The narrative of silence in response to legitimate and obviously credible questions is highly irresponsible and ethically disgusting. Law enforcement initially released a series of inaccurate and highly prejudicial statements immediately following the shooting incident at a Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco on May 17, 2015. The court of public opinion moves quicker than the court of law. Regardless of accuracy, prejudicial statements during the initial phases of national media coverage defined general perception and diverted attention away from law enforcement’s actions during this tragedy. Law enforcement capitalized on the national news media’s focus by sensationalizing the gathering as a gang meeting and even went as far as absurdly claiming that bikers had declared war on law enforcement, green-lighting “anyone in uniform”.
But as this information has been analyzed and refuted, the validity of these statements have come into serious question. Although national focus has waned as the media’s attention has been drawn elsewhere, correcting inaccuracies and prejudicial statements has become more difficult, but no less important. Law enforcement’s silence speaks volumes to a general public already skeptical of an epidemic of law enforcement abuse and criminal activity across the country.
When national media focus was diverted, the strategy changed. Law enforcement transitioned to a narrative of silence, refusing to shed any light on critical questions regarding the incident. This silence only further legitimizes questions and critiques of law enforcement’s actions.
The recently leaked video footage from Don Carlos, a restaurant immediately adjacent to Twin Peaks, is a perfect example of law enforcement’s narrative of silence. The leaked Don Carlos video revealing a small piece of the picture of the tragedy in Waco creates more questions than it answers. These questions demand answers if the criminal justice system in Waco has any hope of restoring any semblance of credibility after what appears to be revelations easily interpreted as corruption. There appears to be a number of elements of the video that range from curious to suspicious, particularly absent any counter-explanation. Law enforcement’s narrative of silence must end.
THE MAN IN THE BLUE SHIRT?
Who is the man in the blue shirt standing on the Don Carlos porch at the beginning of the video? He appears to be watching the Twin Peaks parking lot. He does not appear to be waiting for a seat at the restaurant. He is completely focused on Twin Peaks and occasionally glancing up and down the Don Carlos parking lot.
Moments before he ducks and runs away, presumably in response to the start of the shooting, the man in the blue shirt looks to his left scanning the Don Carlos lot. Then he does something extremely curious and very suspicious. He looks back towards the Twin Peaks parking lot and taps his head on the right side three times, with the palm of his right hand, as if signaling someone. (12:40:58/59) Almost immediately after he taps his head, the man begins to duck and run into Don Carlos because the shooting begins.
Was this an intentional signal or an unconscious action? If it was a signal, who is being signaled? Is it a coincidence that the head taps immediately proceeded the start of the shooting or did the signal trigger the shooting?
Later in the video, the man appears again. He walks out of Don Carlos talking on the phone.(13:31:07) He then hangs up the phone and briefly talks to an officer.(13:31:23) He then walks off to the left,(13:31:39) and then walks back inside Don Carlos and never appears on this video again.(13:32:22)
Remember, this man does not appear to be a patron at Don Carlos. I suppose it is possible that he was just curious about a bunch of bikers gathered, but it just doesn’t seem probable considering his apparent focus on the lot and his head tapping signals. Just who is this man in the blue shirt?
As already reported by others, it appears that officers planted evidence in the vicinity of a shooting victim. Who is the injured or deceased individual that appears to fall to the ground just outside the frame, after running away from the Twin Peaks, past the white Ford sedan at the top left of the screen?(12:41:17)
Why does an officer place an object on the ground next to the Ford sedan (13:21:33) that another officer later marks as evidence?(13:59:34) Why does another officer lean down and inspect the exact area where the object is placed and eventually marked as evidence?(13:20:48) What is he looking at? Coincidentally, this occurs at the same time the officer that later plants the evidence tells remaining Don Carlos customers to go back inside the restaurant.
Was it purposeful that the evidence was planted after the patrons gathering on the Don Carlos porch, taking video and pictures, were asked to go back inside the restaurant? Was other evidence planted elsewhere in the crime scene, outside the scope of this video? Does this help explain why the number of recovered weapons reported by law enforcement continually changed?
These are all fair and relevant questions that demand answers. There is zero doubt that one officer placed an object in the crime scene and another officer placed an evidence marker next to this object. I cannot imagine a plausible explanation for what clearly appears to be planted evidence in the vicinity of a shooting victim.
THE INDIVIDUAL DETAINED AND THEN RELEASED?
Who is the individual laying prone, arms out, before he is handcuffed or zip-tied and leaned against the white Ford sedan near the planted evidence? Why is this individual placed in the vicinity of the planted evidence?
The biker is eventually picked up and brought to the back of the white Ford sedan where he is un-cuffed and signs a piece of paper.(13:54:04) He then walks off unattended toward Twin Peaks.
Since this is a crime scene, apparently littered with evidence and weapons, would anyone allow a “witness” to walk through it unattended? Or was there no concern because there weren’t hundreds of weapons littered about as reported by police? Remember, this individual was detained and leaned against the white Ford sedan that is directly next to the biker that initially fell and also in the direct vicinity of the planted evidence. Who is this un-handcuffed, un-arrested individual allowed to walk across a controlled crime scene?
Legitimate questions and issues are not being clarified in the face of massive Due Process and excessive bond issues. The longer these questions go unanswered, the longer innocents will suffer as a result of abusive discretion and the more an already skeptical public will be suspicious and distrustful of law enforcement.
A cursory glance at recent events in America should reinforce the impact of damaged community relations with abusive and over-reaching law enforcement. Positive relationships between the community and those charged with protecting and serving is a critical element to a functioning, stable, and free society.
The narrative of silence in response to legitimate and obviously credible questions is highly irresponsible and ethically disgusting. But then again, Waco is not historically known for credible, accurate, or honest law enforcement. Public outcry and pressure for disclosure is one of the best ways to turn the tide of public opinion. And public opinion will determine how Waco impacts the motorcycle club community for years to come.