Plenty of folks responded by Facebook to a Sept. 30 Trib editorial that questioned the notion of the state’s helping local authorities pay for expenses arising from the deadly May 17 Twin Peaks shooting, particularly given the ongoing lack of transparency by those local authorities. A selection of the comments:
Tonya Hilcher Gonzales: Waco should not get a dime from the state for the mess they created. Over four months later, they still won’t release the ballistics report. Four months later and we still don’t know how many of the nine were murdered by Waco police. I hope everyone remembers that the current grand jury has a Waco police detective for a grand jury foreman. No help from the state!
Laurie Claytor Jahns: Considering the fact that a Waco Police Department officer is the grand jury foreman, I have to wonder if evidence (before a grand jury) will matter. So far everything points to law enforcement (being guilty), not the parties unlawfully arrested, detained, shot, murdered, etc. If they are so transparent, why can’t they come up with more than “out-of-town thugs” (to describe the bikers)?
Marc George: No outside agency should pay a dime. The investigation has been shrouded in secrecy and lies. They slandered a lot of people, then put a gag order so that nobody could defend their name. Nine people died with about 20 wounded and the authorities are playing games.
Traci Peachy Cromwell: The people of Waco voted the district attorney, city council, etc., into place and they all had a part in the decision-making that day; therefore, the city should carry the burden, not the state. If the citizens of Waco say they support their district attorney and law enforcement, then they should have no problem with the cost. The state should use the money to do a full investigation of why there are no indictments yet and the lack of transparency. They should then decide on their next steps based on the outcome of the investigation.
Edgar Gifford: It is a god-like feat to instantly know what happened with so many “uniformed” bikers at that moment of truth. When you hear, in a single incident, how every witness has a different story and viewpoint, imagine then hundreds of witnesses (in this instance). I believe Waco police did as good a job as humanly possible. Blaming the police for what the district attorney’s office deems legally prudent seems crazy.
Marc Irving: How many times has Waco Police Sgt. Patrick Swanton changed his story?
Rhonda Elder: No release of information? Then no state funds for the police for their hiding evidence. My son Matthew Mark Smith had a beautiful heart. People loved him and he always was there for his boys. My son respected the mothers of his boys and I taught him to stand up for what you believe. My son was shot in the back — only a coward would do that. We have kept quiet about this, but it’s starting to really anger me. Show the video now.
Jerry Couger: Our family lost a loved one that terrible day. He also was a good man and wonderful father who missed seeing his daughter graduate, get two awards and a scholarship by 12 days because he was murdered. Who fired those shots? Who put up cameras in advance? Who placed law enforcement and snipers in place before bikers arrived? Who won’t release videos? No, don’t spend a dime of state taxes to help those who murdered our loved ones. This is hard enough on the families as is and we sure don’t need to feel we are aiding the ones who killed our family members. Let Waco pay. And let us see all of your evidence.
Robert Rutherford: Like many, I watched this go down on TV; unlike many, I found it hard to believe hundreds of such bikers were headed to Waco after the shooting (as news bulletins insisted). So I drove to Waco, and drove and drove, and did not see one biker. Yet still such reports came in. So I watched, listened. My conclusion: The city of Waco and all agencies associated with it should pay tenfold to the victims who did not fire a shot, who came in peace. From what I see, that’s 99 percent of them. Since the Department of Public Safety was there — yes, Texas should get the checkbook out and everyone involved on a local level should be fired and charged.
Theresa Evans: I find it hard to believe all these bikers came to Waco for just a drink and meeting with more weapons than people and even more loaded weapons in their vehicles. Twin Peaks was warned not to hold the meeting but did anyway. They knew weeks before the incident that this might turn out as it did. Twin Peaks should pay. I don’t think all bikers should have been arrested but you are guilty by association. You choose to hang with people who do bad things, then you get the same rep as those people.
Paul Barron: Waco and McLennan County own this debacle. Big Brother doesn’t need to bail them out on the taxpayer dime.
Lisa Dickison: One can support law enforcement and think this situation was not handled the way it should be handled.