Keith Rodgers, a 42-year-old electrician from Houston’s northern suburbs, took a nice, long motorcycle ride on May 17. He rode to a restaurant named the Twin Peaks in Waco. It was about 170 miles. It took him longer than he had expected to get back home.
“I’m an independent rider,” Rodgers said. “I’ve never been part of a MC or attended a COC meeting. A long time family friend, who is in a mom and pop club in Region 1, invited me to ride with them to the Waco meeting.”
What happened next was the worst incident of biker violence in history. In a confrontation between members of the Cossacks Motorcycle Club and the Bandidos Motorcycle Club, nine men were killed. Eighteen were hospitalized. Nine more were injured but not taken to a hospital. At least 182 people were arrested. Sometime in the night, five of them were “unarrested.” Rodgers was one of those five. “I was mirandized but never told I was under arrest,” Rodgers said. “I believe I was released because I did not have on colors but I was not told why.”
Like virtually all the witnesses to the violence that day, Rodgers “was taken to the Waco Convention Center with everyone else. I was Mirandized by a state trooper who took my statement. At that time I asked if I was under arrest and was told a decision had not been made who would be arrested. I wrongly assumed after giving our statements we would be released.” All of the statements were recorded.
Asked About Colors
“Eventually I was taken into the room where the cops were processing everyone and it became clear what was going on. There were two plain clothes cops processing me. I kept insisting I had done nothing wrong. Finally one of them asked about my colors. I explained I do not have any colors. I was set in a chair to the side of the table where they were asking the medical questions. I was left there for awhile, being watched. Eventually he returned with a couple other detectives. One of the new guys seemed to be in charge and asked why I was still there if I didn’t have on colors. They all questioned me. The questions included why I was there, how I was affiliated with the club I rode up with and what I saw. I couldn’t tell them anything except the name of the club I rode up with. I had never ridden with them or attended any of their functions as their club is about two hours away from me. I couldn’t snitch on them or cooperate because I don’t know anything except the club name and the territory.”
Although he did not know it at the time, Rodgers had already been arrested. He was arrested because of the way he looked and because the detectives and agents who interrogated him wrongly assumed he was a member of a motorcycle club.
The detectives “walked away for a few minutes then came back and said I was going to be released. They cut the zip ties and told me to put on my shoes and wait in the room. After a few minutes a cop came and got me. He walked me out the same door I came in and put me in a van with two other guys (who were members of the In Country Vets Motorcycle Club). There were two guys (also members of the In Country Vets MC) in another van behind us. They drove us to a small police station north of Waco where we were allowed to use the phone to call for someone to pick us up.”