Wednesday, September 23, 2015

What Happened in Waco?

Unless you live nearby or know lots of bikers, you have probably lost track of the crazy story from Waco. Last spring shooting broke out in the parking lot of a steak house, and nine people were killed. Since then: silence. And not because news organizations have lost interest:
Four months after a shootout left 9 bikers dead at the Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco, Texas, prompting the arrest of 177 people, many of them presumably innocent, authorities are still denying the public access to key pieces of evidence, including video. The legal fate of arrestees still hangs in the balance. And it still isn’t known how many of the dead bikers were killed by bullets that police officers fired.

But police bullets did hit some of the bikers, the Associated Press reports after reviewing 8,800 pages of evidence apparently leaked to the news organization. “The gunfire included rounds fired by police that hit bikers, though it isn't clear whether those rifle shots caused any of the fatalities,” Emily Schmall reports. “Investigators have offered scant details about what sparked the fight or how the gunfire played out, and no one has been charged.” 18 bikers were wounded but survived the melee.

Lawyers in the case have seen “dashboard video of people fleeing the scene while shots ring out, audio of police threatening to shoot people if they rise from the ground and photos of bodies lying in pools of blood in the restaurant parking lot,” AP adds. But neither police nor defense attorneys are talking about the evidence due to a broad gag order that a coalition of media organizations is challenging as unconstitutional. It was imposed by a judge who is a former law partner of the local district attorney.
This is crazy. The longer this goes on, the worse it looks for the Waco police. What are they hiding? Was it an officer who fired first, touching off the slaughter? Was the whole business about a fight between rival gangs a sham? I don't know, but right now it looks like nobody else knows, either, except perhaps for people in the DA's office who aren't saying for reasons that look increasingly bad.

1 comment:

G. Verloren said...

The mere fact that police were employing rifles rather than their standard issue sidearms, and that a SWAT team was involved from the very start in what they claim was simply "observation", suggests a level of premeditation to the whole situation.

They went in armed for bear, and they made their presence plainly known. This was a deliberate show of force. They might want to argue they were there out of fear the meeting might turn violent, but their very presence absolutely served to highten tensions and likely contributed substantially to the conflict.

And that's assuming the police acted in good faith, and didn't employ agent provocateurs and moles. At best their sense of judgement was sorely lacking in how they responded to their concerns over this meeting, and at worse they are directly responsible for setting off the violence, either deliberately or accidentally through secret manipulations and undercover actions.