By Abby Shamray,
Domestic News Writer
On Tuesday, a Texas grand jury indicted 106 people involved in a biker gang shootout in May. They were charged with engaging in organized crime after a shootout among rival gangs, the Bandidos and the Cossacks.
According to Reuters, 177 people were originally arrested at the Twin Peaks Sports Bar and Grill in Waco, TX. Nine were dead and twenty were wounded after a fight broke out on the restaurant’s patio and spilled into the restaurant parking lot and the parking lot of a popular mall during what was supposed to be a peace meeting.
71 of the cases were not presented to the grand jury this past week but will be presented at a later date, according to McLennan Country District Attorney Abel Reyna.
Texas law dictates that the attorneys for the remaining defendants can request that the initial charges are dismissed and bond restrictions removed if they are not indicted after 180 days.
Lawyers for the bikers have been vocal about the Waco Police Department and state authorities’ improper handling of the situation.
The mass arrests, identical warrant affidavits, and initial bond of $1 million per arrested have all been under attack for not upholding proper standards of justice.
The bikers have also blamed the police for escalating the violence, stating that they fired indiscriminately into the crowd, resulting in the nine deaths.
At least one biker has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city of Waco and McLennon County. Matthew Clendennen alleges that he was wrongfully jailed and that his landscaping business has suffered since his arrest due to his reputation being tarnished. He said, “I heard gunshots and saw a verbal altercation but beyond that, I was just there.”
Due to a gag order that the judge placed on the case, the Waco authorities have yet to address the accusations. They have stated that there was probable cause for each arrest and that the police did not fire indiscriminately into the crowd, as the bikers have claimed. They also clarified that the high bonds were later reduced and that the majority of those arrested were later released.
Clint Broden, a lawyer representing Clendennen in the case, filed a legal protest to the gag order, according to the New York Times.
He says that the gag order has resulted in the defense lawyers being silenced while Reyna, the district attorney, openly discussed the indictments after the grand jury action. Broden filed a motion with the Texas Court of Criminal appeals stating his client has been denied his freedom of speech.
Released surveillance video shows people ducking for cover as a few men brandish handguns and fire shots. Law enforcement officials stated that officers fired a total of 12 rounds.
They have not stated whether or not those bullets killed or wounded any of the victims.
Nearly 500 weapons were found at the scene, including knives, brass knuckles, batons, tomahawks, chains with padlocks, stun guns, pepper spray, and assorted firearms.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, November 17th print edition.
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