FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — A biker arrested after a deadly shootout involving bikers and police in Waco, Texas, argued Friday that it’s a conflict of interest for a policeman to preside over the grand jury that may hear his case.
Matthew Clendennen, who sued after he was one of 177 bikers arrested following the shootout, alleged in a court filing that James Head’s presence as foreman of the randomly-selected 12-person panel should not be allowed.
Clendennen’s attorney, Clint Broden, said in Friday’s filing that Head was involved in executing search warrants and may have been present at the city’s convention center where people were processed after the shooting.
McLennan County District Clerk Jon Gimble told The Associated Press that Head’s name does not appear on any of the search warrants.
“It’s not for sure this grand jury will even hear the biker cases,” Gimble said.
The objection comes amid allegations from bikers and their lawyers that authorities have acted unfairly during the investigation. While Clendennen is the only one to have sued, others have said in interviews with the AP that they were wrongfully arrested.
District Attorney Abel Reyna could not be immediately reached for comment about Broden’s court filing.
Also Friday, Broden released 90 minutes of silent security video from the parking lot outside the Don Carlos Mexican Restaurant taken during the shootout. Don Carlos is next door to Twin Peaks, the restaurant where the May 17 shootout occurred. The video shows crouching police officers darting back and forth, seeking shelter from gunfire and better vantage points for returning fire.
Nine people were killed and 18 injured in the shootout that authorities say arose from an apparent confrontation between two motorcycle clubs. The 177 people arrested were each held on $1 million bonds. All but four have been released, mostly on lowered bonds. There has been no indictment.
Waco Police Officer Manuel Chavez testified earlier this month that the arrest affidavits were prepared by the district attorney’s office, and that the justice of the peace who swore to the affidavits signed them in bulk, without making an individualized determination for each defendant.
It remains unclear whose bullets struck the nine bikers who died in the melee. Waco police have appealed the public release of the results of autopsies and ballistic analyses to the attorney general’s office.
Hundreds of weapons — including 151 firearms — were recovered.
Witnesses told the AP that they heard automatic weapons during the shooting. But Waco Police Chief Brent Stroman said in June that city officers had disabled the automatic setting on their rifles, and that most of the dozens of shell casings found at the scene were from suspects’ guns.
Clendennen was slapped with a gag order after publicly criticizing how the investigation had been handled. The order was written by Reyna and issued by Reyna’s former law partner, District Judge Matt Johnson.
This story has been corrected to reflect hat the court filing was made Friday, not Wednesday
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