Six bikers implicated in the deadly May 17 Twin Peaks shootout have filed civil rights lawsuits against Waco and McLennan County officials.
Dallas attorneys Clint Broden and Don Tittle filed the suits Tuesday night and Wednesday on behalf of bikers Matthew Clendennen, Robert Bucy, George Bergman, Noe Adame, John Vensel and Jorge Salinas.
The lawsuits, filed in an Austin federal court, allege the bikers’ civil rights were violated because they claim they were falsely arrested after the shootout. They claim their rights to due process under the law were violated.
The lawsuit names as defendants McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna, Waco Police Chief Brent Stroman, Waco police Detective Manuel Chavez and a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper referred to in the lawsuit as “John Doe.”
Reyna, Stroman and Chavez did not return phone calls Wednesday.
“In the aftermath of the incident at Twin Peaks, defendants Stroman, Reyna and Chavez apparently concluded that the Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution ceased to apply and could be ignored, given what they perceived as an immediate need to announce the re-establishment of law and order in their town,” Broden said, adding he expects “numerous” other civil rights lawsuits to be filed on behalf of other bikers.
The lawsuits allege that Reyna, Stroman and Chavez conspired to see that 177 bikers were arrested on identical engaging in organized criminal activity charges with little evidence other than the fact that they all were bikers, were wearing vests indicating which group they are associated with and had gathered for a biker coalition meeting when the shootout erupted, killing nine and wounding 20.
‘Absence of facts’
“Rather than investigating the incident and relying on actual facts to establish probable cause, defendants theorized that a conspiracy of epic proportion between dozens of people had taken place and willfully ignored the total absence of facts to support their ‘theory,’ " the lawsuit alleges.
Vensel, of Collin County, is a member of the Vaqueros Motorcycle Club of Dallas County, the lawsuit says.
Adame, of Dallas County, is a security officer and a member of the Desgraciados Motorcycle Club of Kaufman County.
Bergman, of Dallas County, is also a member of the Desgraciados Motorcycle Club, the suit says.
The Vaqueros and Desgraciados are support clubs of the Bandidos.
Clendennen, of Hewitt, is a Scimitar; while Bucy and Salinas, of Ellis and Lampasas counties, respectively, are both Cossacks, according to the lawsuit.
The Scimitars are a Cossacks support club.