A state biker organization is urging people to call and write Waco and Texas authorities to demand the release of bikers from the McLennan County Jail, while the local Hooters is asking its customers not to display signs of motorcycle club affiliation inside its establishment.
Steve “Dozer” Cochran, of Waco, said the Texas Confederation of Clubs and Independents has issued a call to action to those who feel injustice has occurred after the deadly shooting May 17 at Twin Peaks resulted in 175 behind bars, nine dead and 18 injured.
The organization is asking people to call, email or fax a letter to the White House, Gov. Greg Abbott, the Supreme Court, Waco Mayor Malcolm Duncan Jr., senators, city officials, the sheriff’s department, judges, and others, demanding the immediate release of bikers they say are being held unlawfully.
Cochran said local authorities have overreached and delivered a false narrative to the community of what happened in the deadly shooting. Local authorities have mischaracterized bikers, destroying lives and livelihoods, and created devastation and irreparable damage in the way they’ve handled the investigation, he said.
“It may not be a crime, but it damn sure ain’t right,” he said, referring to police action since the shooting.
Cochran, a state co- director, along with Sandra Lynch — one of the 175 arrested — of the U.S. Defenders Legislative Strike Force, a biker advocacy group, scheduled the COC&I meeting at Twin Peaks to discuss legislative matters. Cochran belongs to Sons of the South MC, while Lynch, of Mart, is president of the Los Pirados MC.
Cochran said authorities never contacted him about the meeting, which he and Lynch reserved space for and had on the group’s calendar two months prior.
There are other events that followed the shooting that don’t pass the “sniff test,” he said. With the magnitude of what occurred that day, Waco police began to give a narrative 90 minutes after it occurred, instead of saying it was too soon to explain the situation, he said. Cochran said that indicates the police knew in advance two rival gangs would be in attendance, yet still allowed law-abiding residents they were sworn to protect to sit down at the restaurant despite possible danger.
“I was there. I heard a lot of gun fire. A lot. And guess what, it was the police,” he said.
Cochran said local officials are now backtracking with the recent reduction of the $1 million bail for several inmates. Six bikers have been released from jail after agreements to reduce their $1 million bonds.
Cochran said he’s asking Gov. Abbott to give control of the investigation to another agency, instead of Waco police.
“I’ve spent my life working for motorcycle rights,” he said. “I’ve spent my life trying to overcome the stigma that’s on the motorcycle community by things that happened 20 to 30 years ago and TV shows that take place that make us out to be something we’re not.”
Cochran, who has lived in the area for 24 years, said he’s too old to fix the stigmas he faces but he’s determined to leave the perception of the motorcycle community better for his family, especially his grandson, who just purchased a motorcycle.
“He grew up riding on the back of mine,” he said. “He doesn’t deserve to be treated like that.”
Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton said the police department is still leading the investigation and is being assisted by the Texas Rangers, DPS criminal investigation division, ATF and FBI. Swanton also disputed the notion that Waco police, or any other agency involved with the investigation, have been anything less than forthcoming and honest with the public since the incident took place.
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