A crowd of about 100 motorcycle riders from around the state gathered Saturday evening in front of the McLennan County Courthouse to hear exhortations by rally organizers to continue seeking justice for the 177 bikers arrested after the May 17 shootout at the Twin Peaks restaurant.
Sons of Liberty Riders president Mel Moss of Arlington, who introduced other speakers at a microphone, said as the rally started about 6 p.m. that he expected about 130 to attend, but Sheriff Parnell McNamara and several deputies put the number of attendees at about 7 p.m. at approximately 100.
A rally June 7 at the same place drew more than 500 people. Both times, bikers said they were supporting those who were arrested and wrongly charged with engaging in organized criminal activities at Twin Peaks.
Police are continuing to investigate the incident that left nine people dead and 20 hospitalized. Supporters say the vast majority of people arrested had nothing to do with the conflict and continue to protest because many of those arrested, of whom only three remain in jail, have suffered financially and socially.
Moss said the second rally was much smaller because “bikers are just like anyone else. We’re guilty of apathy. But we want it known that we won’t give up until we get justice for these people.”
John Bostick, of the Sons of Liberty Riders, said, “These bikers were drawn in there and ambushed.”
He said he looked into filing a class action lawsuit, but attorneys told him that since financial losses were unequal among possible plaintiffs, a class action suit is not possible.
But Bostick indicated that he may file suit individually for libel and slander because he said Waco police said all the bikers at Twin Peaks were members of “criminal gangs,” and he urged other bikers to follow.
The only visible security at the rally was McNamara and about 10 deputies.
Steve Cochran, who works on legislative issues in the interest of motorcyclists, said he knew of a Waco police sergeant who had infiltrated the Cossacks motorcycle club and had previously witnessed a terroristic threat being made at Twin Peaks, but did nothing about it.
“The Waco police claimed they had prior knowledge of what was going to happen at Twin Peaks, but in spite of all the discussions of the meeting planned that day on the Internet, they didn’t contact any of us,” he said.
Cochran accused police spokesman Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton of “maligning every cyclist on the face of the earth” and said lawsuits that will be filed will be litigated for years.
Swanton was unable to be reached late Saturday for comment on Cochran’s claims.
Eileen Koch, of Austin, who carried a placard saying “This sign is not a weapon,” said, “We’re all individuals and should be seen that way. I’m amazed that this long after the arrests, nothing about them has been released yet.”