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:

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