Last May, nine people were killed, 20 injured and 177 people were arrested in a biker shootout at a Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco. One hundred fifty people were indicted with a $1 million bail set for each of them. As we approach one year later, not a single person has seen trial. In fact, there hasn't been a single trial date set, either.
A few days ago, without much fanfare, the terms expired on a grand jury called to examine the evidence. It's not at all clear what will happen next – or when. The public's been in the dark largely because of a gag order that has kept virtually everyone involved in the story from talking to the media.
But now KCEN, the NBC-TV affiliate in the Waco area, has obtained video footage of the shootout from start to finish, a breakthrough made possible by an attorney from Las Vegas who handed the videos to the Texas TV station. He's a biker attorney named Stephen Stubbs, and while he has represented members of the Banditos in the past, he is not currently representing any individual in the case. He said he got the video from news organizations, who asked him to review it and give his opinions.
"It tells me that District Attorney Abel Reyna and the Waco Police Department are full of baloney," Stubbs says. "The public has been fed a narrative that just simply isn't true, its been twisted so that (the officials) look better, which is really a shame."
He says that the video shows that more bikers were fleeing and taking cover than participating in the violence, contrary to the narrative that the public has been given.
"You see the Banditos come up, and then you see them surrounded by probably 70-plus Cossacks and their supporters, theres then a little bit of a fight and a gunshot," Stubbs says. "And then you see the majority of everybody, wearing all kinds of different patches, running, taking cover, not participating in any way. In fact, some of the Cossacks ran and didn't participate as well. So not everybody was in on this aggression."
So, did the police act appropriately? Stubbs says that, of course, the police are allowed to use deadly force when the situation calls for it. But he also thinks some of the police's preventative measures could have saved some lives.
"One thing we do know for sure is that the police knew that the Cossacks were going to start something that day," Stubbs says. "I think the police have blood on their hands because they could have stopped it."
Stubbs says that the police had been investigating the Cossacks since the previous August.
"It seems obvious to me that they were trying to witness some kind of a crime so that they could arrest some people," he says. "If they would have just made a presence of themselves or done a few simple things, none of these people would have died."