WACO -- George Bergman's old friend rarely gets ridden these days. She's got the cobwebs to prove it.
“It's been a while,” he says, standing next to his prized blue Harley Davidson.
The Rockwall resident’s life was forever altered on May 15, 2015, when he went with his biker club friends to Waco.
He’d just gotten to Waco’s Twin Peaks restaurant when the shooting started. The gun battle that made national headlines left nine people dead and 20 more injured.
Bergman spent 20 days in jail. He lost his job. He was also one of the 155 people indicted on engaging in organized crime charges.
Not one of them has been taken to trial, despite the efforts of Dallas attorney Clint Broden and others.
“The position of the DA seems to be delay, delay, delay,” says Broden, who represents Bergman and two others in their criminal cases. “Obviously, there was some bad actors there, but a large majority were simply innocent bystanders.”
Police have turned over three terabytes of discovery, but they still have not released whose bullets killed each of the slain bikers.
“You would expect the police department and the district attorneys to be able to tell you how many were killed by law enforcement and we still do not have that information,” Broden says.
Broden is working closely with civil rights attorney Don Tittle.
Tittle has filed about 120 civil rights lawsuits against the DA’s office and the Waco Police Department over the last year. Most of them were filed this week because of a two-year deadline to file those types of cases.
“They were all arrested without probable cause,” Tittle said. “They were arrested simply because they were present when violence occurred. They have videos that contradict their own narrative of a big shootout that everybody’s involved in. The video shows 90 percent of the people running for cover.”
Tittle says about 25 of the people he represents have not been indicted. The DA’s office is claiming that they remain under investigation.
Neither the DA’s office or the Waco Police Department returned request for comment from WFAA.
On that day in 2015, bikers from the Texas Coalition of Clubs & Independents gathered at the now-defunct Twin Peaks restaurant. The Bandidos biker gang and the Cossacks biker group had been at crosshairs. The bullets began flying when the Cossacks showed up at the restaurant.
On that day, he made a last-minute decision to go to Waco with his biker club. He thought it would be a nice ride. They’d just pulled into the parking lot and Bergman was walking to a nearby Mexican restaurant when the bullets began flying. Bergman ran and hid behind a car, watching as the shootout unfolded.
He gets emotional just talking about what he saw. He says he witnessed a Waco police officer fire indiscriminately into the crowd.
That's when Bergman called his wife.
“The last phone call he made to me was 'honey, I love you. I may never see you again,’” says Judy Bergman, his wife of 26 years. “'I’m in the middle of the shootout,' and it was three days later before I heard from again.”
Broden blames District Attorney Abel Reyna for the decision to arrest almost 200 bikers that day. Police used a fill-in-the-blank probable cause arrest affidavit.
He says video shows one of his clients sitting at a table ordering when the shooting started and fleeing. He says the video also shows Bergman taking cover and taking no part in the shootout.
“It’s been the law in the United States that you have to have individualized affidavits,” Broden said. “The fact that they used these fill-in-the-blank affidavits tells you they didn’t have individualized probable cause.”
Tittle says Waco police basically had a theory and tried to make evidence fit that theory, even though video shows most people ducking for cover or fleeing.
“’Arrest them all, let God sort them out.' That is literally their approach to this incident,” Tittles says.
Bergman remains out on bond. The pending criminal indictment has left him in limbo. He owns a trucking company that used to frequently make deliveries at military bases, but he can no longer do so.
“It has really done a number on me,” he says.
He also has to avoid driving through McLennan County, so that means deliveries to Austin are out. He’s also forbidden from hanging out with his friends in the biker club because of the bond conditions.
They have been left in limbo, worrying constantly that the DA’s office will cook up a reason to try to revoke his bail.
“They’ve had two years to go through all the evidence and know who's guilty,” says his wife. “Release the ones that aren’t, prosecute the ones that are guilty, and let everybody move on with their lives.”
Her husband just wants prosecutors to give him his day in court.
“They made a huge mistake and I think they really know it,” he said. “If y’all want to accuse me of something, don’t let it drag on. Let’s go.”
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