As the McLennan County District Attorney’s Twin Peaks debacle continues to crumble, an important and previously prolific motorcycle rights activist has emerged from the dust. Thomas Paul Landers, along with most of those arrested in May 17, 2015, has had all charges against him related to the Twin Peaks tragedy recently dismissed. Paul, although very relieved, is still angry about the continued prosecution of innocent people also arrested and jailed that day that continue to face the prospect of life in prison for being ambushed at a political gathering.
Mass Arrests at a Political Gathering
On May 17th, 2015 I arrived home after a 350 mile ride following a club event in Oregon, to my son telling me to watch CNN because they were reporting a shooting at a biker event in Texas. I began watching the news coverage and immediately called my friend Paul Landers when I realized it was a COC meeting. Paul is a prominent motorcycle rights activist and always attended COC events in Texas, so I immediately began worrying about him.
Paul answered the phone from the parking lot of the Twin Peaks. I asked him if he was alright. He said he wasn’t injured but didn’t know what was going to happen. We hung up, and the rest of the story has been a 3 year nightmare for Paul and nearly 200 others arrested, jailed, and held on $1-$2 million dollar punitive bonds. Paul’s nightmare ended Monday, May 14th, 2018 when his charges were dismissed by the McLennan County District Attorney. In fact, most of the charges have been dropped against most individuals.
But, unfortunately, the nightmare is not over for 24 individuals re-indicted and charged with rioting, three of them also charged with murder. And because a murder occurred, the sentence can be enhanced to the same level of life in prison.
The Persecution Continues for Many
The McLennan County DA’s office refuses to let go, has shifted from organized crime to rioting, and persists in charging individuals that irrefutably “retired” from any conflict and still others acting in self defense of themselves or others.
Take the examples of Marshall Mitchell and Jacob Carrizal, both obviously not guilty for different reasons. Marshall Mitchell never engages in any conflict, can be seen shaking a Cossacks hand on video, and quickly “retired” from the area of the ambush and gunshots, just as most that were able. Jake Carrizal, on the other hand, was unable to retreat from an ambush in which he clearly acted in self defense, as the video, his mistrial, and reports of overwhelming support for not guilty from most jurors demonstrates.
The Good Fight Continues
The fight to free those that are not guilty must not end. In fact, now is the time to further unite the motorcycle club community and continue the fight to protect the right to associate with a motorcycle club without fear of targeted prosecution. And now that the shackles on one of the most important motorcycle rights activists of our time have been removed, we all stand a better chance of succeeding. #FightTheGoodFight.