Soldiers’ rumor of war

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They wrote in the old days that it is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country. But in modern war, there is nothing sweet nor fitting in your dying. You will die like a dog for no good reason. – Ernest Hemingway

Six Shooter Junction – Supplements 0064 and 0081 to Waco Police Department case number 15-9146 are addenda to what has no doubt by now become the raft of paperwork associated with the “biker shoot-out” at the COC meeting of May 17.

I choose to think that they came to me “unknowingly,” as George Harrison said of the melody to his hit song, “My Sweet Lord,” a hymn to the Hindu deity, Krishna. Harrison chose to settle with the publishers of “He’s So Fine,” a sixties girl group ballad d’amor with the chorus, “doodle-lang, doodle-lang, doo-lang” in their plagiarism suit against him by saying his melody line came to him “unknowingly,” admitting no fault, and paying the undisclosed sum.

Eloquent of the old boy to do so, no doubt – only way out, and all that.

The documents resemble the ultra-severe Mondrian block, fill-in-the-blank database business form – the kind that makes the eyes roll all over the page, zooming from one detail to the next before landing on a topic – each one an exclamation point.

Before one has read more than a few words, it is plain these are after action reports penned by soldiers. Special weapons are ultra-light, very flat-shooting carbines with recoil compensators and muzzle suppressors to help the triggerman stay on target with surgical precision. These are commissioned civil peace officers, but they are serving in the capacity of fast action small unit raiders, equipped as such, trained to razor sharp precision.

It’s just a subset of the multidisciplinary business of criminal justice in all its diversified aspects, from patrol work to corrections, judicial and legal systems, counseling and behavior modification – each one a profit center for the corporate conglomerations who specialize in all this.

After all, what is war if not a hideously dangerous industrial activity, one that has been turned into a profit center in all its guises, “The War on Terror,” or “The War on Drugs,” perhaps, “The War on People Wearing Colorful Vests?” We owe our dear Mr. Vonnegut for those sentiments, no doubt.

If, as McLuhan postulated, the printing press gave primitive man an eye for an ear, then the style of writing preferred by the Martians among us resembles a murmuring shout, babbling bombast.

One learns that Officers Jeremy Finch and Vrail George reported the single offense of violation of “PC 71.02 1(f), Engaging in Organize…” No doubt the database slot ran out of room for additional characters and prevented the typist from completing the description – organized criminal activity. Type of Call is “Other – Special Crimes.”

Both reports say the offense took place on Sunday, May 17. The report date on Finch’s is May 22; George filed his on the day of the shoot-out.  Curiously, though George reports the time the offense took place was 12:20, Finch’s report marks the time at 00:54.

When they set out for Twin Peaks from police headquarters, they were clad in their regular patrol uniforms, armed with pistols and patrol rifles, “and a few extra magazines,” says George’s report.

“Due to the nature of the situation the detail communicated on our encrypted channel ‘D.'”

Under the law, the offense report is public information, but it’s up to the able staff of the Texas Attorney General to determine if the material requested is “work product” or any other “excepted” information, such as ballistics reports, scientific analyses, witness statements, officer’s suppositions and impressions.

It also says that the records do not belong to the police, the AG, the judges, the lawyers, the clerks, legislators, or anyone else, other than We The People. All the rest of these characters, talking heads, titled goons and elected opportunists, are considered “custodians” of the record. More power to them. All hail!

How much does it cost to allow the government to control reality by withholding information about extreme violence that shatters the calm of a Sunday afternoon? Is it an undisclosed sum, one paid to keep from having to admit any wrongdoing?

We’ll take our chances. There are worse offenses than seeking the light.

After all, you only die once.


It says here that at 12:20 p.m. that Sunday, when shots rang out, both officers sprang into action as previously instructed at headquarters. They had been assigned along with others to report to 4671 Jack Kultgen Freeway, Waco where “it had been learned that two rival motorcycle clubs (The Banditos and Cossacks) were expected to be among the clubs based on information from Detective Rogers from his sources.”

Rogers has been described as a “gang expert” who works as an investigator the the City of Lorena.

They joined other members of the Waco SWAT Team, including Officers Michael Bucher, Davis, Fischer, Jackson, O’Neal, Pina, Rush, Nicki Stone, Sgt. Drews, Sgt. George, and Sgt Zboril, as they took up visible but remote positions in unmarked SUV vehicles and marked patrol cars, two men to a vehicle, and settled down to wait and watch.

In their briefing, their supervisors had told them to refer to the front entrance side of the restaurant, which faces the I-35 service road, as its “A” side, the west side of the building next to an area being excavated for the foundation of a new building as the “B” side, the rear, which faces north, as the “C” side, and the eastern elevation, where the patio is located, as the “D” side, facing the Don Carlos Restaurant.

The Bandidos arrived at 12:05 and within minutes, “Officer (Michael) Bucher that was with Officer Jackson at the front of the restaurant parked in front of the neighboring Don Carlos advised over the radio that it appeared that there was a lot of tension building between the Banditos that had just arrived and Cossack members that had been at the location since my arrival,” wrote Finch.

Within a couple of minutes, “I heard what I recognized to be a gunshot, possibly from a pistol being fired. ” He and his partner approached the “D” side of the building, “just outside the rear parking lot,” its rear walls on the north side, saw people taking cover between vehicles, and they told them to show their hands and lie on the ground.

As he alighted from the car, he heard several bullets pass his vehicle and his head. He got his rifle and joined Sgt. Drews and Officer Fischer.

As they made their way along the sidewalk on the “D” side of the building beside the patio area, Finch heard Bucher on the radio saying that there were still shooters firing from their positions on the ground, a man crawling with a gun in his hand. “…I saw blood all over the parking lot and sidewalk, multiple handguns, brass from fired pistol ammunition, knives, batons and other items all over the ground. There were at least four people on the ground that appeared to be deceased and had obvious gunshot wounds to their heads near motorcycles that were parked near the sidewalk and on the sidewalk.”

He and his partner saw Jeffrey Lee Battey and Ray Arnold Allen, both of whom were wearing Bandidos vests, standing behind the building, Allen’s face obscured by a full face helmet. About 5 yards away, Matthew Mark Smith lay on the ground, gasping for air.

“Mr. Allen and Mr. Battey were in a triangulated position to Mr. Smith and when I first  saw Mr. Allen he had in his right hand holding a silver in color 1911 style handgun…”

A tense moment ended when Battey threw his weapon on the ground after Finch obtained a sight picture on him as he aimed his pistol back at the corner of the building. Both men lay on the ground, as ordered.

Mark Matthew Smith had been shot in his lower ribcage area, near his right side. When Finch located a pistol about four feet from Smith, he handcuffed him, and as he was searching him, the wounded man died.

The officers were obliged to explain to the wounded who asked for medical attention that no medical attention was available unless the patient was ambulatory and able to walk to get it.

Officer George reports that Officer O’Neal was trying to help a Hispanic male in his 50’s locate where he was shot. “…O’Neal and I began to cut his clothes off in an attempt to locate his wounds. They found one on his upper right shoulder. “The HM male asked for us to call him an ambulance. We explained that no medics were coming into the area at the moment because all of the shooting that took place. I asked if he could walk. The HM initially said “no.” I explained to him that he wanted professional medical attention that he was going to have to walk to it.” He and O’Neal walked him to a triage area at the side of the Don Carlos Restaurant “where Waco Fire Fighters were staging.”

According to George’s report, Bucher and Jackson both said they were engaged in hostile fire when the got out of their patrol car, that “they both returned fire and struck multiple suspects with their patrol rifles.”

In the aftermath, the officers maintained security of the perimeter, searched the building in case any suspects had tried to re-enter, and patrolled stores in the shopping center and at Don Carlos in case they tried to enter the building, change clothes, and slip away.

George wrote, “I and the Troopers went and informed everyone in the restaurant that we were closing it due to the situation.” Restaurant customers had said they saw two men wearing vests enter the restroom, then emerge without their vests.

Neither of the officers were able to knock off work until the early morning hours of Monday, May 18.

Twin Peaks ambush plan

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Six Shooter Junction – Items leaked anonymously to social media sources outline months of meticulous planning by the Department of Public Safety, officials of which were convincted there would be violence at Twin Peaks on May 17. City police and federal agents supplied information gleaned from their criminal intelligence operations, their conclusions vehemently opposed by the biker community as spurious suppositions.

The why and the how of the decisions that led to exactly what defense would be made against projected violence at a Confederation of Clubs meeting on May 17 at Twin Peaks Restaurant as it begins to emerge provides a fascinating glimpse of the behind the scenes methods used to target the persons who were shot and then arrested for engaging in organized criminal activity. All this led to the capital murder of nine bikers who died in a hail of gunfire, 20 of whom were wounded, as well as about 150 others charged with the identical offense, who did nothing more than run and hide when gunfire erupted.

Based on what the documentation reveals, it’s fair to say it will be easy for defense counsel to sew handles on the football in vigorous cross examination of prosecution witnesses.

A lengthy report by DPS Agent Christopher Frost, approved by the chief of the operation, Lt. Steven Schwartz, begins by explaining that a detective with the Lorena Police, a “gang expert” named Rogers acting as a “handler” for a source of information inside the Cossacks Motorcycle Club, had learned of a “sudden change” in plans to hold the May 17 meeting at Waco, rather than at Austin.

Based on what Rogers told him, Frost concluded that this “was purposely done to show support for the Bandido OMG [outlaw motorcycle gang] in the Waco area to the Cossacks MC.”

Rogers told DPS officers that violence was inevitable. It was all based on allegations made by a confidential informant – a snitch – who was masquerading as a member of the Cossacks Motorcycle Club, or one of its support clubs.

Motorcycle enthusiasts who demanded anonymity scoffed at any such notion. They pointed out that on March 28, Twin Peaks franchise owner Jay Patel held a “bike night” and members of both the Cossacks and Los Caballeros, a Bandidos support club, attended in peace.

On April 16, a State Trooper saw 40 to 50 Cossacks turning into the parking lot of Twin Peaks. At that point, the Waco Police and McLennan Sheriff’s Department made a decision to patrol the Central Texas Marketplace and Twin Peaks, looking for any criminal activity.

Frost’s report says police arrested a biker with a pistol and a padlock tied inside a bandana at Twin Peaks on April 23. Bikers say that’s not true, that he was arrested at a fabric store across the parking lot.

It’s hard to mount a defense against a conspiracy charge without accurate representation of the true facts that led to the charge. Hence, discovery, which is held up by legal wrangling, is vital.

On the afternoon of March 22, Frost reported, Lorena police responded to a fight on the southbound lanes of I-35 near mile marker 323. Witnesses said the drivers of three pickup trucks forced a motorcyclist against the inside barrier wall. “Eight to ten male subjects” assaulted Bandido Rolando Campos with a chain, a baton, and “possibly” a pipe. Police told the DPS the Cossacks assaulted Campos because they were “at odds due to the Cossacks wearing the bottom Texas rocker on the back lower portion of their jackets.”

According to Frost, “the Cossacks MC is known to be involved in criminal activity, including but not limited to, narcotics trafficking, weapons trafficking, assault, extortion and murder.” He offered no proof of any of these offenses, nor did he name any individuals so suspected.

Police were on a diligent lookout for Bandidos, and when they got a report of a large number of them at the Flying J Truckstop, New Road at I-35, on March 17, they came on the double. Almost simultaneously, the Bandidos, who had topped off their scooters’ gas tanks after their ride from out of town, split “in a hurry,” according to a published report.

The cops assumed they were headed to Legends Cycles, but they soon learned they were not there. According to a confidential source, “I am sure that they were going to visit Rolando at the hospital because he had been released from ICU. Campos “nearly lost an eye” in the beating he had taken a week earlier in Lorena.

While it’s true that numerous violent confrontations between Cossacks and Bandidos had taken place throughout the state, Frost offers no correlation between those fights and the events he describes, other than to say that Detective Rogers of the Lorena force believed the Cossacks were upset over the Bandidos collecting dues for the Confederation of Clubs.

Said a member of the confederation, “Look, if you want to play golf, and you join a club, you pay dues, and that’s all there is to it.”

Going into the May 17 meeting, the DPS agents contacted Mr. Patel on May 14, who told them he had rented the patio to the COC for the afternoon of Sunday, May 17. He, Patel, had hired three security guards. Frost told Patel he would put undercover agents inside the restaurant. Lt. Schwartz later changed his mind.

Few in the biker community believe this is true. They think there were many undercover officers and agents mingling in the crowd at Twin Peaks.

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On the morning of the 17th, Frost “deployed DPS CID covert camera. The camera was placed in the public right of way and was positioned to capture the patio area of Twin Peaks.”

When they entered the parking lot, Schwartz placed Special Agents Dale and Frost with him in a patrol unit; Ledbetter and Overcast were paired in another; Gerik and detective Rogers were placed in yet another car, waiting to see what would happen.

At 12:24, Special Agent Gerik reported gunshots from the parking lot of Twin Peaks. According to affidavits filed in a bond reduction hearing for Dallas Bandidos Chapter President David Martinez, he shot first, then ditched his .32 caliber pistol. Evidence from the pole camera, now embargoed for “analysis” along with in-car video from Waco Police Officer Michael Bucher’s unit, will perhaps either confirm, or deny that allegation.

NEXT: Eyewitness reports of two Waco police officers of what they saw and did once the shooting started at Twin Peaks on May 17

Discovery items suggest cops shot people as they crawled, where they fell

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Jacob Rhyne bleeds out from a neck wound, gut shot after he was down


“We don’t want to distrust our law enforcement so much that we live in fear of getting shot on a lazy Sunday afternoon.”  – an investigator

Waco – No one associated with the community of grieving bikers and their families touched by the tragedy of a police “shoot-out” at Twin Peaks on May 17 is surprised by the facts as they trickle out in dribs and drabs.

Calling certain items “discovery” is as ridiculous as the ethnocentric notion that Columbus “discovered” a civilization that had an advanced architecture, celestial observatories, calendars and a knowledge of complex mathematical principles. The best one can do is consider the fact that he was headed somewhere he’d never been, wound up somewhere he didn’t expect to be, and had no clear idea exactly where that was. Add in the fact that the entire expedition was financed by a woman – and what do you have? El Dorado, and a whole lot of silver, to boot.

Let’s not go there; we’re already there.

 But it’s the oral history of the mothers and grandmothers, their children – the extended family – that will count in the future.

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‘Red Boots’

Jerry Couger, “Big Jake” Rhyne’s “grandmother by marriage” got in contact, asking, “Jim, who do you think is Red Boots?…”

A good question, it’s fair to ask when you’ve lost someone you loved, and there are pictures of a man with a rifle in hand, standing by while that loved one died from gunshot wounds of the type.

“There is a joke, sort of, once you are a part of our family you will never get out of our family. In most cases that is true.” She goes on to recite a litany of misfortune that has a common theme. The family closes ranks, even when divorce splits the houses, suicide leaves its legacy of self-murder, and disease renders its members helpless, dependent on others. 

She mourns the way that family lost Jacob Rhyne to  a bullet that left a quarter-inch entry wound that pierced the muscle on the left side of his neck, injured his jugular vein, then arced downward to penetrate the seventh cervical vertebrae. Witnesses who know better than to come forward say Rhyne was in the act of looking around the corner “to see what all the commotion was about” when the bullet found him. The path of a second wound makes it clear he was gut shot after he was down, the bullet entering the “abdomen 31 inches below top of head, trajectory front to back, right to left, and upward.”

A brother Cossack gave his recollection in a video, saying he and other bikers came to Jake’s rescue, moving him from where he lay prone across the parking lot at Don Carlos, carried him to a pickup truck, and tried to wheel him to a waiting ambulance before police stopped them. “He was a lot of man,” the old boy said, recalling the struggle to move the helpless giant.

“John Wilson,” a former motorcycle shop owner and President of a local Cossacks chapter, “told my granddaughter they wouldn’t let them take Jake to an ambulance, nor come get him. He said Jake lived 30 to 45 minutes. Makes me sick. I loved Jake; I was his favorite OLD woman.”

The autopsy report notes a “red abrasion and contusion” in the middle of his chest, consistent with “resuscitative efforts.”

“I have read the .223 wounds were from an AR-15 or M16. I have no doubt it was a setup. We can’t bring Jake back, but there has to be justice for murdering him. This won’t happen in McLennan County. When you see the biker that has been shot on the tailgate of a truck, that is Jake. I am all but positive the guy we are calling Red Boots shot Jake…”

A medical examiner characterized his death as a “homicide.”

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State Trooper Cory Ledbetter’s (l) profile resembles Red Boots’

Reports from DPS officials and Waco Police outline what kind of setup that may have been, but first, it is well to consider the manner in which Rhyne and eight other men died.

  • Jesus Delgado Rodriguez appears to have been executed while seated on a slight embankment, a bullet inscribed on its bottom as 15-8021 over the further inscription CS entering his left eye, plowing through his head and exiting under his scalp. Its path, front to back, slightly downward.
  • A bullet entered Wayne Lee Campbell’s head and wound up in his “trunk,” suggesting its path was from the top down.
  • Richard Matthew Jordan died when a bullet pierced his head “four and a quarter inches below the top” and a half-inch right of the posterior midline.
  • Richard Vincent Kirschner , Jr., sustained two bullet wounds to his buttocks, one of which shattered his femur, the other piercing the right medial thigh. A third bullet entered the back of his left knee.
  • Manuel Isaac Rodriguez died of a bullet wound to the right front of his head, the projectile lodging in the musculature of the left side of his neck behind the sixth cervical vertebrae.
  • Charles Wayne Russell died when a bullet wounded him in the right side of his chest, plowed through the auricle of his heart’s atrial chamber, clipped his lung, pierced his aorta, and exited his back.
  • Matthew Mark Suit caught a round in the right side of his back, the bullet wounding the sixth and seventh thoracic vertebrae.
  • Daniel Raymond Boyett sustained a wound from a quarter-inch bullet in the top of his head, another in his left temple, and a third in his abdomen.

For complete copies of the autopsy reports, one need only click here.

NEXT: If the “shoot-out” was a set-up, what do documents and reports generated by police tell us about preparations for what they expected would be a violent confrontation between motorcycle clubs they have termed “criminal gangs?”

Video discovery from officer’s car implicated in shooting must await ‘analysis’ – agreement

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Officer Michael Bucher with some young friends at a local school

 Six Shooter Junction – Video from DPS pole cameras and in-car video from Waco Police Officer Michael Bucher’s unit will not be provided until “after analysis” if attorneys sign an extensive “agreement on discovery and nondisclosure of evidence,” an examination of the proffered document shows.

Officer Michael Bucher is an alleged shooter involved in the rifle fire of Waco Police Officers on May 17 at Twin Peaks Restaurant at a Confederation of Clubs meeting that left 9 dead, 20 wounded, and the arrest of 177 persons. A Grand Jury in November cleared he and two other officers of any wrongdoing in the shooting death of a fleeing robbery suspect. Bucher is a 10-year veteran of the Waco Police Department who has extensive plainclothes experience as a narcotics officer. His wife is also an officer employed by the Waco Police Department. 

A large number of the defense bar representing clients indicted or as yet unindicted but charged with conspiracy to commit capital murder by participating in “organized criminal activity” are in open revolt at signing any such agreement.

They say it’s not legal. Under the new rules of discovery, it is unlawful for the State to put any conditions on what will be turned over as evidence or exculpatory evidence. 

They and specialist members of the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association held a press conference on Thursday, Nov. 19, to say as much, citing the amendment to the discovery rules in Article 39.14 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure known as the “Michael Morton Act.” Morton served nearly three decades in the penitentiary for the beating murder of his wife before exculpatory evidence surfaced which had been concealed by the prosecutor, who was by then a sitting judge at Georgetown. DNA evidence proved that a “monster with red hands” his son told an investigator about actually killed Morton’s wife.

The agreement, which includes four pages of inventory of what materials will be provided, stipulates the following, a requirement in order to receive the materials so requested, which is the legal, constitutional right of any person charged with a crime in Texas or in the United States at large.


The entire document may be viewed by clicking here:

Annals of the red neck tool box, fully loaded

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BUBBA DUCT-TAPED MY MAN TO THE PICKUP – Marlin – A 20-year-old man named Jamarcus Suiters rode to jail bound in duct tape when he wouldn’t stop operating the power windows and door locks of a Constable’s cowboy Cadillac following his arrest for probation violation. When Jonathan Shoemaker, Precinct 1 Constable, spotted him walking to a filling station on Highway 6, he knew there was a warrant for his arrest. His fully loaded pickup truck has no rear seat cage or means to keep a suspect from exiting the car. Suiters was so dexterous as to repeatedly operate the automatic windows and locks, even though his hands were cuffed behind his back. He managed to retrieve his cell phone and called relatives, then put the phone in the “groin region” of his trousers. Constable Shoemaker moved him to the front seat and resorted to securing his fingers and binding his body “to the seat” with duct tape “after a brief struggle,” when Monsieur Suiters advised him to turn on the child locks in the rear seating area.

Our apologies to the Whiskey-Tango News, but the High Sheriff has said we must get all our crime information out of the newspaper…

‘This is Where the rubber stamp meets the road’



Waco – As the hour wore on, the television types grew restless, looking for a new sound byte. Finally, the dean of the court reporters, Tommy Witherspoon of the Waco “Tribune-Herald,” said, “I hate to put it this way, but we were all hoping we would hear something new…”

A female talking head chimed in, asking, “Why do this now?”

Judge Susan Criss, who now practices law from a Harker Heights office after a career holding down a District Court in Galveston, explained that the Grand Jury has just acted, indicting 106 people for the criminal conspiracy crime of agreeing to commit murder, an aggravation to the charge of engaging in organized criminal activity.

It was clearly past them.

For an hour, she and board certified criminal law specialist Susan Anderson of Dallas had hammered at the facts of the state’s case – which are unknown – insisting time and again that it will be up to the State of Texas to prove in exacting detail just how these people did all this – conspiracy to commit murder.

In the wings stood members of the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, specialists in areas such as discovery, speedy trial, bail, indictments, scientific testing, who had traveled into town from all over the state to meet with 25 attorneys representing persons charged in the Twin Peaks – melee? Is that a fair description of what happened?

What happened, the judge and the defense lawyer explained – more than once – is a group of well-disposed persons, several hundred of them, came to a meeting at Waco to hear about legislative items pending at the time, which was noon, on Suday, May 17. It is something they do routinely, every biennial; there is nothing out of the ordinary about it.

When violence erupted, dozens were shot – nine fatally – and 177 persons were charged with this racketerring offense.

Shot by whom? They don’t know. They don’t have the ballistics evidence, as yet.

All the defendants were charged with an identical offense on affidavits of probable cause that were identical save for the names. What this legal oligarchy has done in terms of skewed and out of plumb power relations is actually breathtaking to behold.

What else can be said?

Why do this now?

Because, said Susan Anderson, this is where the rubber stamp meets the road.

They still didn’t get it. You could tell by listening to their lame questions.

Finally, a lady lawyer whose name was not carried distinctly on the audio said, with considerable anger, “Are you going to tell them we don’t have to prove they are innocent? Are you just going to stand there with your hands in your mouths and…”

Listen and learn just what the lawyers intend to do. It’s an earful.

$265 million estimated cost of trying Twin Peaks cases indicted so far

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In the Tinseltown motorcycle fable, “The Wild One,” Johnny and Chino rumbled in a town resembling Hollister, where the top outlaw rider repeated the phrase, “I don’t make no deals with no cops…”

Waco – A Houston attorney representing a Twin Peaks defendant estimated in a motion for the “earliest possible” trial setting that it will require $265 million and a minimum of two years to try the 106 cases of engaging in organized criminal activity indicted thus far.

Paul Looney based his estimate on a figure of $1,500 per hour to try a felony case in Harris County District Courts, assuming a three-day duration of each trial, at $2.5 million, gavel to gavel.

Based on his argument before the 19th District Court, it is becoming very easy for the relatively unsophisticated observer to discern a method to the madness of the mass arrests of 177 persons charged with the identical offense, with no individualization or particularity of probable cause.

The McLennan County criminal justice system stood to gain some hefty cash by arresting 177 persons on a bond of $1 million, housing them in a commercially operated jail at $45.50 per inmate per day, and requiring their compliance in wearing electronic monitoring bracelets at a cost of hundreds of dollars upon installation, and more than $100 each month.

It adds up.

But defense attorneys insist their clients are uninterested in pleading guilty to other charges and will not contemplate a guilty plea to such a vaguely worded indictment for a first degree felony.

Anyone with any legal savvy in the criminal justice field soon realizes that McLennan County officials have shot themselves in the foot by overwhelming their system with very problematic, highly contentious criminal litigation that won’t go away any time soon.

They should have watched the movie. That’s what the 52-50 Club was teaching the local yokels post World War II in the Big Valley of California.

Looney’s motion may be viewed by clicking here:

Five sue in federal court over Twin Peaks arrests

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Austin – Police fired on bikers attending a legislative update meeting at Twin Peaks restaurant, according to a federal lawsuit filed on Tuesday, November 17, when a scuffle erupted.

Five defendants arrested and indicted for engaging in organized criminal activity filed a federal lawsuit in this city alleging Waco Police, the DA and an unnamed officer of the Texas Department of Public Safety trampled their civil rights

Matthew Alan Clendenen, Noe Adame, Burton George Bergman, Robert Clinton Bucy, and Jorge Salinas are seeking money damages due to the actions of Waco Police Chief Brent Stroman, Detective Manuel Chavez, Criminal District Attorney Abel Reyna, and John Doe of the DPS in “mass arrests…unprecedented in both their scope and the complete absence of individual, particularized facts to establish probable cause,” according to the lawsuits filed by Dallas attorneys F. Clinton Broden and Don Tittle.

The defendants acted under color of law, and “It is undisputed that members of law enforcement fired upon individuals at the gathering,” actions which “compounded the tragedy by causing the wrongful arrest and incarceration of countless innocent individuals.”

The defendants – Stroman, Chavez, and Reyna, “determined that individuals would be arrested and charged with engaging in Organized Criminal Activity based entirely on their presence at Twin Peaks, the motorcycle club that Defendants presumed an individual was associated with, and/or the clothing they were wearing at the time of the incident.”

That is a violation of the plaintiffs’ First Amendment rights to assemble and associate with persons of their own choosing, according to the complaint.

At about noon, the plaintiffs claim, the surveillance video made of the fight between a few members of motorcycle clubs “conclusively proves that the vast majority of the individuals present at the location did not participate in any violent activity, but instead ran away from the gunfire or ducked for cover.”

Though at first detectives carefully advised the defendants of their rights to remain silent and seek advice of legal counsel under the Miranda decision, at about 7:30 p.m., the suit alleges, Detective Chavez “reversed course and instructed detectives and investigators to stop reading he Miranda warnings, as the bikers were not under arrest.”

Following a two-hour meeting between Stroman, Chavez, Reyna, and unknown DPS and police officials, the trio made a decision to “arrest everyone and charge each person with the first degree felony of Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity with the Intent to Commit or Conspire to Commit Murder, Capital Murder, or Aggravated Assault.”

Previous to this decision, the civil rights complaint says , “Documents related to this incident clearly establish that a very specific plan for the release of most individuals was in the works…”

Arrest criteria included club association and/or clothing, patches, key chains…that Defendants arbitrarily decided reflected ‘support’ for either the Bandidos or the Cossacks.”

Though the video shows “complete lack of involvement of most of those arrested and hours and hours of interviews with the arrested individuals in which no evidence of a conspiracy was uncovered to support their ‘theory’ of pre-planned violence, Defendants willfully, intentionally, and recklessly charged 177 individuals with the identical first degree felony…”

All five plaintiffs have requested a trial by jury.

To view the lawsuits, click here:

‘Unclean hands’ prompt emergent motion in high court of criminal appeals

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F. Clinton Broden (l), attorney for Matthew Alan Clendennen (r)

Austin – The confrontation was brief and bombastic; it took place while attorneys waited for a visiting judge to arrive for a hearing on whether Justice of the Peace Pete Peterson should recuse himself.

Michael Jarrett, chief prosecutor and lead assistant in the Twin Peaks prosecutions of 177 persons charged with the offense of engaging in organized criminal activity for their presence at a political meeting focussing on pending handgun legislation that turned deadly when Waco Police gunned down 9 persons and wounded an additional 20, called out Dallas lawyer F. Clinton Broden.

You’ve violated every protective order out there. Scheduled press conferences, made releases to the media. What’s next?” he asked.

Broden snorted, asked if he had any other complaints to air.

Jarrett laced into his adversary, citing the perceived impropriety of Broden making statements such as his client was apparently charged for being a witness to something he did not see, since he was hiding inside the restaurant, hoping he would not be shot.

They continued their acrimonious discussion, both wearing dead malicious smiles, in the rotunda following the hearing. That was five months ago.

The dispute continues, leading observers to wonder if the floggings will not continue until morale improves in the wake of a Grand Jury returning 106 indictments against persons arrested and held on $1 million bond in order to “send a message,” according to Judge Peterson.

For the second time, Broden filed a motion in the state’s highest court of criminal appeal, seeking relief from the prosecution’s “unclean hands” in continuing to speak of the case while all other lawyers and their clients are enjoined to keep their mouths shut under the terms of a gag order imposed by the District Judge, Matt Johnson.

When an unknown party released video to CNN’s Ed Lavandera that was made at Twin Peaks “breastaurant” of waitresses running for their lives, Cossacks firing their pistols in their haste to flee the fight on the parking lot, and bikers doing the low crawl to safety, Criminal District Attorney Abel Reyna speculated it must have been one of the defense lawyers who did so.

Hence, Broden’s “Second Emergent Motion By Real-Party-In-Interest Matthew Alan Clendennen To Vacate Stay Based On Relator’s Unclean Hands.”

Because the Court previously ignored a similar petition complaining of “Relator’s (Reyna’s) and other state actors engaged in an unrelenting campaign using world wide media outlets which was designed to scare the pubic with pictures of roving ‘biker gangs,’” Broden filed another missive complaining that Reyna “violated the very gag order he is asking this Court to uphold in a written statement to KWTX News in Waco.

In the previous entreaty, the Court “declined to act,” and suggested that Clendennen and Broden file for an Order to Show Cause with the District Judge, Matt Johnson, Reyna’s former law partner.

Unfortunately, that creates a perverse situation because Mr. Clendennen believes that the gag order sought by Relator is unconstitutional and so he is hardly in a position to turn around and argue for its enforcement against Relator in the District Court.”

He further notes that “This was not the first time Relator Reyna has violated the gag order. On or about July 8, 2015, Mr. Reyna gave a press interview discussing the selection of the grand jury foreperson for the grand jury that could possibly consider Mr. Clendennen’s case.”

Broden suggests that Reyna is emboldened by the Court “declining to act” in the past.

Relator has now moved on to giving press conferences about the case.”

Noting that after his client and others were indicted earlier this week, “Relator held a press conference to announce the indictments, a result of his team’s “seeing that justice is done in all those cases,” said Broden.

Ironically, the attorney concluded, the gag order was drafted by Relator, and he says it was “based on the trial court’s finding that a gag order was necessary because of ‘counsels’ willingness to give interviews to the media.’”

In his parting shot, Broden asks, rhetorically, “So what does Relator do, he holds a press conference to equate the indictment of Mr Clendennen with ‘justice?’”

So mote it be.

Some time in Vietnam

We Can't Forget

An hour-long production of KWTX, interviews of veterans who have waited four and a half, five decades to be welcomed home from war

Waco – The closing scene of the documentary, “We Can’t Forget Vietnam,” is a vivid shot of the reflecting pool and the Washington Monument, clearly depicting the symbolic obelisk, a representation of the nation’s first Commander-in-Chief, seated in the east, the sun rising, and Lincoln, unseen, seated behind the camera, gazing over the viewers’ shoulders from his chair in a Greek temple in the west – a wealthy railroad lawyer – the last soldier killed in the Civil War, shot by a spy.

Jim Peeler, veteran camera man and the dean of Waco newsmen, made the shot with a shoulder-mounted camera at dawn.

Asked, “Did you use a filter, Jim?” he replies with a characteristic grin, “No, I used an early morning.” He has seen a lot of them.

Jim Peeler

Jim Peeler, veteran news camera man and dean of Waco newsmen

He goes on to say that all the interviews of combat warriors who served in-country in the green hell of Vietnam – Laos, Cambodia, Thailand – were conducted with the soldier or Marine seated in the same little wooden chair visitors to his office use. “We carried it with us, everywhere we went. Everybody sat in that same chair.”

Earlier, he said of the project he and Don Smith shot and edited of men who spent the earliest days of their adult lives, “These guys are in the zone…Most people have never heard this part. It’s usually about a battle or something like that. This is about how they got there.” The moment lingers. It slowly dawns that he means how they got there, to the zone, and throw their voices from there at will, traveling to a point from which no man returns.

Before the video rolled, General Manager Mike Wright, who grew up in Mexia where his dad edited the newspaper, said “Some people go into some very dark recesses in their minds.”

In a private conversation, he mentioned that he has twins, a boy and girl, who are 15. “They’re only three years younger than these men were when they went away to serve in the war.”

He let that sink in.

Don Smith, Mike Wright

Don Smith, producer, and Mike Wright, General Manager, KWTX

In introductory remarks, Wright told the audience of more than a hundred men and women grown into their senior years that, “Because of the emotional depth, we want to show this to you first.” Certain language, terms of badinage, peculiar to war and fighting men, spouts from the lips of the grandfatherly individuals seated in the little wooden chair from Jim Peeler’s office as they speak into his lens, their voices clearly captured by the shotgun mike, cinematic lights reflected from the lenses of their bifocals.

Interstitial cuts of their wartime faces are difficult to recognize as the same man.

They speak in the terms of the young warrior, men of an average age of 19, men tempered in the fire of war, men who call their enemies by pejorative terms related to their mothers.

You can see it in their eyes, hear it in their voices. As they speak, they are there, in the free fire zone, the mine field, the triple-canopy forest strewn with booby traps and trip wires, deadfalls and sharpened pungee stakes smeared with human excrement – the killing fields where nearly 60,000 of their number breathed their last in a world of pain and utter terror.

In an anguished tone, a teen-aged voice comes out of the face of a man approaching seventy, who says, “They told us, ‘Rip up your pictures. You’re gonna die here.’” They told them that. Yes. 

A man with a Santa Claus complexion and white hair says of his experience with killing, “You never really trust anyone – ever – again. The person you trust least of all is yourself.” He speaks of setting the trip wire, arming the booby trap that killed a little kid, then taking up a collection that amounted to $40 to have the child buried in a proper Buddhist grave.

I wake up every night to that child.”

Another man says that when you shoot someone, “They look surprised.” Their eyes get really big and surprised, he says, again.

A man who served as a war correspondent speaks of the learning curve. “Sixty-five percent of casualties were experienced in the first three months of the tour.” Lessons of combat are expensive, reckoned in blood, the bill paid in pain, the effects permanent.

Keeping pressure on a friend’s torn femoral artery, a wound that is nevertheless gushing his life’s blood, a warrior declares, he told a man who was “like a brother” that he would for sure be all right as he watched the light fade from his eyes and he died.

Sometimes a guy would get a wound, a through and through gunshot wound with no real complications, and his friends congratulated him on getting a ticket on the freedom bird, back to the world – only to learn he died some time the next afternoon of a raging infection.

There is darkness on the edge of town, you see, down by the old graveyard, in a world where drivers of Yellow cabs sometimes delivered telegrams from the Department of Defense stating, simply, that the government regretted to inform a soldier’s next of kin that he had been killed in action. Someone spit on him. Another one threw a bag of feces at him. A balloon of urine. Called him a baby killer. Painful as it may be, had he not killed, and killed with precision, he himself would have perished, never seen his babies, seen another Thanksgiving. 

Then there’s the guilt. To think that I made it when my friends didn’t. It’s not easy.

Another man recalls his wife finding him in the middle of the night, seated, his body in a ball, nude, in a corner. “She was a good woman, up until the day she died.” His eyes are haunted. He is staring at a point 1,000 yards in the distance. He is alone. Utterly.


These are the true costs of war. They cannot be sugar coated, nor can they be ignored, no matter if you call their cause a “conflict,” or a “police action.” This is a movie without heros.

To take “real estate,” secure it, watch men die in agony, pick up their bodies and load them on trucks and choppers while maggots eat their rotting flesh, and then stand by to stand by and obey orders while the officers tell everyone to leave the area to the enemy, to allow an implacable foe who is willing to kill you without the least emotional involvement, as if swatting a fly, or hammering a nail, go and reoccupy the killing field won that very day, at such a cost.

That’s crazy,” says a man who has lived his years into maturity while an excellent stereo track blasts John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival, shouting his blues, “Fortunate Son,” and a camera’s unblinking eye comes to rest on a multimillion dollar “Hughie” gunship.

The presentation will be exhibited at the Hippodrome, 724 Austin Ave., in Waco, on Veterans Day, Wednesday, November 11, and Thursday, November 12, at 6:30 p.m.