gang#3)
- Sons of the South MC
- Gypsys MC (A Ride Group that allows women to wear “patches”)
- Honorbound Motorcycle Ministry (A Christian Ministry considered a Criminal Biker Gang by the Waco PD)
- Renatus MC (A Texas Hill Country Club that focuses on youth leadership and brotherhood considered a Criminal Biker Gang by the Waco PD)
- Leathernecks MC (A Marines Veterans Club considered a Criminal Biker Gang by the Waco PD)
- In Country Vets MC (A Vietnam Vets Club also considered a Criminal Biker Gang by the Waco PD)
- Christian Motorcyclists Association (Another Christian Outreach to bikers, of which I am a member, still considered a Criminal Biker Gang by the Waco PD)
This list is anything but exhaustive (“not complete” for Abel Reyna and others who need single syllable words to communicate), but gives a stunning overview of the attempt made by the Waco PD through Sgt. Patrick Swanton to paint the gathering as a Biker version of the “OK Corral.” Swanton said, in one of his “Press Releases” that the attendees at the COCI were:
“A bunch of criminal element biker members that came to Waco and tried to instill violence into our community and unfortunately did just that…. This is not a bunch of doctors and dentists and lawyers riding Harleys. These are criminals on Harley-Davidsons.”
No, Sgt. Swanton, these are not Doctors and Lawyers and Dentists. These are Doctors, Dentists, Lawyers, Clergy, Businessmen, Mechanics, Government Employees, Housewives, and Fathers riding Harleys. Your attempt to cover up the travesty that was committed by Law Enforcement is an insult to these motorcycle riders who were in attendance at Twin Peaks but were, in no way, connected to the situation between the Cossacks and the Bandidos. You idiots arrested 177 people that included Ministers, Businessmen, Housewives, and many others that were there that day just because they like to ride motorcycles. You did not go through the proper procedures of vetting each of them. You simply took Able Reyna’s “rubber-stamp” warrants and booked all 177 people on the absurd charge of “Engaging in Organized Crime.”
Was it really a mass attempt to engage in organized crime, despite the inclusion of Veterans, Christian, and charity groups being among those arrested? Not according to a Waco Trib report cited in an article on Breitbart:
Steve Cochran, a national bikers’ rights advocate from Waco who witnessed the melee, blamed the incident entirely on the Cossacks. Cochran, who is a founder of the Waco chapter of the Sons of the South, is an official with the U.S. Defenders Task Force, a legislative group affiliated with the Texas Confederacy of Clubs and Independents.
He arrived at Twin Peaks on Sunday to set up a sound system for the COC&I meeting, only to find that the violence already had started.
Bandidos members were to be part of the meeting, which was to focus on legislative issues common to all bikers, Cochran said. He said police gave no indication to him or other COC&I members that their lives might be in danger.
“These meetings have gone on for 20 years, and we’ve gone all these years without a single incident until Sunday,” he said.
Does the Waco PD, District Attorney’s Office, and the Court really understand just how embarrassing this is to the people of McLennan County? Obviously certain lawyers do, because the lawsuits started trickling in. Before it’s over, we can probably expect the trickle to become a flood. As of November 19, 2015 five of the 177 bikers jailed have filed federal lawsuits against … wait for it … the City of Waco, District Attorney Able Reyna, Waco Police Chief Brent Stroman, Waco Detective Manual Chavez (who drafted the warrants used to arrest 177 bikers), and an “un-named officer of the Texas Department of Public Safety.”
The lawsuits allege that the 4th and 14th amendment rights of these bikers were violated. This doesn’t include the suits that will come because of loss of wages, small business failures, and family conflicts caused by the incarceration of these men. These guys will easily break the good Sheriff Parnell McNamara’s record for money cost to the county. Oh, yeah, the Weavers weren’t the only ones arrested on a weapons violation that actually had a “concealed carry” permit. Gotta factor those in, too. Hey, maybe Janet Reno won’t be the only one breathing a sigh of relief after all…..