Tag Archives: Waco

Waco Police Deny Public Access To Information On Deadly “Biker Brawl”

After a fight that broke out between rival biker gangs at a Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco, Texas on May 17, Waco Police have yet to release information regarding the exact details that left nine dead, 18 injured, and over 170 arrested for “participating in organized crime.” 

Yahoo News requested information on the shooting, as is allowed by the Texas Public Records Act, but noted that the documents it received “appear to be haphazardously redacted.”

The documents obtained by Yahoo News ommitted the names of arresting officers, while leaving the “identities, addresses and other contact information of suspects’ next of kin,” and they did not give any information regarding “where each victim was killed and by whom.”

Waco Police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton said that the department suspected there would be issues at the Twin Peaks location prior to the shooting, and as a result they were prepared with officers on the scene.

While the details have not been released regarding how many of the nine deceased and 18 injured were wounded by the officers on the scene, Swanton claimed that “there were multiple people on the scene firing weapons at each other,” before the bikers began shooting at police, and the officers returned gunfire, “wounding and possibly killing several.”

After Yahoo News submitted its original request for information on May 19, the Waco city attorney’s office sent a letter to the Texas attorney general on Wednesday, requesting permission to “withhold the records from Yahoo News and other media outlets that have made similar requests.”

In the letter, assistant city attorney Judith Benton cited a “need to withhold the information pertaining to an open and pending case in order to deal with the detection, investigation, and/or prosecution of a crime is a compelling reason for nondisclosure.”

Although Waco did release 19 pages of documents to media outlets that requested information, Yahoo News noted that “other than a few dispatch call logs about the first shots fired, none of the pages pertain to the homicide reports” that had been requested.

In addition to refusing to release crucial information from the shooting, some of the details the Waco Police department has released, have contained major errors.

Following the incident, police claimed that as many as 1,000 weapons were recovered from the scene. However, they later admitted that 1,000 was an exaggerated estimate, and the actual number of weapons found was 318. Out of those weapons, only 118 handguns – the rest were knives, clubs, brass knuckles and chains with padlocks attached to them. Police also claimed that they found 1 Ak-47 accompanied by body armor in the parking lot.

Although Swanton claimed that the nine individuals killed were all part of criminal motorcycle gangs, the family of 65-year-old Jesus Delgado Rodriguez, one of the men killed, claimed that he was not involved in an outlaw motorcycle gang and did not lead a life of violence.

The Associated Press reported that not only did Rodriguez not have a criminal record in Texas, he was an active-duty Marine from 1969 to 1973, and he received several awards including a Purple Heart and a Navy commendation medal.

As previously reported, 170 individuals were arrested, charged with engaging in organized criminal activity, and held on $1 million bonds following the shooting. The AP noted that according to records kept by the Texas Department of Public Safety, four of the nine men killed and 117 of the 170 suspects have no previous criminal record in the state of Texas.

USA Today reported that one of the individuals arrested, Matthew Clendennen of Hewitt, Texas, has filed a civil rights lawsuit against the City of Waco, the McLennan County Sheriff’s Office, and the individual officers on the scene of the shooting.

Clendennen is a member of the Scimitars Motorcycle Club, and while he was present at the Twin Peaks restaurant on May 17, his lawsuit claims that he “did not encourage or solicit any criminal activity at Twin Peaks that day.”

While police have yet to release the video footage from the surveillance cameras at Twin Peaks, they did push the narrative that all of the of bikers present were engaging in the “brawl,” and fighting one another.

In contrast, when the New York Daily News obtained footage from the security cameras, it noted that “most of the leather-clad patrons ran away from the shooting or ducked under tables to dodge violence,” while some of the bikers “tried to direct other people to safety.”

The Associated Press also noted that while police claim the fighting started in the bathroom of the Twin Peaks, escalated into the bar area, and was then carried out in the parking lot, where the officers present became involved, representatives from the franchise told the AP that the “fighting began outside the restaurant, not inside as police have previously said.”

From 1,000 Weapons To 318, Police Revise Details Of Waco “Biker Brawl”

A fight that broke out between rival biker gangs at a Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco, Texas on Sunday, left nine dead, 18 injured, and 170 in jail. Police initially claimed that as many as 1,000 weapons were recovered from the scene. However, they later admitted that 1,000 was an exaggerated estimate, and the actual number of weapons found was 318.

After stating that “up to 1,000 weapons” had been found on the scene, Waco Police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton issued a correction on the department’s Facebook page. He claimed that the original number he gave was a “best guess estimate from looking at the overall crime scene,” and that the actual number was “318 and still counting.” 

[quote_box_center]Among the weapons found, Swanton reported 118 handguns, 1 Ak-47, 157 knives and 43 others, including clubs, brass knuckles and chains with padlocks attached to them, which he said were “intended and used as weapons.”[/quote_box_center]

Swanton claimed that the weapons found on the scene “appear to have been discarded as Officers arrived,” and that while some were found in “sacks of chips, stuffed between bags of flour, stuffed into the bench seating, hidden in shelves, thrown into trash cans, placed in the kitchen stoves, discarded on floors,” one individual went “so far as to attempt to flush a handgun down a commode.”

Swanton also reported that the one Ak-47 found on the scene was “found in a vehicle parked in the parking lot,” and was accompanied by body armor.

At a press conference on Monday, Swanton said that the fight broke out around noon on Sunday, when members of rival biker gangs allegedly got into an argument over a parking spot.

The argument reportedly escalated into an all-out brawl that was carried out in the bar area, and then continued outside of the restaurant. Swanton said there were reports of punching, kicking, assault with chains and other blunt objects, stabbing, and shooting.

Swanton referred to the incident as a “capital murder case,” due to the number of people killed in one episode. He also said that when the officers on the scene engaged in gunfire, they wounded and possibly killed several.

[quote_box_center]“There were multiple people on the scene firing weapons at each other,” Swanton said. “They then turned on our officers. Our officers returned gunfire, wounding and possibly killing several.”[/quote_box_center]

While the names of the nine individuals that were killed have yet to be released, McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara said that all nine of them were members of either the Bandidos or Cossacks gangs.

Swanton claimed that some of the motorcycle groups present, including the Cossacks, had reserved the outdoor bar area at Twin Peaks, when members of the Bandidos showed up uninvited.

In contrast to the police department’s official story, the family of one of the nine men killed, 65-year-old Jesus Delgado Rodriguez from New Braunfels, told the San Antonio Express-News that he was not involved in an outlaw motorcycle gang and did not lead a life of violence.

The Associated Press reported that not only did Rodriguez not have a criminal record in Texas, he was an active-duty Marine from 1969 to 1973, and he received several awards including a Purple Heart and a Navy commendation medal.

In the aftermath of Sunday’s shooting, 170 individuals were arrested, charged with engaging in organized criminal activity, and held on $1 million bonds. The AP noted that according to records kept by the Texas Department of Public Safety, four of the nine men killed and 117 of the 170 suspects have no previous criminal record in the state of Texas.

Swanton claimed that the Waco police suspected there would be trouble at the restaurant before Sunday, and that they had been monitoring the location for the last two months. He said that because of their suspicions, the department had 18 local police officers and four DPS troopers on the scene before the fight broke out.

In addition to monitoring the location, Swanton said that the Waco Police Department had tried to work with the management at the Twin Peaks franchise, but that it refused to cooperate.

“What happened today could have been avoided if we would have had management at a local establishment listen to their police department and assist us,” Swanton said. “They failed to do that, and this is the event that happened.”

The franchise initially had its license to sell alcohol suspended for seven days following the shooting. On Monday, the Twin Peaks corporate office released a statement announcing that they had revoked the franchise agreement with the owner of the Waco location.

Twin Peaks spokesman Rick Van Warner told WFAA that the restaurant in Waco was opened in August 2014, and that it will “not open again as a Twin Peaks restaurant.”

Three Rival Biker Gangs Clash In Waco, Leaving 9 Dead

By Jonah Bennett

A war between three rival biker gangs erupted in Texas on Sunday in the parking lot of a restaurant, leaving nine people dead and emergency services rushing 18 others to the hospital with serious injuries.

According to police, no bystanders were injured, but the incident itself wasn’t a surprise, KWTX-TV News reports.

Police in Waco had their eyes on the Twin Peaks Sports Bar and Grill for some time because of gang activity, and so as soon as violence broke out at 12:15 p.m., police were already at the scene and fired several shots that hit gang members.

The fight first started with fists and chains and rapidly moved to knives and guns, with police recovering as many as 100 weapons.

At a briefing shortly after the shooting, Waco Police Sgt. Patrick Swanton lashed out at restaurant management, saying they not only knew about the biker gangs, but welcomed their business with open arms. Despite the best efforts of police to obtain cooperation from the restaurant in cracking down on illegal activities, “They have been of no assistance,” Swanton added.

“Management knew that there were issues, and we were here, but they continued to let those groups of people into their business,” Swanton told the Waco Tribune.

Police are actively arresting biker gang members because of the possibility of retaliation, and have closed down Central Texas Marketplace, a busy area along Interstate 35, while conducting a full investigation. The parking lot was still strewn with bodies hours later.

It is still unknown what set off the violence.

Follow Jonah Bennett on Twitter

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EXCLUSIVE: Sheriff Stands Up to IRS, Cancels Land Sale

WASHINGTON, February 7, 2015—New Mexico’s Eddy County Sheriff Scott London notified the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) via letter that the sale of county resident Kent Carter’s property is canceled until Carter receives due process of law and his appeal is heard. The certified letter dated February 4 received an immediate response from the Undersecretary of the Treasury’s office. According to the Treasury’s website, however, the public auction is still slated for February 19.

“Many officers have stood up over the years for the rights of citizens being victimized by the federal government,” said Sheriff Mack, founder of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, “But Sheriff London is the first one to stand up to the IRS since the early 1990s.” Mack said, “His actions show courage and humility. London is setting a good example for the rest of our sheriffs.”

Approximately ten days before Christmas, U.S. Marshals broke in the door of Carter’s rental property with their guns drawn. The tenant was a young mother with a new baby—home alone while her husband was at work. Sheriff London was called to the property to intervene. He advised the Marshals that Carter’s case was in appeal and he deserved due process. They threatened to arrest London, but he stood his ground and they backed off.

Carter has battled the IRS for decades over taxes on the earnings of his modest construction business. One court document listed his debt at $145,000, a figure Carter says an assessing agent “pulled out of thin air.” Every time he challenged them, his bill would shoot up a few hundred thousand dollars. His legal complaints state that the IRS failed to adhere to its own tax code, did not use proper accounting methods, and that the collection activity was unlawful because no notices of deficiency were given. Carter says his private and confidential information, including his social security number, was filed in public records and given to third parties. The IRS countered that it can publish and disperse the private information of Americans if it is trying to collect their money or property. A judge agreed.

Carter says the IRS is currently claiming he owes $890,000, a figure that “doubled with the stroke of a pen.”

The Taxation & Revenue Department ordered Carter to cease “engaging in business in New Mexico” until his arbitrary tax debt was paid. Carter appealed this injunction on the grounds that it was both unconstitutional and vague, as it deprived him of his right to make a living and also prohibited him from, “carrying on or causing to be carried on any activity with the purpose of direct or indirect benefit.”

“The IRS fabricates evidence against citizens by pulling numbers out of a hat and adding fees,” said Mack, “They wear people down emotionally and financially until they can’t take it anymore. No citizen should ever have to fight the IRS for decades in order to keep his land.”

“The IRS is a lie. The income tax is a lie,” said Carter. “Why should they be able to take anything? They’re worse than the mafia.”

The Carter properties have liens placed against them. A locksmith was instructed to change the locks. The IRS authorized the United States Marshal Service to arrest/evict anyone found on the premises. London, however, physically stood in front of Carter’s gate until the Marshals backed down. A public auction on the front steps of the Eddy County Courthouse is scheduled, but the local county sheriff—trained in the Constitution—resisted.

Carter voluntarily vacated his property and relocated his mobile home to an undisclosed location. “I chose to leave to keep it from escalating to something ugly—like Ruby Ridge, Idaho,” he said. Carter said he advised the Marshals and IRS Agents who publicly claimed he had armed friends on his land, “If there is going to be any violence, it is going to be you who starts it.”

Carter says 100% of his Social Security benefits is seized each month by the IRS, in addition to $2,800 the agency drained from his bank account. Legally, the IRS can take no more than 15% of Social Security benefits.

Mack says banking institutions quiver when faced with the IRS’ gestapo tactics and generally hand over customers’ personal banking information, including access to accounts, without requiring a warrant or even any documentation. He encourages county sheriffs to brief every bank in their jurisdiction to refer inquiries from IRS agents to them.

Sheriff Mack is calling for the IRS to start following the law, including no “random” audits without probable cause, as they violate the Fourth Amendment. He asks them to stop committing crimes and rewarding IRS employees with bonuses for cheating on their personal taxes. “I agree with Senator Ted Cruz and others who say the IRS should be abolished,” said Mack. “It’s time they got off the backs of the American people.”

Carter says he prays daily for wisdom, and that he is surviving to be able to look into his grandchildren’s eyes and tell them he fought for their future and for America.

London is the first Republican to ever be elected sheriff in Eddy County. He distributes Bibles on behalf of Gideon International and met his wife in choir practice.