Waco Police refuse to provide public any information about the Twin Peaks shooting citing, in general, “ongoing investigation”. Video, autopsies, forensic and ballistic information will likely be withheld until the trials of the arrested, perhaps several years away.
(Excerpts Via Waco Tribune) One month after the deadly May 17 shootout at Twin Peaks prompted the unprecedented mass arrests of 177 bikers, officials are releasing limited information and say disclosure of certain evidence, including videos of the incident, would compromise their investigation.
[…] Residents have called for police to release all videos of the shooting to the public in order to clear up conflicting tales about the events that transpired before and during the bloody melee. Waco police have declined, citing concerns that doing so would adversely affect their investigation.
Local officials sent the videos to the FBI for analysis. Swanton said the videos include images from at least one squad car dash camera, Twin Peaks restaurant surveillance cameras and a surveillance camera from the neighboring Don Carlos Mexican restaurant.
[…] Kelley Shannon, executive director for the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas, said police records make up the majority of public information requests in the state. Likewise, the bulk of opinions sought from the AG’s office are from law enforcement agencies seeking to withhold information
[…] “From my point of view, and many people in the public’s point of view, it should be released,” Shannon said of the Twin Peaks video. “But from the police’s point of view, sometimes they have internal information that’s part of their investigation where they feel like their whole case might be jeopardized by releasing it, so that’s why they argue that.
“Many of us feel like, release the information and let the public have at it, because it is part of the public record.”
The Attorney General’s Office has up to 45 business days to issue an opinion on whether the police department must release any videos from the shooting. Shannon said if the state office agrees that the videos should be made public, they could be available within 10 days of the decision.
[…] Waco Police Chief Brent Stroman said last week that three Waco officers fired a total of 12 shots from .223-caliber police-issued rifles during the shootout. All other shells found at the scene weren’t from law enforcement weapons, he said.
So far, a total of 44 casings have been recovered, but Stroman said that total doesn’t include any casings that remained inside revolvers that were fired. He also disputed rumors that Waco police had officers assigned to the area in a sniper capacity.
[…] Prosecutors filed notices Tuesday of their intent to seize and forfeit a total of 27 vehicles, including 17 motorcycles, eight pickup trucks and two SUVs.
The documents allege the vehicles are contraband used during the commission of the melee which turned deadly.
Swanton said the vehicle forfeiture part of the investigation “has neared completion.”
A total of 130 motorcycles and 91 other vehicles were impounded from the scene on May 17, Chief Stroman has said, a number slightly above the original estimate.
As of Friday, police had released 91 motorcycles and 62 other vehicles to their registered owners in addition to releasing 20 motorcycles and 9 other vehicles to their lienholders after repossession orders were received.
[…] As of midnight Thursday, 144 of the original 177 jailed bikers had been released on reduced bonds.
Each originally was jailed on a charge of engaging in organized criminal activity and held in lieu of a $1 million bond.
Housing all 177 of the bikers cost taxpayers about $8,000 a day.
Although bikers’ families said the move to reduce bonds was not made quickly enough, in some cases attorneys declined offers from judges to move up bond hearings because the lawyers said their schedules wouldn’t allow it.
Reduced bonds negotiated by prosecutors and defense attorneys range from $10,000 to $300,000. (read full article)