Predictable Sad Coda: The Twin Peaks Shoot-Out in Waco

What else could the DA do? It was a bureaucratic nightmare!

…[McLennan County District Attorney Barry] Johnson inherited the Twin Peaks cases when he took office in January, and said he has spent 75 percent of his time since then with a team of prosecutors and investigators trying to determine how to resolve the remaining cases.

Johnson’s decision Tuesday means that no one will be held accountable for the multiple deaths or injuries or for the chaotic battle between heavily armed, rival motorcycle clubs waged in a crowded shopping center parking lot while families were on their way to lunch after Sunday church.

In announcing his decision, Johnson said it is time to “end this nightmare that we have been dealing with in this county since May 17, 2015.” …

About 200 bikers were arrested after the shootout on identical charges of engaging in organized criminal activity and held on $1 million bonds each. Former McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna sought indictments against 155 bikers on those identical charges and chose to try Jacob Carrizal, the Bandidos Dallas county chapter president, first.

Carrizal’s case ended in mistrial in November 2017, with most of the jurors in his case favoring acquittal, and no other defendant has been tried since.

The way Reyna handled the Twin Peaks cases was the centerpiece of Johnson’s campaign, and he defeated Reyna in the March 2018 Republican primary by 20 percentage points. After the primary, Reyna dismissed all but 24 of the remaining Twin Peaks cases. The special prosecutors appointed to handle four of the cases after Reyna recused his office also were critical of the manner in which the cases were handled and dismissed them, also…

Carrizal is among those whose cases are to be dismissed. Johnson noted that his trial cost $1 million in preparation and trial costs, plus an additional $500,000 in security and overtime pay after county officials ratcheted up security for his trial.

“To open that Pandora’s Box back up and start down that road again when we don’t feel that, after looking at the facts and the evidence, that we would be able to meet our burden of beyond a reasonable doubt would be irresponsible, in my opinion. Therefore, I am making the decision now to end this nightmare that we have been dealing with in this county since May 17, 2015,” Johnson said…

Further reinforcing the outlander perception that nothing good comes out of Waco. I remember posting about this back in 2015, but my weak search skills fail me…

Some Mildly Good News

There’s one less predator on the streets in Chicago:

A jury in Cook County, Illinois, has found white Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke, who shot and killed black 17-year-old Laquan McDonald in 2014, guilty of second-degree murder.

The jurors also convicted Van Dyke on 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm. He was found not guilty of a charge of misconduct in office.

There is no mandatory sentence for second-degree murder in Illinois, but each count of aggravated battery with a firearm can bring a sentence of 6 to 30 years—which means Van Dyke could potentially face 480 years behind bars. After the verdict was announced, the judge revoked the officer’s bail, and Van Dyke was taken into custody.

Good. Hopefully he will serve a couple of years before the new reich wing Supreme Court overturns his conviction.

Our Sterling Folks In Blue

This has been much discussed, but not here:

a Dallas police officer will be facing manslaughter charges after shot and killed a 26-year-old man in his own apartment. The officer, who has not been identified, thought she had gone into her own apartment when she had actually gone into her neighbor’s home and apparently thought he was an intruder.

The strange series of events unfolded Thursday night, when the white patrol officer went into her apartment building after working a full shift. The officer, who was still wearing her police uniform, for some reason tried to go into her neighbor’s apartment rather than her own. That’s when she saw her neighbor, 26-year-old Botham Shem Jean, and shot him.

The cop, still unnamed, because the blue line is a thing, called in the shooting, but was not immediately questioned, because, as I may have said recently, the blue line is a thing.

The man she killed, who was black, cannot, of course, speak for himself.  This is the inadequate-because-words-are-always-inadequate gloss on who his family lost:

Jean, a native of Saint Lucia, was a graduate of Harding University in Arkansas and was an employee at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Dallas. He was known as a worship leader at the university, where officials mourned his death at chapel services Friday. “The entire Harding family grieves today for the loss of Botham Jean, who has meant so very much to us. Please join us in praying for Botham’s friends and family,” the university said in a statement.

At this moment, it’s impossible to say how the unnamed officer made her mistake, or even if it was a mistake.  If this cop really did not know where she was, that leads to the next question: what kind of training makes the first response to a surprise a leap to irrevocable deadly violence?

What does the Dallas police department teach its people, and if this wasn’t that — what was this cop doing on the job?

That is: the person directly responsible for what looks like the cold-blooded murder of an unarmed citizen in his own home is the one who pulled the trigger. But behind that catastrophic act lies a whole mental infrastructure built around the holy gun.  The impulse to solve a problem with a bullet isn’t innate: it’s learned and cultivated.

By a death cult.

Image: Giusseppe Arcimboldo, Fire, 1566

Fighting Fascists Open Thread: The Weekend Portland Protest

I couldn’t figure out why the “Proud Flesh Bois” and their “Patriot Prey-er” buddies picked last weekend for their cosplay riot, until I found this Daily Beast article by Corey Pein:

Hundreds of armed supporters of President Donald Trump, led by a fringe Republican congressional candidate, marched on Saturday, leaving blood from scattered street fights in their wake.

Ostensibly a campaign event for long-shot U.S. Senate hopeful Joey Gibson, members of his group Patriot Prayer urged the president to lock up his political opponents, including Hillary Clinton, and promised violent retribution for anyone who threatened their right to “free speech” or armed self-defense. Groups of Trump supporters swarmed through the streets, singling out people of color to fight, some of whom appeared to belong to small vigilante squads of local anti-fascists, as well as others who appeared to be mere passersby. Police announced four arrests, but gave no estimate of injuries.

Extremist group watchdogs such as the Southern Poverty Law Center warned ahead of the event that it could turn into “another Charlottesville.” It did not, but only in the sense that no one was killed. Such warnings, prompted by Gibson’s provocations, put all eyes on the rally…

His supporters flocked from around the West Coast and the country, a contingent of Proud Boys, “Three Percenter” militia members, Trump-supporting bikers, fundamentalist Christians, and college Republicans. Gibson had insinuated that his supporters would bring guns into the city and many apparently did, although to comply with local ordinances, the weapons stayed stowed in backpacks…

Per the local Oregonian, today:

A traumatic brain injury. Third-degree chemical burns. Open wounds.

At least three people who gathered to protest a rally by right-wing group Patriot Prayer were hospitalized Saturday because of injuries sustained from crowd-control munitions fired by Portland police, according to activists, counter-protest organizers and a media report.

The city’s police chief, Danielle Outlaw, on Monday offered her most passionate defense yet of officer tactics used to keep the rival poetical factions apart.

Police succeeded in preventing violent clashes between armed demonstrators that many had feared, she said…

“It was going to be a very rowdy, physically violent ruckus and it was not that because of the actions that the officers took,” Outlaw said…

Read more

This is a Lynching

This video is disturbing, as it is two Louisiana cops murdering a man because he asked to see an arrest warrant when told he was under arrest:

I’m sure you will not be surprised to learn the police were not charged.