2015 is shaping up to be a worse year for AR than 2014.
Last week, this humble journal of McLennan County's brass-knuckled Fist of Justice received over 3,000 hits, and was viewed from all 50 states.
In short: Abelreyna.com is bad. We're nationwide.
AR was handed by Divine Providence the Twin Peaks opportunity to prove that he values punishing those who are actually guilty over throwing red meat at his voter base. This could have been AR's "road to Damascus" moment. Instead, he has once again embarassed himself and the county with his brazen self-promotion and contempt for due process.
But in the end, every Ozymandias gets a mouthful of sand (see Tim Wright, Mark Nifong, and Angela Courey). AR and Waco PD have even given far-left journals such as The Atlantic a reason to slam our county and state. Just take a look at some of the letters rolling into the Waco Trib:
"Allegations that the corporation that runs the jail has made contributions to the McLennan County district attorney open him up for ethical questions about his decision to set unreasonable bail amounts. Now the lawsuits against Waco have begun."
"Citizens who did not commit a crime such as murder should not be held in jail till District Attorney Abel Reyna or others simply decide they are of no advantage."
"Common sense tells me that they rounded up a lot of innocent people. That is not good police work, and I predict this will cost them in the long run."
"Will Waco law enforcement release audio from before and after the point they reportedly fired thousands of rounds into the public?"
"It’s worth remembering that the purpose of the justice system is to separate the innocent from the guilty. Only when that has been done should you punish the guilty."
Coming Soon: Crushing Debt
As the debt from the biker oppression binge adds up, AR's statements to the media just seem to get more and more brain-dead. McLennan County is wondering whether it elected a fiscal conservative, or a fiasco conservationist. The obstinate stupidity of our elected officials has made its way even to The Atlantic, giving this far-left journal a reason to ridicule our county and state. One of the jailed bikers has even filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Waco PD and AR, no doubt the first of many.
Here's AR on the record with KXXV, admitting to using the high bail amounts to coerce statements out of the accused:
"I've heard enough about my person was a victim and most of the people were victims," he said. "Well, guess what? If they're victims they shouldn't have any problem coming to law enforcement and cooperating to be sure justice is done and the individuals solely responsible are brought to justice - and through the first round of interviews we aren't getting that," Reyna added.
In other words, AR just admitted that exercising your 5th Amendment right to remain silent is a jailable offense in his county, and he's willing to abuse the 8th Amendment to get you to say what he wants to hear.
And in case that wasn't perfectly clear, AR then went full-on Suge Knight, calling himself and his cop buddies a "gang":
"We're gonna get to the bottom of it and law enforcement is all working together as a team, and I'll bet on our own gang before I bet on their gang," Reyna promised.
So, dear citizens, when your county government is bankrupted from the administrative costs of jailing dozens of ordinary people, and the millions in judgments against the county that are sure to follow, just remember the above quotes. And remember the next time you head to the polls and vote straight-ticket: Incompetence has a price.
For some context as to how a federal civil rights lawsuit over a mass-arrest can go, here is a recent case from Houston.
Calling the operation "almost totalitarian," a federal judge says a Houston police plan that led to 278 arrests in a Kmart parking lot almost three years ago was unconstitutional.
The ruling by U.S. District Judge Nancy Atlas allows all 10 lawsuits filed in the wake of the Aug. 18, 2002, mass arrest, and a smaller operation the previous night, to proceed.
The "plan to detain all persons ... with no regard for the existence of open businesses and their customers, is facially unconstitutional," Atlas wrote in an opinion made public this week.
Waco officials boasted that even if they run out of the 5.5 million they have budgeted for housing overflow inmates, they have a $700,000 contingency fund from which to draw. Yet the county has already spent over $94,000 housing inmates in the three weeks since the shooting. And that doesn't even begin to show what the final tally could be:
Based on these cases – and there are others that show larger and smaller amounts of compensation – a good rule of thumb is that a false arrest claim may be “worth” between $2500 and $5000 per hour that the plaintiff spends in custody, depending on the facts of the case. (Note: These amounts do not include punitive damages, which the plaintiff sometimes is awarded in false arrest cases.)
Do the math. It has been three weeks since the arrest, or 508 hours. Assume all of the arrested are released today. At $2,500 per hour, even one successful false arrest claim would cost city and county taxpayers over $1 million in damages alone. Over 100 people are still in jail.
Speaking of incompetence, this is the section of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure that non-lawyer and career state trooper W.H. "Pete" Peterson apparently forgot as he set a blanket one million dollar bond amount and drew up identical probable cause affidavits for all of the arrested:
The amount of bail to be required in any case is to be regulated by the court, judge, magistrate or officer taking the bail; they are to be
governed in the exercise of this discretion by the Constitution and by the following rules:
- The bail shall be sufficiently high to give reasonable assurance that the undertaking will be complied with.
- The power to require bail is not to be so used as to make it an instrument of oppression.
- The nature of the offense and the circumstances under which it was committed are to be considered.
- The ability to make bail is to be regarded, and proof may be taken upon this point.
- The future safety of a victim of the alleged offense and the community shall be considered.
The point here is that bond is supposed to guarantee that the accused will abide by the conditions of release, and that he will show up for court. It can not be used to punish the accused (as all accused are presumed innocent until proven guilty). Here's career lawman Peterson spouting off in ignorance of this concept:
“I think it is important to send a message,” Peterson said. “We had nine people killed in our community.
Again, incompetence has a price: A complaint has now been filed against Peterson.
Reposa's Recusal Hearing
On Thursday, Austin lawyer Adam Reposa argued his motion to recuse the entire McLennan County justice apparatus from the biker cases. Say what you will about Reposa's marketing-- this is a man who sees the big picture, and ain't afraid to say that it sucks.
This put AR in the awkward position of asking the visiting judge not to recuse Judge Matt Johnson from the case. After all, why would AR want to practice in front of any judge who wasn't his former law partner?
Reposa intended to call magistrate Virgil Bain and J.P. Peterson to the stand as fact witnesses. Reposa probably wanted to ask them whether they were ordered to set the bond at the rate they did and if so, who gave that order. However, the visiting judge ruled that their involvement with the case was finished, thus they need not testify. Yet rumours are circling that all examining trials will be heard by Peterson, the same Justice of the Peace who set the bonds.
Reposa lost, but the following day, a bond-reduction hearing was conducted in Judge Johnson's court. Chief Deputy Prosecutor Michael "Dead Eye" Jarrett, of prior Glock / window pane fame, stated that the unreleased video footage showed "Bandidos executing Cossacks and Cossacks executing Bandidos."
This is likely a false statement, as we know only one patched Bandido actually died in the incident.
Lack of Transparency
How can anyone know what happened, when the authorities continue to dodge media inquiries and hide the evidence? AR knows the truth. Michael Jarrett and Waco PD know, too. The authorities have no right to bring secret evidence against the accused in a court of law, nor do they have the right to run McLennan County out of sight of the media and the voters. If AR and his buddies are telling the truth, they should shut up and let the video speak for itself. Period.
As one internet commenter put it: "I doubt the police shot everyone on May 17, 2015. But they are certainly behaving as if they did."
Silence feeds speculation. Arrogance breeds contempt. Incompetence breeds bankruptcy.
Thanks, AR and Waco PD, for making a complete hash out of crisis management and getting Waco back into the national press for all the wrong reasons.