The Dallas Observer has two interesting pieces up on the Waco biker shootout:
First, a profile of the Cossacks, which paints them as a tough but mostly mostly law-abiding group. Much of the piece covers Jake “Rattle Can” Rhyne, a Cossack who worked a day-job as an iron-worker and helped coach his children’s sports teams.
That was until May 17, 2015, when a gunfight took his life, along with those of eight other men. The details are sketchy, and Waco police haven’t done much to answer the lingering questions, but a melee involving an “outlaw” club, the notorious Bandidos, left Jake dying in the parking lot of the Waco Twin Peaks, bleeding from bullet wounds to his neck and torso.
Witnesses say he convulsed and bled for up to 45 minutes, receiving no medical help from police who swarmed all around him. Ambulances were parked nearby, but Rhyne spent his final moments with a young Cossack who desperately tried to staunch the bleeding with a bandanna. Jake Wilson, the “brother” who was with him, calls his death “a very big injustice.”
Second, an interview with Wilson, one of the surviving Cossacks, who claims Waco police made no attempt to tend to the wounded, or even allow them to be tended to.
John Wilson: … I ask him if several of us couldn’t pick up Jake along with some other ones that were wounded and carry them to the ambulances, and he basically told me that if I didn’t want to get shot, I wouldn’t.
[So the police] made no attempt during that time to give first aid or any kind of aid to Jake.
No. Absolutely not. Every one of those cop cars had some kind of first aid kit in ‘em. And not a single one at any time walked over, brought us a first aid kit, offered to tie a tourniquet on anybody, patch a hole, anything. Our guys were sitting there with nothing but bandannas in their hands trying to stuff bullet holes.
Could you tell from your vantage point looking at Jake [Rhyne] if there was a lot of blood loss?
So it’s possible — I’m not a doctor, of course, and neither are you — that he bled out.
Well, I have to assume that those guys that were alive 30 minutes after the fact that died without medical care, you know, we can only make assumptions, but their odds of survival would have been better if they’d had medical care. Would they have died anyway? Maybe. As you say, I’m not a doctor. But they certainly deserved the opportunity to try to live. And to try to recover from it. And the opportunity was sitting right there in an ambulance 50 yards away that they weren’t allowed access to.
This accords with previous reports of police not offering medical aid to the wounded.
I’ve often defended police over unrealistic expectations that they always make the exact right call in split-second life-or-death situations. But there was nothing split-second in a Waco aftermath that saw people bleeding to death (some from police bullets) tens of minutes after the scene was secure. That smells less like incompetence and more like (at a minimum) manslaughter.
I’ll reiterate something I’ve said before: One need not take every statement of motorcycle gang members facing possible capital murder charges at face value to believe that something went badly wrong with the police response in the Waco shootout.