BIKER NEWS: Editorial: We appeal to the court: End gag order in Waco bikers case | Outlaws Bikers News

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BIKER NEWS: Editorial: We appeal to the court: End gag order in Waco bikers case

BN- Four months after a bloody biker shootout, the criminal justice system in Waco looks more than alittle out of whack. It’s one of the ...



BN- Four months after a bloody biker shootout, the criminal justice system in Waco looks more than alittle out of whack.

It’s one of the biggest criminal prosecutions in state history, yet authorities will say almost nothing about the May 17 confrontation involving motorcycle enthusiasts and police.

Families of the nine men killed — four of them from North Texas — and the 18 others injured deserve better than that. So do the 177 people arrested, many of whom likely are guilty of nothing more than being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

This story started out as, well, wacky; it’s become downright outrageous.

After police and McLennan County DA Abel Reyna initially described those taken into custody as criminals, The Associated Press reviewed public safety databases and found no convictions for more than two-thirds of those arrested.

Yet the mass arrest morphed into many left stranded in jail for months on inexplicable $1 million bonds. Only after those sums were finally reduced were almost all of the accused released.

Just as troubling, Reyna wrote what defense lawyers describe as cookie-cutter arrest affidavits for the accused, documents that a justice of the peace approved without making any individual determination of probable cause.

Then came a gag order in late June — approved by a judge who is also the DA’s former law partner. No wonder people are asking questions about what kind of behind-the-scenes cooperation is going on among judges, prosecutors and law enforcement in Central Texas.

We expressed concern in July after word came that longtime Waco police detective James Head would serve as foreman of the grand jury that likely will hear the shootout case. Can the bikers get a fair hearing under those circumstances?

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals could go a long way toward airing out this story by nullifying the gag order; it’s unclear how soon it will rule on that request. With so much suspicion permeating this case, the court would be wise to take the side of much-needed transparency.

Among the information that authorities refuse to release are the results of ballistics test that would identify whose bullets struck the dead and injured. The Waco police chief says officers fired 12 shots after bikers allegedly shot at them. Each time authorities avoid providing that information, the impression grows that many of the victims were killed by law enforcement.

Also illuminating would be the law enforcement dash-cam videos, along with other recordings including those from a camera hidden to document goings-on of the biker event.

No doubt some of the bikers who showed up at Twin Peaks that Sunday afternoon in May had the worst of intentions. This newspaper wants to see justice served.

But that also means justice on behalf of any of the 177 bikers innocent of charges of organized crime conspiracy to commit murder.

The wheels of justice need some oiling in Waco. For those who face the possibility of 15 years to life. And for grieving families still trying to figure out what happened to their loved ones.

More: http://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/editorials/20150916-editorial-we-appeal-to-the-court-end-gag-order-in-waco-bikers-case.ece

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Outlaws Bikers News : BIKER NEWS: Editorial: We appeal to the court: End gag order in Waco bikers case
BIKER NEWS: Editorial: We appeal to the court: End gag order in Waco bikers case
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