June 18, 2015

#TwinPeaksShooting video shows Cossacks armed for #Bandidos bear

These are among bikes at Twin Peaks restaurant
that may face asset forfeiture proceedings.
Rod Aydelotte/Waco Tribune
As the Waco police start asset forfeiture procedures against bikers in the wake of last month’s Twin Peaks shooting, we’re learning more bits and pieces, and starting to connect a few of those jigsaw pieces, about what happened — and why.

Per that story from the Waco Tribune, here’s some of that latest.

First, this confirms what I've read in various sources, that the Bandidos and Cossacks have been at it with each other since an Abilene stabbing in 2013. Indeed, two Cossacks stabbed there were at the May 17 melee in Waco.

Early this year, other incidents happened.

Then, an April 16 incident at Twin Peaks, followed by another a week later in its parking lot was surely what led the Waco PD to issue its last appeal to the Twin Peaks owner.

Here’s what the police have constructed about May 17:
Viewing videos from Twin Peaks and Don Carlos, police say they were able to see several Cossacks reach under their vests and appear to adjust their weapons or check their weapons. They had handguns and knives as they walked around the patio, and officers said they also could see Bandidos, Machateros and Caballeros members standing along the perimeter of the parking lot. 
As another group of Bandidos arrived in the Twin Peaks parking lot, several Cossacks, Bogatyrs and Scimitars climbed over the patio railing and went toward the Bandidos.
“Several of the Cossacks pulled their weapons, including handguns, as they stood on the patio and exited the patio,” the affidavits say.
Scimitars moved to the front entrance of the patio, appearing to take a “rear guard” position for the Cossacks, the documents allege. 
A Bandido nearly struck a Cossack with his motorcycle in the parking lot. Members of both groups converged and a Bandido punched a Cossack in the face. 
“Several Bandidos and Cossacks pulled out guns and knives, and shot and stabbed each other,” the records show.
So, they were ready to rumble indeed. And, there's such a thing as "Tasing Knuckles"? Wow.

That said, this does undercut the Washington Post story by an unnamed Cossack who claimed some Bandido from East Texas invited them to the May meeting to bury the hatchet. On this angle, the Cossacks were simply determined to crash the meeting when it was moved up to Waco. (The May 17 biker confederation meeting had been, like previous ones, scheduled for Austin.)

That, in turn, leads to the old “why,” or more specifically,  “cui bono”? Simple answer? This anonymous Cossack is probably pretty high in its hierarchy; he is, after all, president of a local chapter. He’s already trying to craft a narrative, for when trials start, about “poor innocent Cossacks.” As in this:
The Cossack, president of a North Texas chapter of the motorcycle gang, asked not to be identified because he is now in hiding and said he fears for his life. He is a rare eye-witness speaking publicly about the Waco massacre, one of the worst eruptions of biker-gang violence in U.S. history.
Of course he’s in hiding. He’s probably in hiding because, to once again compare bikers to mobsters, he ordered this hit. He’s afraid the Bandidos will kill him for sure. If not that, he knows that he could be charged with capital murder himself, and so, he’s afraid of arrest.

I said, in blogging, that it had the ring of truth to it. Well, I ‘ll pretty much withdraw that. I think it still has the ring of truth in that this was a deliberate, pre-meditated event. But, a lot of the premeditation seems to have been on the Cossacks’ part.

Let’s see if the Washington Post does a follow-up. Probably not. The two reporters appear to have gotten punked. (As did I, a little bit, for not being more critical of the story at the time.) That said, for people who know Cossack structure, it's probably not too hard to figure out who he is. So, the arrest part of his fears are probably something he can't avoid.

Finally, note that this is part of asset forfeiture proceedings.

I oppose, on principle, pre-trial asset forfeitures. The Fourth Amendment says we’re supposed to be “secure in (our) persons, houses, papers, and effects.” Combine that with a legal presumption of innocence, and asset forfeiture proceedings shouldn’t start until after a conviction. Unfortunately, our law-and-order Supreme Court has ruled otherwise.

That said, to further deflate conspiracy theorists, the story also notes that 75 percent of the 177 arrestees have gone through bond reduction hearings. Not all of them have been successful, but they've had their day in bond court. And more than 60 people detained on May 17 were not arrested.

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