Last week Federal District Judge Sam Sparks gave lawyers for Waco Chief of Police Brent E. Stroman., Waco Police Officer and admitted perjurer Manuel Chavez, and McLennan County District Attorney Abelino Reyna until April 15 to reply to a civil rights suit filed by Dallas attorney Clint Broden on behalf of Waco defendant Matt Clendennen. The lawsuit was filed last November 17.
The suit, alleges that Stroman, Chavez, Reyna and an unnamed employee of the Texas Department of Public Safety, “determined that individuals would be arrested and charged with Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity based entirely on their presence at Twin Peaks, the motorcycle club that Defendants presumed an individual was associated with, and/or the clothing they were wearing at the time of the incident. Rather than investigating the incident and relying on actual facts to establish probable cause, Defendants theorized that a conspiracy of epic proportion between dozens of people had taken place, and willfully ignored the total absence of facts to support their ‘theory.’”
Clendennen, wearing insignia that identified him as a member of the Scimitars Motorcycle Club, was captured on surveillance video on the Twin Peaks restaurant patio in Waco last May 17 when a deadly fight erupted between members of the Bandidos Motorcycle Club, the Cossacks Motorcycle Club and members of clubs allied with either the Bandidos or Cossacks, The Scimitars are allied with the Cossacks.
In a recorded interview with Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Criminal Investigations Division (CID) Special Agent Michael McAnarney last May 17, Clendennen said: “He could not be a part of a big fight because he has four kids and a wife at home;” “he did not see who started the fight and could not identify which people engaged in any violence;” that “he was not carrying any firearms” and that he had only “a small pocket knife which was handed over to law enforcement.”
The case against Clendennen seems to boil down to an unsubstantiated accusation by his ex-wife’s lawyer that Clendennen “took a gun and a large knife that day to the Twin Peaks.”
Nine people were killed and 19 more were wounded in a brief bloody battle engaged in by some of the bikers. At least four and possibly five of the dead were killed by police. A few of the bikers at the scene that day behaved criminally. A few behaved courageously and admirably. Most people at the scene simply ran away from the fight. Clendennen has always maintained that he simply ran away.
Let God Sort ‘Em Out
According to Clendennen’s suit, “From approximately 9:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., Defendants Stroman, Chavez, Reyna, and others met regarding the incident. Soon thereafter, investigators were informed that Defendants had decided to arrest all motorcyclists that met certain criteria, and to charge each with the offense of Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity.” Clendennen was one of those arrested and held on $1 million bond.
The defendants have already had 114 days to reply to Clendennen’s lawsuit or move for its dismissal. Stroman, Chavez and Reyna now have 151 days to reply to the suit. Broden agreed to the delay in a meeting with the defendant’s attorneys on February 25.
In his huffy decision to extend the deadline to reply to the complaint, Judge Sparks wrote: “Notwithstanding the undersigned has never seen a case in all his years that requires sixty days to answer a federal complaint or file a motion to dismiss, especially when there are so many lawyers who are representing the defendants, the Court reluctantly grants the motion because it is unopposed. It is the Court’s practice to grant unopposed motions, but it is noted for all counsel that a delay of two months results in a delay of at least four months in the designation of a trial date. The Court is now setting cases for January and February of 2018.”
In other words, the soonest Clendennen could now take his suit to trial would be in about two years.