Law Enforcement

Published on October 13th, 2015 | by David "Double D" Devereaux

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Eyewitnesses Say Police Randomly Fired at Waco Bikers

picture 1_captionAuthorities in Waco continue their refusal to answer one of the most important questions about the shooting in Waco. How many of the 9 dead and 18 wounded were shot by law enforcement? There is a compelling societal interest in authorities releasing ballistics information confirming who shot who, not only for those accused in Waco, but for a country struggling with the issue of law enforcement militarization and illegal uses of deadly force. Most sources don’t believe that every person was killed or shot by police. In fact, some eyewitnesses specifically claim to have seen bikers shooting weapons. But regardless of how the conflict started, the criticism of law enforcement’s response is a legitimate social and policy issue. One of the main criticisms of militarized policing is the propensity to escalate conflicts resulting in more violence and death than would otherwise occur. There are very good reasons to suspect that that’s exactly what happened in Waco.

Eyewitness Accounts Say 2 or 3 Gunshots Followed By Barrage of Rifle Fire.

picture 2_captionAlthough every story differs slightly, as is expected, there is one commonality among eyewitness accounts of the shooting in Waco. Every eyewitness says they first heard small arms fire, 2 or 3 shots, followed by a barrage of rifle fire. These accounts are independent of one another and come from those that were arrested and those that were not.

A number of these accounts come from veterans with experience in combat and weapon systems. These seem particularly important because they provide more than just a lay opinion relating to distinguishing rifle fire from handgun fire. Veteran eyewitnesses describe an unprofessional and unorganized response including randomly firing into a crowd of bikers.

Consider the following eyewitness accounts:

William English, one of the arrested, in an account circulated by his lawyer, said “I heard two pops that sounded like small caliber gunfire. Following that, I heard several bursts of assault weapon shots. I recognized the sound because I carried one of those weapons for six years as a Marine. That’s all the gunfire I heard. Then the police started screaming ‘Get down!'”

• Former U.S. Marine Michael Devoll of Fort Worth, who completed three tours of duty in Iraq, has survived an untold number of firefights. But he says the one he witnessed in Waco on May 17 will forever haunt him. Not just because he was arrested following the incident and held in jail for 22 days on $1 million bail, but also because of what he calls a “barrage” of assault weapon fire coming from police directed into a crowd of bikers….”I heard a few rounds of handgun fire and then, I would say, an overbearing suppressing fire of M-4 rounds,” Devoll said….Devoll says while police were responding to a dangerous situation, it appeared as though they were randomly firing into a group of bikers. “People lying on the ground, trying to get away from the gunfire,” Devoll said. “I saw a woman with her hands over the top of her head screaming. People running for cover. The way the cops came running in and doing what they did, it seemed like almost shooting aimlessly into a crowd of people.” (See “Decorated war vet critical of Waco police actions”, WFAA News, June 11, 2015)

Although one may want to question the accounts of individuals that were arrested, their stories are corroborated by other eyewitnesses that weren’t arrested and charged with engaging in organized crime.

Steve Cochran, a Navy veteran and member of the Sons of the South club, pulled into the parking lot facing the patio minutes before the shooting began. He was to help set up for the meeting of the Confederation of Clubs and Independents, a group that advocates for biker rights and motorcycle safety. “I heard one pistol shot. All the rest of the shots I heard were assault rifles,” said Cochran, who took cover behind a crane about 30 yards away. He walked the shooting scene with the AP several days later, showing what he saw and his vantage point. Cochran said he heard suppressed rounds fired by assault weapons, which sound different than a handgun firing.

Ron Blackett, a former Army and Coast Guard officer, reported hearing one or two pistol shots followed by a blast of assault rifle fire from where he was parked in a lot behind Twin Peaks.

• Another eyewitness not charged in Waco corroborates the account offered by Devol, that police were shooting into the crowd. In a letter describing the event, this Vietnam combat veteran writes, “Soon as [the fight started] the Waco police jumped out of their vehicles and started shooting into the crowd”

Independent Accounts of Police Response Demand Release of Ballistics Reports

There will certainly be differences in the eyewitness accounts of the many individuals that were present at the Twin Peaks in Waco on May 17th. But when, despite these differences, the independent accounts all agree that two or three handgun shots were followed by a barrage of rifle fire then questions concerning law enforcement’s response become a legitimate topic of discussion and part of the larger societal debate relating to law enforcement abuses of deadly force and militarized police responses.

picture 3_captionHow many were killed by police? How many killed by police were armed? How many injured by police were armed? Did the militarized police response unnecessarily escalate a fight in the parking lot? Did police randomly fire into the crowd, as corroborated by independent accounts, because they viewed everyone present as violent gang members? Did law enforcement’s discriminatory profile of bikers lead to an overkill situation that would have been handled differently if officers were properly trained in motorcycle profiling awareness?

Access to information relating to the actions of government agents and officials is a cornerstone of a free society. The longer authorities remain silent about issues of deadly force, particularly as a result of militarized responses, the more divided citizens become from the very institutions intended to protect and serve them. The Waco PD’s highly prejudicial and inaccurate narrative, a narrative unconcerned with prejudicing potential jurors, has been followed by silence. This silence is cracking under the corroborated statements by independent witnesses claiming that police randomly fired into a crowd of bikers as a response to a shooting. As citizens, we have a right to know how many people agents of our government shot, injured and killed.

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About the Author

David

is the Spokesperson for the Washington State Council of Clubs, Founder of the Motorcycle Profiling Project, and works with motorcyclists at the national level. Contact: Send Email,



DISCLAIMER: Although comments are encouraged and appreciated, not all comments will be posted by Motorcycle Profiling Project LLC. The Motorcycle Profiling Project LLC appreciates oppositional viewpoints but will not post any comments that do not contribute to a respectful and meaningful discussion or are blatantly discriminatory or otherwise offensive. Resubmissions will be considered at the commenter's request.


4 Responses to Eyewitnesses Say Police Randomly Fired at Waco Bikers

  1. Avatar Bobby C says:

    This issuer another million dollar question “Did law enforcement’s discriminatory profile of bikers lead to an overkill situation that would have been handled differently if officers were properly trained in motorcycle profiling awareness?”

    We all know the answer.

  2. Avatar Mike Smith says:

    There are several men that were shot in the opening moments of the atrocity. That accounts for the two or three handgun rounds. What triggered those shots is at the very heart of this atrocity.

    One of the wounded was a Bandido was falsely listed as having escaped the scene. Yet there is a photo of him being questioned by the cops, at the scene, before he was sent to the hospital and records of his release from the hospital.

    The Waco PD cover story was that rumor made it to a Waco police officer who tracked this Bandido down at a home where he was recuperating; and got a statement from him confirming that he escaped the scene. Then, even more incredible, the officer stated that he did not take the Bandido into custody; or even write a report on it. the officer just left him there. This while every other survivor of the mass murder was arrested and held on a one million dollar bond. Not only do Bandidos not talk to cops, every cop that speaks to a Bandido writes it all down and gets his ataboys.

    But not one week after this Bandido was tragically killed in a collision with a deer, the Waco PD magically remembers that he had been shot and demands the bullet before anyone else can ask for it.

    The same thing seems to hold true for Mr. Pierce. He was a Cossack before the massacre. Here was a man so grievously wounded that witnesses thought he was paralyzed, yet no record exists of him?

    Finally, there is another Bandido that was shot and went to the hospital and then to jail; where he stayed under a one million dollar bond. As of this moment he has no independent recollection of whom it was that shot him.

    Several eye witnesses have come forward to identify at least one ATF agent that was wearing a Cossacks patch and he was observed removing that patch and putting on an ATF windbreaker immediately after the murders

    I am convinced that the undercover agents were the first to fire: and that Mr. Pierce MAY himself have been an undercover agent that was transported to a hospital under an alias.

    The Bandido that was said to have escaped the scene could have been shot by Pierce or the ATF agent that is alleged to have traded in his Cossack patch for an ATF windbreaker, and as such the LEO’s would not have wanted him questioned and the bullet matched to Pierce’s gun. Believing that the other Bandido that was shot could not have seen who shot him the LEO’s had no worries about arresting him and holding charges over his head.

    The LEO’s had all of the videos to review. They delayed arresting anyone for roughly one hour. they had the video from the Pole Cameras that the ATF placed right where the shooting started and they had their UC’s and informants to debrief during that one hour.

    There is a CNN video of Sargent Swanton giving a statement post the murders, and behind him walk three men, all wearing biker garb, and chatting and shaking hands with the other cops. One has a pistol in plain view and one is wearing a Support Your Local Bandidos T-shirt. Those shirts are novelty items sold to the public; BUT the Waco Judge reviewing the arrests unequivocally agreed with the DA that any “Support” paraphernalia was grounds for arrest.

    The Justice of the Peace that wrote those arrest warrants was on the scene with the LEO’s waiting for the incident to occur.

    There is a short story on Amazon called “The Waco Texas Biker Massacre.” It tries to tell more than how it started and why Waco was chosen by the LEO’s to host the COC&I meeting, I believe that it tells why.

  3. Good read… and spot on.. thank you.

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