Two Austin-area men arrested after a 2015 shootout during a gathering of motorcycle riders at the Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco have filed federal civil rights lawsuits against law enforcement officials there.
William Brent Redding of Travis County and Thomas Paul Landers of Williamson County accuse Waco police Chief Brent Stroman, police detective Manuel Chavez, McLennan County District Attorney Abelino Reyna and an unnamed Texas Department of Public Safety employee of violating the two men’s constitutional rights when they were arrested based solely on their presence at the incident and the clothes they were wearing.
Redding and Landers are both members of the Escondidos Motorcycle Club, according to the complaint, whose patches bare a similar color scheme to that of the Bandidos Motorcycle Club, which is listed as an outlaw motorcycle gang by the FBI’s National Gang Report.
That report described the May 17, 2015, rally for the Texas Coalition of Clubs and Independents as a venue to resolve issues between the Cossacks and Bandidos motorcycle clubs. The ensuing shootout killed 9 people and injured 18.
The suits contend that the rally was to be a peaceful meeting of Texas motorcycle enthusiasts and that the rallies, which had been held for numerous years, had never resulted in violence before Waco. The documents say motorcycle riders from a variety of clubs — including Christian clubs, military veteran clubs, clean and sober clubs, women-only clubs, child abuse assistance clubs, sport riding clubs and others — were in attendance.
In the aftermath of the shooting, more than 150 people were arrested and charged with engaging in organized criminal activity, a felony.
The complaints say many of those who were arrested had nothing to do with the violence that took place and suffered personal and professional consequences from being held after the incident. Landers’ complaint said he was fired May 22, 2015, from his job as a senior consultant for a Fortune 500 Company managing a multimillion-dollar account on as a result of his arrest.
The plaintiffs’ attorney, Millie L. Thompson, confirmed Wednesday that she filed the complaints but declined to comment further on the cases.
Thompson is an Austin attorney who has defended local activists arrested while filming Austin police downtown. Most notably, she has won acquittals for Peaceful Streets Project founder Antonio Buehler. She also is the defense attorney for a handcuffed man activists filmed being peppered sprayed by an Austin police officer.