Biker Sues Waco, McLennan County, Alleges Unconstitutional Arrest, Detention

A lawyer representing one of the more than 170 bikers arrested outside of a Waco restaurant May 17 has filed a civil rights lawsuit saying his client's arrest and detention is unconstitutional.

F. Clinton Broden released a statement Friday saying 30-year-old Matthew Alan Clendennen, arrested outside the Twin Peaks restaurant earlier this month after nine people were killed and 18 injured, is suing the City of Waco, McLennan County and Waco Police Officer Manuel Chavez.

In the suit, "Chavez is accused of signing a "fill in the name" warrant he knew lacked individual probable cause and deceiving the Justice of the Peace who signed the criminal complaint. The City of Waco and McLennan county are accused of "caus[ing] the arrest and detention of numerous individuals...regardless of whether or not there was individualized probable cause to arrest and detain a particular individual."

Broden's news release on the suit goes on to say Clendennen is a longtime McLennan County resident, a Baylor graduate and a former firefighter for the Hewitt and Marlin fire departments. It also says his client's continued detention is putting a strain on the shared custody of his children, the management of his landscaping company and the welfare of his employees.

Broden said Clendennen, a member of the Scimitar Motorcycle Club, was present on the patio but took cover in the restaurant after a fight broke out. He said his client did not engage in any violent behavior and did nothing to encourage such behavior.

"Mr. Clendennen was arrested on a "fill in the name" criminal complaint and has been incarcerated for almost two weeks on a $1,000,000.00 bond. As a result, Mr. Clendennen's ex-wife has petitioned for full custody of the two children they currently share custody of and Mr. Clendennen is at risk of losing his landscaping business although his father is attempting to run the business in his absence. If Mr. Clendennen loses the business, his employees will be without jobs," Broden said in a news release.

"In order to arrest somebody in the United States, the Supreme Court has made clear that there must be individualized probable cause to believe that a particular person actually committed a crime. In this case, there was absolutely no evidence that Mr. Clendennen committed any crime" said Broden.

Broden's statement added that bond hearings to reduce the $1 million bonds are not being heard until June 5 and, after consultation with the McLennan County District Attorney's Office, the Justice of Peace has refused to schedule a "probable cause hearing" until Aug. 6.

"In America we normally do not hold an innocent person in custody for three months before according them a probable cause hearing. From a constitutional perspective, what is occurring in McLennan County is extremely troubling," Broden said.

Waco police spokesman Sgt. Patrick Swanton could not immediately be reached for comment, per the Associated Press.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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