Bandidos leaders told members of the motorcycle group to bring their guns to Waco and leave their women at home, indicating the group was expecting an armed confrontation at Twin Peaks, a state expert witness testified Friday.
Douglas Pearson, a police officer from Colorado assigned to a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives motorcycle gang task force, said a violent clash between the Cossacks and Bandidos had been brewing for some time since the Bandidos revoked the Cossacks’ right to wear a “Texas” bottom rocker patch on their vests.
He said the Bandidos, the nation’s largest motorcycle group, claim Texas as their turf and require groups wishing to wear the Texas rocker to get their permission first.
Pearson, who started his testimony Thursday, was the lone witness Friday in the trial of Jacob Carrizal, Bandidos Dallas chapter president.
Carrizal is on trial in Waco’s 54th State District Court on charges of directing the activities of a criminal street gang and two counts of engaging in organized criminal activity. Testimony in his trial started Wednesday afternoon, but Pearson is just the third witness to take the stand.
Judge Matt Johnson recessed the trial until Monday morning at about 12:30 p.m. Friday to give both sides part of a working day to prepare for next week’s evidence.
Pearson is the second state-designated expert witness in the field of outlaw motorcycle gangs to testify. He and Darin Kozlowski, an ATF agent who has infiltrated three major gangs in a 30-year career, both testified that the Bandidos meet the legal definition of a criminal street gang, an element prosecutors must prove to convict Carrizal.
Pearson told prosecutor Michael Jarrett that it is unusual for a biker group to travel more than 200 miles to attend a biker coalition meeting that is out of their region. He said he has reviewed state evidence that shows Bandidos telling members to get their “tools” and ride to Waco for the May 17, 2015, meeting of the Coalition of Clubs and Independents, a group of bikers who track legislation related to motorcyclists and other issues.
“Tools” is biker slang for weapons, Pearson said.
During cross-examination, Carrizal’s attorney, Casie Gotro asked Pearson if he would be surprised to learn that law enforcement had known for months that the Cossacks, who are not members of the COCI, would be at the Twin Peaks meeting and that police had not warned the Bandidos that the rival group would be there.
He said no.
Gotro asked Pearson if he knew that the Cossacks put a $500 bounty on Bandidos patches. He said no.
“Does that change your opinion on who the aggressor was that day?” Gotro asked. Pearson said no.
In a somewhat risky move, Gotro invited Pearson to recite other evidence he has reviewed from the state that implicates the Bandidos.
Jarrett objected that Pearson, whom he said spent hundreds of hours reviewing state evidence, was not prepared for those kinds of questions, arguing it also was beyond the scope of cross-examination.
After the jury was recessed for the day, Gotro said she asked Pearson the source of his opinions because she had not seen the evidence he referred to. She asked the judge to direct prosecutors to supply her with that information. She also presented the court a list of bikers whose cellphone analysis she has yet to be provided access to, she said.
District Attorney Abel Reyna told the judge Gotro has been given the same information that Pearson reviewed before his testimony.
Pearson said that since the Twin Peaks incident, more Bandidos support groups across the country are being allowed to wear state bottom rockers. He said he thinks that is because the Bandidos are trying to “cloud the issue” over why the Twin Peaks incident occurred.
Gotro asked Pearson a number of questions about how he gathered information about the Bandidos, suggesting biker groups are frequent victims of police profiling for what they wear and how they look.
Jarrett objected, saying the case is not about profiling. Gotro countered that a portion of her defense “absolutely” is based on profiling allegations.
Earlier Friday, Pearson showed the jury slides of patches worn by the Bandidos and their support groups, including the Desgraciados, Vaqueros, Macheteros, Caballos Diablos, Valerosos, Rebel Riders, Los Caballeros and Forsaken Horsemen.
Gotro asked Pearson if he was familiar with a Marine Corps flag that says, “Kill them all and let God sort it out later.” She also asked if he knew that the colors for the Bandidos and the Marines are the same, saying the same characteristics he attributes to the Bandidos can be applied to the military, law enforcement or other groups.
Pearson said he was aware, reminding jurors of his previous testimony that the Bandidos were founded in Texas in 1966 by former Marine Don Chambers.