Is it Waco, TX or Whacko, TX?
Too many questions, not enough answers, even less outrage
In the aftermath of the terrible outbreak of violence that occurred at the Twin Peaks in Waco Texas, there is an increasing tide of confusion, misinformation, and obfuscation. And the number of unanswered questions is rapidly increasing.
We understand from the police statements that the initial meeting of bikers at the Twin Peaks was a conference to discuss territorial disputes between rival outlaw gangs. But, this is not true. The conference was a regularly scheduled meeting organized by the Texas Confederation of Clubs & Independents to discuss current legislation that affects biker safety and rights. This meeting has occurred regularly every couple of months for many years in communities around the state without there ever being any prior incidents of notable violence.
Knowing that, a number of questions start to arise about the police presence.
· When did the Waco Police Department (WPD) or other law enforcement (LE) first find out about the potential for two or more bike clubs meeting at the Twin Peak (TP) restaurant on the date of the incident?
· What was the basis of the information?
· Did the Waco Police Department (WPD) ever receive any information that the Twin Peak Restaurant meeting of bike clubs was a legislative assembly meeting?
· Did the WPD prior to the incident ever understand that the event was being arranged by the Texas Confederation of Clubs and Independents (TCCI)?
· Did the WPD have information prior to the event that the TCCI event was an invitation to a large and varied number of clubs from the region?
· Did the WPD have information prior to the event of the background and composition of the various member clubs to the TCCI?
· Did the WPD conduct any investigation prior to the event to ascertain who was expected to attend the TP meeting?
· If so, who was involved and what was the information developed?
· What efforts were undertaken, if any, by the WPD to further investigate the backgrounds and membership of potential TCCI attendees?
· Did the WPD or anyone in LE attempt to discuss the called meeting at the TP facility with any of the member clubs?
· What information did they request of Twin Peaks or the Confederation about the event?
· Did the WPD have any reason to anticipate any “problems” or conflict at the event?
· If so, on what basis of information?
· When was this information received?
· From whom and to whom?
· What steps did the WPD take in anticipation of this event to avoid any incident?
· What instructions were given to WPD officers or other LE prior to the event?
· Were any communications initiated between WPD and TP management before the event?
· If so, what and by whom?
· Was this to both TP national franchisor and local franchisee?
· Were any communications initiated between the WPD and Confederation officers before the event?
· If so, what and by whom?
· What time did the TP restaurant open for business with the general public on the date of the incident?
· Were any communications initiated by the WPD or other LE to individual invitees arriving on motorcycles to TP restaurant prior to the incident?
· If so, what was the nature of the communications?
· If not, why not?
· Was the WPD or other LE aware of non-biker invitees at the restaurant at the time of the incident?
· Did WPD communicate with any other law enforcement (LE) agency about the upcoming TP event?
· If so, which LE agencies and what was communicated?
· Did other LE agencies participate in the planning of a preparedness and response to this event?
· If so, which agencies were involved and who were the persons in charge?
· Did LE initiate any surveillance of the TP restaurant prior to the event?
· If so, when did this start, who was in charge, and how many cameras or other equipment were utilized?
· Since some LE anticipated some potential for violence at the TP meeting, what was done to defuse any potential for violence in advance of the meeting?
· Has LE in Waco ever had a meeting of Confederation Clubs or other bike groups in the past?
· Was LE in Waco aware of weekly “bike nights” that had been going on at the TP restaurant for many weeks prior to this event?
· Was LE in Waco aware of any significant prior disturbances or other complaints or reports at any of these bike nights which necessitated police involvement?
· If so, please identify the number of times such has occurred to their knowledge and what, if any, police involvement was necessitated?
Furthermore, the Waco Police Department states that the gangs started shooting each other and that the police were called in to restore order. However, this also brings up an additional wave of questions.
· Did the WPD or others in LE have any “undercover” agents in the parking lot or in the TP restaurant on the date of the incident?
· Did the WPD or others in LE have any “undercover” agents operating within any of the clubs with membership in the TCCI at the time of the incident?
· If so, were any of those undercover agents in attendance at the TP restaurant?
· Did the WPD or others in Le have any undercover agents posing as employees of the TP restaurant on the date of the incident?
· Did the WPD or other LE make any efforts at the TP restaurant or elsewhere to warn any potential invitees to the restaurant of the concern for any incident?
· If so, what was done.
· If not, why not?
· Did the WPD or other LE make any efforts to forewarn the workforce at the TP restaurant of the potential for any type of violence on the date of the incident?
· If so, what was involved in this incident preparedness?
· If no such efforts were made, why not?
· Did WPD draft any preparatory statements or press releases in anticipation of the event?
· If so, who was involved?
· How many LE officers were organized to provide oversight at the TP meeting of the Confederation?
· Which LE agencies were involved?
· Did any LE agency provide military level equipment, high powered rifles, silencer or suppressor equipment or other specialized or military weaponry?
· If so, which agencies and what equipment?
· Did any LE agency set up in advance of the meeting time (1pm CST) in a defensive position within sight of the TP restaurant?
· If so, how many officers, where we they located, and what firepower were they equipped with?
· How many LE officers were assigned to the parking lot area of the event?
· How many Le officers were assigned to monitor the inside of the TP premises?
· Was any surveillance equipment installed inside the TP restaurant?
· If so, what equipment and where was it installed?
· Did LE utilize any staging drawings, diagrams, photos, or other similar demonstrative layouts of the premises and/or the areas around the premises prior to the event to canvas in any way the area which may be involved for any raid or operation at the TP facility?
· Did LE locate any LE personnel to “hidden” or difficult to see locations?
· If so, how many such personnel were staged and at what locations?
· If so, why would LE strategically assign personnel to such locations?
· Did LE place sufficient identifiable personnel in the parking lot areas and inside the restaurant to temper any situation?
· Did LE request that any firearms or other weapons be checked or otherwise identified by the attendees on arrival?
· Did LE bring non-lethal weapons or equipment for dispersement or crowd control such as tear gas, tazers, rubber bullets, etc. to the premises?
· If not, why not?
· If so, where any utilized?
· If not, why not?
· Did LE have any specially trained “riflemen”, “snipers” or other personnel on site?
· If so, how many, what where their instructions, where were they stationed and what equipment were they utilizing?
· Did LE shoot at any person on the premises at the time of the incident?
· If so, which officers, what equipment and how many “rounds” were utilized?
· Did LE personnel, at any time before the incident, discuss who to shoot at and who not to shoot at?
· Did any LE personnel plant any additional evidence on the scene?
· Did any LE personnel have anyone assigned to issue any orders to shoot, in self-defense or otherwise?
· How were any such orders to be communicated? Signals? Audio?
· Did anyone in LE notify anyone with the jail or the judiciary of the pending incident?
· If so, which LE personnel were involved, and which persons with the jailing facility and the judiciary?
· Was the District Attorney’s office notified in advance?
· What if anything, were the subjects of such conversations?
· Did anyone in LE seek legal advice regarding preparations for the incident?
· If so, whom and what was the nature of the inquiry?
· Were local medical facilities informed in advance to prepare for any potential shooting victims or victims of other violence associated with the event?
· If so, who was involved in those communications?
· Who were the persons in LE charged with the responsibilities of initiating arrests as a result of the incident?
· Who established the parameters of what constituted probable cause to arrest any of the invitees to the TP restaurant?
· Did the WPD or LE have sufficient probable cause on each and every person arrested on the date of the incident at the time the arrests were made?
· If so, what established blanket probable cause for each and every person?
· Did the WPD or others in LE confiscate and impound the motorcycles of each business invitee to the TP restaurant?
· If so, on what legal basis?
· Did the WPD or others confiscate all personal items of each arrested person, including cameras, cell phones, and personal items?
· Did the WPD initially grossly over report the number of “weapons” confiscated from the attendees of the event?
· How many of each category of such alleged “weapons” are now officially logged?
· Of those items, how many are now identified as “illegally possessed” items?
· Is it true that all the items confiscated and identified to the press are items which can be legally possessed in Texas?
· Is it true that even firearms can be legally possessed by persons in Texas under concealed gun permits?
· Were any of the WPD personnel or other LE personnel involved in this incident any of the persons who received any reprimand, suspension or termination as a result of the WPD scandals associated to double charging taxpayers for OT that wasn’t earned?
· If so, which personnel?
· Are any of the WPD personnel, other LE personnel, or others in the District Attorney’s office or the judiciary running for the same or other public office again this year?
· If so, please identify each one.
Then, in the aftermath of the incident, after 9 were killed, 20 were injured, and over 175 people were arrested, further questions started to surface.
· Did any of the LE personnel have dash cameras, body cameras or other video or audio monitoring equipment?
· Where is all such evidence now identified and preserved?
· Why has the WPD and/or other LE agencies refused to disclose surveillance video to the general public, in spite of a court order to do so?
· Did any LE personnel say anything derogatory about any of the expected attendees before the event?
· If so, which personnel and what was said?
· Has LE made any effort to ascertain the identity of the man shown standing outside the adjacent Carlos Restaurant.
· Who were the persons in LE charged with the responsibilities of investigating the incident?
· Who are the persons in charge of ballistics tests?
· Who is in charge of autopsy examinations?
· Did the WPD or others in LE advise the press that the incident was based on biker “gang” activity?
· If so, what was the basis for utilizing the words “biker gang” in lieu of bike club?
· Is the WPD aware that there are dozens if not hundreds of LE motorcycle clubs around the country involving active members of LE dressing in traditional “biker gear”?
· Does the WPD have a motorcycle fleet?
· Does the WPD utilize any motorcycles for routine patrol or other traditional LE operations?
· If so, please describe?
· Is it true that the WPD “banned” or otherwise dissolved their motorcycle division in 1958?
· If so, what was the basis?
· Is it true that this was at least in part due to perceived local bias against motorcycles and motorcycle operators?
· Is it true that this stereotype and bias has continued to be a part of the local community and local LE in the years since that ban?
· Is it true that the setting of million dollar bonds for individuals with strong community ties and charged with vague criminal activity is an extraordinarily high bond?
· Has a condition of bond for any of the released arrestees included gag orders of any sort, house arrest, curfews, ankle bracelets and alcohol prohibitions?
· If so, with what frequency and for what circumstances?
· Who arranged for the composition of the grand jury to review charges associated to this incident and who placed a person in LE as the foreman of this jury panel?
· Has there been any internal affairs investigation of the WPD or other LE agencies as a result of this incident?
· If so, which persons are under investigation and on what potential charges?
· How many of the WPD personnel or other LE personnel involved have experience in handling or addressing a similar level of potential conflict?
· If any, please describe the circumstances?
· How many, if any, of the WPD personnel or other LE personnel involved in the handling of this incident were also involved in any aspect of the last major conflict involving the WPD, the Branch Davidson Massacre?
· For each, describe their identities and roles.
· Did the jail make any plans in advance for the “arrival” of anyone attending the meeting before the incident occurred?
· Was anyone at the jail informed to expect a “large number of new arrivals” at any time before the incident occurred at TP?
· Is the jail utilized a ‘for profit” privately owned facility?
· If so, who are the owners?
· How much is paid back to the jail for each person held at the jail?
· Who pays for such incarceration?
· If so, have anyone in the local LE community accepted any donations of any sort for contributions or gifts of any sort?
· If so, please explain the circumstances?
· Has anyone involved at any level in the preparations, response or aftermath of the incident run for local elected office?
· If so, were any contributions made to their campaign by the privately owned jail facility?
· Are any members of local LE or the local judiciary acting in any capacity as a shareholder, advisor or board member to the local jail?
· Who was in charge of taking procuring any weapons, cell phones, cameras, or transportation of the attendees?
We understand that some of these questions will take some time to answer. But many of them can and should be answered immediately. When violent incidents have broken out in the past that question excessive use of force, such as in Fergussen, New York, and LA, people put law enforcement to task. And we would expect the same kind of scrutiny here. The fact that it potentially involves a law enforcement negative stereotype of a minority is no different than their stereotype of a biker.
Furthermore, we feel that there has been a purposefully inaccurate portrayal of all the details that surround the incident in Waco by spokespersons with law enforcement and we want to help clarify the stories to assist both those involved as well as the general public in understanding what happened, why it happened, and what the ramifications could entail. Most of the people that were sucked into this incident and arrested on million dollar bonds are law abiding citizens. No history of illegal activities. No possession of illegal weapons or drugs, and NO evidence of involvement in any criminal activities prior to or on the date of the incident. Moreover, once order was restored to the Twin Peaks premises and the dust settled, there were no subsequent riots, no looting, no violent repercussions. The majority of these people who traveled to Waco to attend a call legislative assembly meeting of bike clubs respect the law, the community, and society. A large number of the people in the motorcycle and biking community are police officers, fire fighters, and veterans. Many other clubs are founded for the express and limited purpose of charitable work, assisting abused children, or other acts of kindness and compassion. These are people who are very patriotic and who have faith in the system and the way it works.
They have the right to assemble and that was disrupted.
They have the right to free speech and that was taken away.
They have the right to due process and that has been trampled on.
If this story had involved the Bloods and the Crips meeting at a nightclub in LA, would this police behavior be viewed as appropriate? Would it be acceptable to have police wait with snipers, open fire, and shoot at everyone in the nightclub just because they were black and fit a stereotype by law enforcement? Surely all black people who go to late night nightclubs to hear a rapper or hip-hop DJ are criminals. Would it be appropriate to then file unsupportable and unfounded criminal charges against every other person at the club just because they were black? Wouldn’t there be a public outcry of foul behavior? Wouldn’t there be a flock of public advocates descending upon the scene demanding transparency and justice? Wouldn’t the press be all over the place following every story and every lead? Wouldn’t there be people demanding due process and outside investigations? What is different here? No race card?
As this story has made its way through the public, so far, we have only gotten one side – that of the Waco Police. We intend to help correct that imbalance and help present the stories of all the innocent people who were caught up in this maelstrom. And, in the end, hopefully rationality and sanity will be restored to Waco.