Lets take a look at the Waco biker and police shooting that left nine dead and dozens injured just one week ago.
Despite the immediate and sweeping characterization by media and police that the May 17 biker event at a Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco, Texas was a gathering of violent criminals, the meeting was actually a legitimate and organized gathering of motorcycle riders meeting to discuss political issues.
According to the website of the Texas Confederation of Clubs and Independents, the group that organized the event, the gathering was a scheduled part of the 30th Annual National Coalition of Motorcyclists.
The official media and police narrative however, states that the event was a gathering of five violent motorcycle gangs who had met at the restaurant to settle differences over turf and recruitment.
“They were not here to drink and eat barbecue,” Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton said. “They came here with violence in mind.”
Police claim they recieved tips about impending violence at the event.
Just what exactly transpired is still unclear, but police have said after a disturbance in the parking lot, a fight began in the restaurant’s bathroom that quickly escalated into an armed brawl and shootout after one group of bikers showed up uninvited.
170 bikers were arrested and each given a $1 million bond.
One may expect 170 arrested bikers characterized as “violent criminals” by police and media to actually be violent criminals right?
A review of court records by the Associated Press found however, that at least 115 of the 170 bikers arrested had no criminal records – about 68 percent. That may seem low but stats from the National Employment Law Project show that at least 65 million Americans have criminal records – about 20 percent of the population.
A lawsuit filed against Twin Peaks by the neighboring restaurant Don Carlos claims the police fired “thousands of rounds” toward the bikers, striking not only bike club members but also Don Carlos customer vehicles.
Waco Police have previously stated 22 members of law enforcement were present prior to the outbreak of the shooting. Including 10 members of the Waco SWAT unit, 2 sergeants, 1 rookie, the Asst. Police Chief and 4 state troopers.
Police say only 14 of the officers were involved in the firing of shots that killed the nine men and injured 18 others.
Of the affiliated groups in attendance included the Christian Ministries, and the Veterans Club. One of the bikers killed by police was 68-year-old Jesus Delgado Rodriquez, a purple heart recipient.
Eyewitness reports are beginning to paint a different picture of the incident than whats been presented by police.
Founder of the Waco chapter of the Sons of the South, and official with the U.S. Defenders Task Force, a legislative group affiliated with the Texas Confederacy of Clubs and Independents, Steve Cochran said he arrived at Twin Peaks on Sunday to set up a sound system for the meeting, only to find that the violence already had started.
Cochran blamed the melee on the Cossacks and not the Bandidos, which have been mercilessly demonized in the media.
“Bandidos members were to be part of the meeting, which was to focus on legislative issues common to all bikers,” Cochran said. “These meetings have gone on for 20 years, and we’ve gone all these years without a single incident until Sunday.”
Cochran added that police gave no indication to him or other attendees that their lives might be in danger.
Twin Peaks security footage, shared by the establishment with the Associated Press – who did not release it to the public, shows that just one of the dozens of bikers inside the restaurant shootout fired a gun.
The AP says of the nine surveillance video angles released to them, none showed the parking lot, where police claim the incident began after one biker had his foot run over.
Instead, the video shows bikers running away from the shooting or ducking under tables, the AP says, presumably to dodge incoming gunfire from police outside.
Waco Police Sgt. Swanton said the video won’t be available to the public until the McLennan County District Attorney’s Office decides to release it, which may not be until their investigation is concluded.
Police have claimed that they found everywhere from 50, to 100, to 1000 weapons on the scene. The number they appear to be going with now is 300.
“Those who were involved know law enforcement did absolutely nothing to start this,” Swanton said, adding that the department “can’t wait” to show the public “what truly happened.”
Conspiracy theories aside, the existing evidence appears to show that over-zealous police, while acting on poor intelligence of impending violence from the bikers, reacted unnecessarily to the situation by gunning down and arresting unarmed and innocent bystanders.
Swanton said there were 200 people were in attendance at the event. 170 are arrested, 18 were wounded, and 9 were killed. Apparently there were only 3 people who were innocent.
“If we thought you were innocent, you were not arrested,” Swanton said.
The Texas Confederation of Clubs and Independents website has an entire page dedicated to National, State and Local Happenings with links to various political calls to action and events, leading many to think the police actions were politically motivated.
That page features a photo of a U.S. Marine standing at attention with a group of bikers and a photo an eagle over an American flag with the motto “Don’t tread on me. I refuse to allow my civil servant to run my life.”
Texas police have since advised bikers to not be riding in the area, stating, “We’re ready to take on biker gangs.”