Waco police seeking to bar information about Texas biker shooting

A McLennan County deputy stands guard near a group of bikers in the parking lot of Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco, Texas, last month. (Rod Aydelotte/Waco Tribune-Herald via AP)Sent to us by a reader.

Yahoo News – by Jason Sickles

As questions remain unanswered about last month’s deadly biker rampage in Waco, Texas, police there are trying to clamp down on public information about the case.

The move comes as scrutiny intensifies over the Waco Police Department’s handling of the sensational shootout that killed nine bikers, injured 18 and saw an unprecedented 175 people arrested and charged with engaging in organized crime.  

By law, crime and arrest reports containing basic data — information such as a detailed description of the offense and the name and a description of the victim — have to be provided.

While some details about the dead, including identities, have trickled out, officials have been slow to provide information through documented reports as required by the Texas Public Records Act.

Documents that have been released to Yahoo News appear to be haphazardously redacted. Even though required by law, the names of arresting officers are omitted. But the identities, addresses and other contact information of suspects’ next of kin are prevalent.

The melee unfolded during the lunch hour, as hundreds of bikers descended on the Twin Peaks restaurant for a regional motorcycle club meeting.

Still unknown is where each victim was killed and by whom. Police officers have acknowledged firing on armed bikers, but it is not clear how many of the dead were shot by gang members and how many were shot by officers.

Yahoo News submitted a written request on May 19 for reports related to the nine people who were shot and killed at the Twin Peaks restaurant.

On Wednesday, the Waco city attorney’s office asked the Texas attorney general for permission to withhold the records from Yahoo News and other media outlets that have made similar requests.

Click image to read the City of Waco's letter to the Texas attorney general regarding the biker police reports.

“The 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,” wrote Judith Benton, assistant city attorney.

Veteran civil attorney Bill Aleshire of Austin, Texas, said Waco’s argument still doesn’t allow the city to circumvent rules on providing basic public information that have been in place nearly 40 years.

“That’s just bedrock open government law,” Aleshire said.

Waco did release 19 pages of documents to Yahoo News, including one mostly blank page. Other than a few dispatch call logs about the first shots fired, none of the pages pertain to the homicide reports sought by Yahoo News in the Twin Peaks deaths.

The other reports released to Yahoo News seem to be a random sampling — including arrest reports from some of the bikers who have complained that they were unfairly targeted and charged without cause.

Take for example the arrests of Drew King, James Harris and Juan Carlos Garcia, an engineer with Austin’s Public Works Department.

While it is unclear what has been redacted from the report, the narrative states that the arresting officer “noticed three males sitting in a grassy area located in the parking lot in front of Cabela’s all wearing motorcycle club vests.”

On another page, the officer writes in all caps, “All arrested subjects are self-admitted gang members of the Grim Guardian out of Slaughter Creek, Texas.”

King, Harris and Garcia were charged with engaging in organized crime. Like the 172 other bikers, their bail was initially set at $1 million. The three men were released last Friday after a judge agreed to reduce the amount to $25,000.

Redacted narrative from portion of arrest report provided to Yahoo News. Click image to view full.

Other reports provided to Yahoo News deal with a drug arrest and an officer confiscating a biker’s flashlight that also featured a stun gun.

“I advised Mr. Diaz he would be able to get his taser back; however, it wouldn’t be today,” that officer writes.

Yahoo News asked Benton, the assistant city attorney, if the 19 pages were sent by mistake.

“You requested incident reports dealing with the shootings and homicides,” she said. “And that’s what you got.”

Benton said that no true homicide reports existed when the request was made on May 19. Waco, however, waited the maximum days allowed by law to answer the request and printed the unrelated reports Wednesday morning.

“At the time you made your request, that’s what we had,” Benton told Yahoo News.

While technically legal, Aleshire likened the date issue to a prank.

“That’s game-playing by public officials that need an attitude adjustment,” he said.

(This story has been updated since it originally published.)

Jason Sickles is a reporter for Yahoo News. Follow him on Twitter (@jasonsickles).


15 thoughts on “Waco police seeking to bar information about Texas biker shooting

  1. More obfuscation and BS. I’m still of the opinion that what we are seeing isn’t really what we are seeing.

  2. Nice Psy-Ops ..Busted!

    this is beyond hilarious and idiotic

    like I have said before , I’ll believe their stories when cops start dropping off like flies .. bikers don’t play and if the cops really F’ed up like this , than they wouldn’t be able to breath anywhere in the USA

  3. Blatant admission of complicity in a clearly psy-op false flag. Sheesh, just admit it already . . .

  4. this is what I have posted on many sites like this one

    The way we will know if this is real or fake is when the Bikers come back to finish the job, the real 1%ers BTW, not the wannabees

    something like this goes down in 1%er land they dont let it just lay, even rival groups may band together on this issue .. If this is for real those police depts and every other police depts just painted a huge target on their back , how mch you want to bet not many groups of bikers will get pulled over by a cop

    these 1%ERS in real life play for keeps, and if one brother bleeds ,, they all bleed , you dont just ice a biker and walk away from it , your entire family is at risk

    like I said if this was for real ,, there will be a lot of cops getting visits ..could be a year, could be a month.. could be longer .. but that day will come even if it takes a life time

    If i were a Texas cop, I’d find a real job and leave Texas, again, if this event really went down like this

    I will sit back and wait for the news stories ..I got plenty of time to make my assumptions

    1. So even if there is something to this.. the cops still F’ed up, and are still holding these people with out formal charges and that alone is against our rights .. so no matter the side of this story you believe ,, the Law Enforcement and Legal end of things are against our laws and rights

      they are in a catch 22 on this one and i hope it burdens the court and judicial system to the point of asll out failure and many law suits directed directly at the individuals who violated any one or any laws

  5. “… but it is not clear how many of the dead were shot by gang members and how many were shot by officers.”

    If any.

      1. Thanks for the link, but it’s not what I remember … 40 years ago no patches at all on a well-used, grubby leather biker ensemble, no letters, no name. It wasn’t that unusual to see them riding around on the fringes and just outside city limits of San Antonio, and they didn’t care if you recognized who they were or not.

        1. I remember, too. Yup, that was 40 years ago… When they started wearing the patch we called them the “Banditos”. That’s why I still slip up and sometimes spell it that way in comments. (It was the way we referred to them in my neck of the TX woods [after the patch]. Many still do, when we say/pronounce their name. [Old habits die hard. LOL] )

          1. Hmmm. Wonder if the patch came with infiltration. Just a thought. Easier to keep track of the gang with a label telling everyone who you are.

  6. If you have an altercation at one of these sanctioned monthly events.
    You will be beaten down under code of conduct.
    head shots, and rico
    enough said

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