Waco – Officials of the City of Waco are firmly in charge of what is to be considered public information, despite the provisions of the Texas Public Information Act, which reserves that power for the Office of the Attorney General.
Both City of Waco and State of Texas officials have made a determination that any evidence of who shot at whom during the Twin Peaks gunfight of May 17 is not for public consumption, but the state official so queried has done so apparently by default.
Public information activist R.S. Gates has made a third complaint to the Attorney General’s Office seeking release of comprehensive details of a police investigation into the killings at Twin Peaks he made the day following the melee on Monday, May 17, the day following the deadly melee that cost 9 lives, wounded 20 and resulted in the arrests of 177 persons for the identical charge of engaging in organized criminal activity.
John Patterson, an Assistant City Attorney, said officials in the legal department made their decision to except video surveillance from the Twin Peaks shootout, body and dashcam footage, mobile data terminal, radio calls, and police reports because Gates’ “request was for information that was not excepted by the (public information) Act.“
In his request, Gates sought “information related to Waco PD case number 15-9146. This is a request for pubic information only. This is not a request for excepted information…”
In a series of correspondence stretching back four months, an Assistant Attorney General in the AG’s Open Records Division named Neal Falgoust sided with Police Records Clerk Christina McPeak in his opinion that his office’s “authority…does not include on-site inspections of records held by another governmental office…” after Ms. McPeak mistakenly referenced the ID number of an unrelated video police officials had at first denied ever existed, then were forced to release when the error was discovered.
The AG’s Office now denies that any such complaint was ever received, though Gates is in possession of a Certified Mail receipt that shows his letter got to their Austin offices on September 16.
So it goes.
So mote it be.