Hundreds rally for release of bikers jailed since Waco shootout

 About 1,000 bikers rode into Waco in protest of their friends and family members still in jail weeks after a deadly shootout in a restaurant parking lot.

Bikers revved up outside the McLennan County Courthouse hoping their fellow riders would feel their support at the jail four miles away.

"There are people that should be punished if they broke the law, but I don't believe they should be punished just because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time," said Trauma Rogers, founder of the Black Horse Cavalry Nomads bike club.

Three weeks ago, Waco police said they responded to a gunfight outside of a Twin Peaks Restaurant and returned fire.

"In my 35 years in law enforcement, this is the most violent and most gruesome scene that I have dealt with," Waco Police Sgt. Patrick Swanton said at the scene of the shooting May 17, 2015.  

The shooting occurred during a Texas Confederation of Clubs meeting. Stephen Cochran, a member of that group, said he was at a neighboring parking lot when shots rang out.

"I was there. There were so many rounds fired you couldn't count them. The rounds that I heard were suppressed gunfire. The suppressed gunfire is the law enforcement," said Cochran.  

Nine people died and 18 were injured, all of them bikers.

"I mean you've got doctors here, attorneys, retired police officers, retired firefighters, retired veterans, we're not criminals. We're just people who love to get on two wheels and feel the wind in our face," said Rogers.

Police arrested everyone on scene. About 175 people were charged with engaging in organized criminal activity. Justice of the Peace Walter "Pete" Peterson set each person's bond at $1 million.

"They violated the Eighth Amendment, excessive bail. There's no reason to have the bail that high. If you don't know who did it, let them all go and re-arrest them when you do know who did it," said Rogers.

Dozens of jailed bikers are still waiting for a bond reduction hearing, some of them scheduled a month away.

The McLennan County Sheriff's Department said 75 bikers that were arrested have been released over the last three weeks. 102 remain in jail. A lot of the bikers protesting Sunday said many of them never should have been arrested to begin with.

"Just because I wear a cut and a set of colors doesn't mean I'm a criminal. It doesn't mean that I'm a bad person and it doesn't mean I violate the law and if I'm out at a restaurant and a crime is committed, just because I'm there doesn't mean I'm guilty," said Rogers.

McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara did not respond to protestors concerns, but did make a statement about the rally itself.

"I want to compliment the law enforcement that pitched in and helped us from many areas behind the scenes. I also want to compliment the rally guys, the protestors, for keeping it peaceful. There were no incidents and we appreciate that," said McNamara.

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