I'm sure many of my readers remember the Waco biker shootout four years ago. Nine people were killed, eighteen injured, and over 170 arrested. There were all sorts of allegations about biker gang feuds, deliberately planned fights, and so on.
Well, guess what? The entire law enforcement and prosecution narrative appears to have fallen apart. It may be that the dead and injured were the victims of officially sanctioned murder and attempted murder.
From the start, lawyers and others pointed out that it was very unlikely indeed that all the arrested had committed any crimes at all, and that the initial $1 million bond for all of them charged with a blanket crime of "engaging in organized criminal activity" seemed unreasonably punitive. The police strove in the aftermath to keep a detailed account of what actually happened from reaching the public eye, or that of defense attorneys.
As the years under which those people had criminal charges hanging over their heads went by—with all the problems that come with that on top of the missed work and rent and family responsibilities that bedeviled them from their initial time in custody under that absurd bond—dozens of the arrested went unindicted as grand juries expired, and last year charges began to be dropped against many of the defendants, with not a single successful prosecution having happened yet nearly four years after the mass arrests.
Many of the bikers who had charges eventually dropped have filed civil rights suits against local police and district attorneys over the absurd arrests and incredibly long times to get any of them to trial.
This week the whole case continued its painfully slow unraveling, as three more bikers, the last still facing that first set of indictments, saw their cases dismissed. A team of special prosecutors eventually assigned to the case declared that the initial mass arrests seemed, in the words of one of them, Brian Roberts, "simply a shoot-first-ask-questions-later mentality....I can't imagine what (former McLennan County DA) Abel Reyna was thinking other than this was a big case and it was somehow going to be beneficial for him or his office," the Waco Tribune reports.
Roberts went on to echo the critiques against the Waco prosecution heard by many lawyers and media watchers over the years: Namely, that the bogus arrests hung over so many people's heads for far too long.
There's more at the link.
Did those nine people die for nothing more than a DA's ambition, and/or local law enforcement's determination to be seen to be the biggest, baddest dudes in their area of jurisdiction? It begins to look rather like that. As far as we can currently determine, not a single one of the injuries or deaths resulted from bullets fired by the bikers. It looks as if all of them were caused by police gunfire. This is compounded by what appears to be a deliberate, sustained, and initially successful post-shooting effort to prevent the news media and the bikers' lawyers from finding out what really happened.
Four years later, it seems the truth is finally coming out. Will charges follow against the now-former DA and the law enforcement personnel involved? If they don't, it'll be a travesty of justice - and will probably mean a lot more problems, further down the road, between bikers and cops in the Waco region. Frankly, if I were a biker, I'd be seething - and rightly so.
This entire mess stinks of injustice, malpractice, and law enforcement and prosecutorial overreach. Let justice be done - and let those responsible pay the price for their actions. They've not only killed and injured innocent people under cover of law, they've severely damaged law enforcement as a whole by their actions. If the agencies involved encounter increased public resistance to them in the performance of their duties, because of this incident and its aftermath, they certainly won't be able to blame the public for such a reaction. They'll have earned it the hard way.