Texas grand jury issues 106 indictments for deadly biker fight
A Texas grand jury issued indictments on Tuesday to 106 people for engaging in organized crime in connection with the May shootout among rival bikers that left nine dead and led to mass arrests.
Out of the 177 people arrested at the May 17 battle at Twin Peaks Sports Bar and Grill in Waco, 71 cases were not presented to the grand jury on Tuesday and will be heard at a later date, said McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna.
“We’re not done. We still have a lot of work to do,” Reyna told reporters after the jury was dismissed.
The grand jury proceedings were not open to the public. A judge has put in place a gag order, which has limited comment.
Under Texas law, attorneys for the remaining defendants not indicted after 180 days can request that initial charges be dismissed and bond restrictions removed. Suspects can still be formally charged later.
Lawyers for the bikers have been critical of the Waco Police Department and state authorities for the mass arrests, carbon-copy warrant affidavits and initial bond of $1 million each.
Some bikers have blamed police for escalating the violence. The nine killed all died from gunshot wounds, preliminary autopsies showed.
Waco authorities have been mostly silent on the accusations, citing the gag order, but have said there was probable cause for every arrest and that officers did not fire indiscriminately into the crowd.
Matthew Clendennen, 30, a member of the Scimitars Motorcycle Club, filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city of Waco and McLennan County, with allegations that he was wrongfully jailed and his landscaping business has suffered since his arrest.
It was not known if he was among those indicted on Tuesday.
“I heard gunshots and saw a verbal altercation but beyond that, I was just there,” Clendennen said.
Surveillance video inside Twin Peaks shows scores of people ducking for cover, with a few men brandishing handguns and firing shots.
Law enforcement officials have said officers fired a total of 12 rounds during the melee. It is still unknown whether any of those bullets struck any of the dead or wounded during the fight that took place on the restaurant’s patio and spilled into two parking lots.
Waco Police said nearly 500 weapons were found at the scene, including knives, brass knuckles, batons, tomahawks, chains with padlocks, stun guns, pepper spray and firearms.
(Reporting by Lisa Maria Garza; Editing by Mary Wisniewski and Lisa Shumaker)