So you rented a movie online your friends told you about. The movie starts with bikers gathering at a local restaurant. As the camera pans out, gunshots are heard. Chaos ensues as actors are taking cover. Police and SWAT that happened to be there, rush in. When it is all over, 9 bodies lay in the parking lot covered with white sheets. One hundred seventy-seven others are arrested for simply being at the wrong place at the wrong time. As the movie goes on, you become more and more outraged. The inexperienced Justice of the Peace issues a $1 million bond to all those arrested and states in an interview a message had to be sent. You meet the wives and girlfriends of those arrested who are struggling to pay bills and have to sell personal items and borrow money from friends and family just to make ends meet. They are on the phone talking to one another, giving each other support, having to face the whispers and finger pointing on their own.
The defense attorneys step in; they always save the day. They advise their clients no need to worry, the surveillance video would clear everything up. In court, the D.A. opposes releasing the video. Why, you ask yourself? The judge agrees that the video is not be released to the public and issues a gag order preventing the attorneys from speaking about the case. The police department hides behind a veil of secrecy unless they need to justify their actions, then they run to the media for a press conference.
Next comes the media reporters. They will shed light on this tragic event. They have the power of the media backing them up, except this time. They hit a brick wall. All access to public records is denied. Publicly, the police department states in a press conference they are waiting on a legal ruling from the Attorney General, but after three long months, the A.G. is in hiding. In the meantime, the “bad guys,” the bikers, in a twist of events, are begging to have the surveillance video released.
You are relieved when the next scene is the grand jury in session, but you soon learn the grand jury process is shrouded in secrecy, lopsided, and unfair. You shake your head when the grand jury foreman is a detective for the police department.
We cut to another scene. The who’s who of the town are gathered together in secrecy. A half empty bottle of whiskey sits on the table. Cigar smoke permeates the air. The mayor of the town takes another shot of whiskey. “If these scumbags are not found guilty, our town will get slapped with civil rights lawsuits and the town will go bankrupt. My bid for governor ends and everyone in this room better look for another career and far from here!”
The D.A. chimes in. “By going through the grand jury process, the citizens of our town spoke. It was not our office filing charges. The grand jury no doubt will issue an indictment. Shit, I can indict a ham sandwich.”
“I won’t rule on the public records request until the indictments are handed down,” replies the Attorney General. “Then, hit these bastards with trumped up charges like conspiracy to commit murder. We offer them reduced sentences. They will take it. They cannot afford a trial whether because of their finances or because of the risks involved with a conviction. With a plea conviction, there goes their civil rights lawsuit. We look like we are tough on crime and we climb up the political ladder and not to mention the book deals.”
“This all sounds great, but I am the one taking the beating,” complains the Sergeant for the police department.”
“Don’t worry about that,” replies the A.G. “The Governor has assured me when this is all over, you will be the state’s top cop.”
“And the judge?” asks a voice from the corner of the room.
“He is my former law partner,” quickly replies the D.A.
A script only Hollywood can write. This would never happen in the United States, unless it was before the sixties or it is Waco, Texas in 2015!
Going on three months, we are still in the dark, waiting for the lone character in this movie that comes in and saves the day. Wherever our hero is, I hope he or she comes in quick.
Time will tell if the greatest biker movie ever is Easy Rider or the tragedy of Waco.