Dallas – Waco DA Abel Reyna and Police Detective Manuel Chavez will face a Dallas trial judge in a Court of Inquiry to learn if they committed perjury or aggravated perjury in an August hearing involving 177 arrest affidavits following an ill-fated police raid that led to 9 deaths, 20 wounded at a political meeting of bikers that never got off the ground at Twin Peaks Restaurant.
Dallas District Judge Teresa Hawthorne requested the Administrative Judge of the First Judicial Region to appoint a District Judge to conduct the inquiry, “Having found probable cause to believe than an offense has been committed…”
The complaint filed by Dallas lawyer F. Clinton Broden stems from a disqualification hearing in 54th Criminal District Court during which Reyna testified that he held extensive conversation with Chavez about the probable cause affidavits in which the officer later testified he had no personal knowledge after Broden called him back to the witness stand.
At the time, Broden, who represents a Hewitt landscaping contractor named Matthew Clendennen, called Reyna a liar in print and in court papers. Waco police arrested Clendennen because he was wearing a patch of the Scimitars Motorcycle Club, an affiliate of the Cossacks Motorcycle Club.
His complaints fell on deaf ears until he sought the finding of a District Judge in Dallas.
During the August hearing, Broden established the fact that numerous Waco police officers refused to sign the identical arrest affidavits alleging probable cause of an engagement in organized political activity.
Former Chief of Police Brent Stroman testified that he was out of town when Reyna assured him by phone he could make cases against all members of motorcycle clubs wearing patches to signify their affiliations.
He gave him the go ahead in the phone call, but the Assistant Chief of Police and other officials present refused to sign off on the affidavits. Reyna had them summon another detective.
When Chavez arrived, he had been working in another part of town on another case. He testified that he agreed to sign the affidavits, as requested.
Reyna then testified he had urged him to assure himself he could personally vouch for his knowledge of the allegations that led to charges of capital murder and/or aggravated assault as a result of their attendance at the meeting wearing “colors” signifying their membership in motorcycle clubs.
Because of the witness exclusionary rule, Chavez had no knowledge of Reyna’s testimony. He told Broden in a second appearance on the witness stand that he had no personal contact with Reyna on Sunday, May 17, 2015, before he signed the affidavits prepared for Reyna by a member of his staff.
In the disqualification hearing, Broden complained the act of taking over the investigation made Reyna and other members of the prosecution staff “necessary witnesses” in the complaint.
The Texas Code of Criminal Procedure does not allow a person to both prosecute and conduct an investigation as a necessary witness in a criminal complaint.
Judge Matt Johnson overruled his motion. When Broden appealed to the 10th District Court of Appeals at Waco, they reversed the ruling, and after Reyna appealed that judgment to the Court of Criminal Appeals at Austin, the case was shelved by the high court’s opinion.