Their numbers dwindled a bit this time, but the message remains clear and consistent.
Not all bikers are bad. Not all bikers are gang members. A great injustice has stained the McLennan County justice system following the mass arrests of almost 200 bikers after the May 17, 2015, Twin Peaks incident. Many innocent bikers were arrested without cause, and their families continue to suffer following the shootout that left nine dead and dozens injured. Those are the main talking points.
Vendors at the Waco Downtown Farmers Market packed up their wares across the street, and shoppers walked to the Magnolia Market at the Silos several blocks away as about 45 bikers and their supporters, some who brought young children, gathered on the northeast side of the McLennan County Courthouse.
Mother’s Day weekend, graduation ceremonies and biker rallies in Athens and Austin diminished the number of bikers who rallied at what was called “Wave 6” Saturday afternoon, organizers said. There were an estimated 500 in attendance at the first rally two months after the shootout. But the smaller numbers did not thwart the handful of speakers who decried what they called the unjust treatment the arrested bikers and their families have undergone.
“I want to say thank you,” said Sandra Lynch, who was arrested with her husband and who helped organize the meeting of the Texas Confederation of Clubs & Independents at Twin Peaks that day. “For two years, y’all have been coming to this, supporting us, calling us, checking on us, raising money for food.
“There was a lot of lives ruined that day, a lot. . . . I pray in my lifetime I see justice for all these innocent victims of Twin Peaks. I prayed to the Lord that they get their lives back. I want this to be over. I believe in the justice system. I believe that if you did something wrong that day, including law enforcement, you should pay.”
Butch Moss, of Arlington, president of the Sons of Liberty Riders, helped organize Saturday’s rally and the five previous. Moss said what happened to the arrested bikers was “gross negligence” on the part of law enforcement and McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna.
“It is incredible what we have seen over the past two years and what is coming out of the mouths that keep trying to paint everyone as some type of biker criminal, which we are not,” Moss said. “One percent, 13 percent, I don’t care what percent, zero percent. I don’t care. Not everybody is a criminal. Not everybody who showed up that day for the COC&I was there for some type of criminal activity, and that is what made us stand up in the first place, because we knew better.”
Before the speeches began, Charles Duane Coppedge, who owns a fence company in Venus, Texas, unfurled an American flag that he held during the 45-minute rally. He took the flag from a box, which included a certificate that said the flag was flown in combat over Syria and Iraq on board a B-1B bomber in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.
Coppedge said he has attended four of the past six Twin Peaks rallies in Waco. When asked why, he said, “Evil flourishes when good men do nothing.
“Anybody who comes here knows that when you look at those videos, people were running for their lives. How can they be guilty of anything? They arrested all the people inside the building? How can that be right? . . . We are all descendants of Adam. If we took a little more time to understand each other, there wouldn’t be any more damn gunfights in parking lots.”
Before the group left the courthouse grounds, Moss asked those gathered to give a round of applause to members of the McLennan County Sheriff’s Office “for protecting us and keeping us safe while we gather here today.”
Sheriff’s Office Lt. Lionel McGee said the group was respectful, peaceful and no incidents were reported.
Moss said the group was going to American Legion Post 121 in Elm Mott for a charity event when they left downtown.