“…From a constitutional perspective, what is occurring in McLennan County is extremely troubling.” – F. Clinton Broden, attorney for Matthew Alan Clendennen of Waco
Dallas – A defendant held on $1 million bond for the offense of engaging in organized criminal activity leading to capital murder filed suit in U.S. District Court in Waco against the City of Waco and the officer who signed a “fill-in-the-name” affidavit against him following a deadly mass shooting that killed 9 and wounded 18.
Matthew Alan Clendennen, 30 and a father of four, is a proprietor who employs six in his Waco landscaping business. He is in the unenviable position of being compelled to wait in jail until August 6 before he can appear in a probable cause hearing before Justice of the Peace Pete Peterson, per an agreement with Criminal District Attorney Abel Reyna, and must wait until June 6 for a bond reduction hearing.
Represented by F. Clinton Broden of the criminal defense firm Broden, Mickelsen, Helms & Snipes, Clendennen has no criminal record, engaged in no violence, and though he is a member of the Scimitars Motorcycle Club, in not involved in any form of organized criminal activity.
According to the allegations of complaint, when fighting broke out on the parking lot of the Twin Peaks Restaurant shortly after noon on May 17, Clendennen at first took cover in the restaurant. “During this incident Mr. Clendennen did not engage in any violence whatsoever nor did he encourage any other person to engage in violence,” said Broden.
He is a motorcycle enthusiast who rides for pleasure and a member of the Scimitars Motorcycle Club who was there to attend a meeting of the Confederation of Clubs for a briefing on proposed legislation involving motorcycle laws and handgun open carry rules.
In the suit, he alleges violation of his constitutional rights to unreasonable search and seizure and due process of law under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments.
The lawsuit also mentions by name the Waco police officer Manuel Chavez who signed the criminal complaint, “regardless of whether or not there was individualized probable cause to arrest and detain a particular individual.”
In the report, he merely alleges that: “…I was informed that officers were out on special assignment at this area in reference to some intelligence information that had been gathered that several Street Bike Gangs were going to be gathering at this location and there was a possibility of some type of disturbance due to the on-going feud between two Biker Clubs, one being the Bandidos and the second being the Cossacks.
“I was told that after one group arrived, the second group also arrived and officers on scene witnessed the altercation and had to react to the altercation accordingly…”
Said Broden, “…in America we normally do not hold an innocent person in custody for three months before according them a probable cause hearing. From a constitutional perspective, what is occurring in McLennan County is extremely troubling.”
Reached for comment, retired Texas Ranger Matt Cawthon, who on October 1 resigned his position as Chief Deputy of the McLennan County Sheriff’s Office due to opposing views on law enforcement policy with Sheriff Parnell McNamara, said, “I hope every one of them (the 170 defendants detained and charged) file suit…Under the Eighth Amendment, a person has a right to reasonable bail. It can’t be set so high as to be a punishment.”