The Waco secret of the day is the surveillance video shot by the Don Carlos Mexican Restaurant in the Central Texas Market Place in Waco on May 17. Dallas Attorney Clint Broden wants a copy.
Recent escapees from Syrian prisons need to know that there was a big news event in that shopping center that Sunday around lunch time. Some arbitrary number of people, some number in the low two hundreds, were detained. One hundred seventy-nine people were arrested. A couple of them were let out of jail that night. Police announced there were about 160 arrests. Eventually, after a couple of days, that number evolved to 177.
The arrestees were all held on $1 million bail by a Dukes of Hazzardesque Justice of the Peace named W.H. “Pete” Peterson. Peterson authorized the arrests based on the testimony of a local detective named Manuel Chavez who has since admitted that he didn’t know who any of the arrestees were or what they had actually done – if anything. Probable cause is just a question of mind over matter. If a lay justice of the peace don’t mind it don’t matter. Chavez didn’t even write the complaint. “Somebody” in the District Attorney’s Office did. Chavez swore on the tattered remnant of his sacred honor that all those people he did not know were members of criminal street gangs who had each committed or conspired to commit murder, capital murder, or aggravated assault. Maybe Chavez had a hunch. Peterson found himself confronted by a ginormous stack of photocopied criminal complaints so he had Chavez swear that the whole stack contained the whole truth and nothing but the truth and then he let it go at that. Maybe Peterson has ADHD.
Afterward, Peterson stated, “I think it is important to send a message. We had nine people killed in our community. These people just came in, and most of them were from out of town.” So much for that “Visit Friendly Waco” tourism campaign. Forget all those “Waco The Texas Tahiti” posters. Sure, maybe a couple dozen hula dancers in training had their dreams shattered but when one door closes another always opens. The for profit jail business and the bail bonds business and the lawyer business in Waco are all trending way up.
Connect The Dots
Broden has been demanding the release of evidence that might illuminate exactly what happened before, during and after a violent confrontation between the Bandidos and Cossacks Motorcycle Clubs and machinegun-toting representatives of the Waco Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and, for all anybody knows, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Security and Exchange Commission, the National Institutes of Health and the Screen Actors Guild. Broden wants a look at the video shot by the Don Carlos Restaurant’s cameras “aimed outside the restaurant” between the hours of 10:30 a.m. and 9 p.m.
The parking lot between the Twin Peaks and the Don Carlos is where that violent confrontation occurred. There is some disagreement among eyewitnesses and people who have spoken to eyewitnesses and reporters who have spoken to people who have spoken to eyewitnesses about who did the shooting and the killing.
First thing after the gunfire stopped, police seized everybody’s smart phone, lest it contain video that might contradict the official account; and video from the Don Carlos and the Twin Peaks restaurant, whose management is being blamed for the shooting. One thing about which the Cossacks and the Bandidos can agree is that they want the video released. The police don’t want any video released and they say that is because they don’t want to interfere with the due process rights of that big stack of names Peterson and Chavez, and Waco Police spokesman W. Patrick Swanton, and Waco Police Chief Brent Stroman and McLennan County District Attorney Abelino “Abel” Reyna accused of murder on international television everyday for two weeks.
Don Carlos has a dog in this fight. A soulless corporation named DC Waco Restaurant Inc. Doing Business As Don Carlos Restaurant is suing Peaktastic Beverage, LLC Doing Business As Twin Peaks Restaurant and Front Burner Restaurants, LP and Twin Restaurant Investment Company LLC for damages of more than $1 million for, among other things, “Failing to observe and heed instructions from Waco Police Department concerning motorcycle-related special events.”
Don Carlos’ attorneys, who have seen the video Broden now seeks to see, allege that their customers “were trapped inside the establishment as thousands of bullet rounds were fired by law enforcement officials and gang members. Law enforcement agents used Plaintiff’s porch and surrounding walls to protect themselves from incoming fire. At least four cars in the parking lot of Plaintiff’s place of business now have multiple bullet holes in them. Immediately following the incident, businesses surrounding Twin Peaks were closed by law enforcement agents. The Waco Police Department issued a statement indicating it considers the area located in Central Texas Marketplace on Interstate 35 a crime scene. This area includes Plaintiff’s place of business, which has been closed and unable to serve patrons since Sunday, May 17, 2015. At the time of the incident, the owners of Don Carlos Restaurant had discussed selling the business, going so far as to value the business and speak to a broker. After the shootout, that process ended.”
Don Carlos has moved to quash Broden’s subpoena of the video on three grounds: First that Waco police seized the hard drive that held the original video and Don Carlos has retained only digital copies; second that if Brodin wants to see the video he should get a copy from prosecutors; and finally that it would be too much trouble to give Brodin a copy of the video.
In a motion filed this morning, Brodin calls the Don Carlos objections “gobbledygook.”