By Dane Schiller
With word that Waco Police shot four of the bikers who died during the melee at outside the Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco seven months ago comes the question: Why didn’t authorities come clean months ago?
Ballistics tests show that the four dead were shot with bullets from the same type of rifles used by Waco Police officers that Sunday in May.
The Associated Press broke the story after reviewing restricted court documents that had been privately shared with defense attorneys by prosecutors.
It is still unclear which officers — all apparently members of the Special Weapons and Tactics team — fired their weapons and exactly why.
They were in hiding in vehicles in the parking lot before the start of a deadly clash between the Bandidos and Cossacks motorcycle clubs left nine people dead and dozen wounded. Also, 177 bikers were arrested and charged with engaging in organized crime.
No police or non bikers were wounded during the incident, which has fueled a wealth of accusations that authorities contributed to the violence instead of preventing it.
Houston-based community activist Quanell X, who has had a public role in the aftermath of numerous shootings, said authorities did themselves no favors by trying to keep the ballistics reports secret.
“It is extremely important to not hide information and to come out in the pubic and say we are not perfect and we ran into a crime scene that no average human being will ever see in their lifetime,” he said. “Don’t expect us to be perfect in a war zone.”
He continued: “If they would have been more transparent in the public about the facts, I absolutely believe the public would be more forgiving. Who in the public would expect them to be perfect in that type situation?
There had long been rumors that four bikers had been shot to death by officers. In fact, two days after the Twin Peaks shooting, Waco Police spokesman Sgt. Patrick Swanton was asked about it point blank by a television reporter during a news conference.
“Whoever told you that, that person belongs on CSI, because the autopsies have not been completed, and it is impossible at this point to determine that fact,” Swanton said said. “Is it possible? yes. Is it a fact? No, not until the autopsies are complete and we get those final results.”
He continued, “The information that is out there right now – if you got lucky and guessed that number correctly – congratulations,” he said. “If you did not, shame on you.”
Even though law enforcement offices say it is very likely the SWAT team members knew exactly who they hit, Swanton was likely telling the truth in that at that point testing had not been done to confirm who had been shot by officers. Going public with the wrong information would have been a mess.
Authorities have stayed silent on the matter. Waco’s Police chief later went as far as to say that his officers fired into the bikers, but he still would not say if they hit anyone.
The McLennan County District Attorney’s Office has repeatedly said it can no longer comment on anything due to a court-issued gag order in the case
“With respect to the Twin Peaks matter, this office will continue to do the right thing in seeing that Justice is done and, at this time, refrain from discussing any facts outside of court proceedings,” District Attorney Abel Reyna said via email.
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