Skip to comments.Court Rejects Davidian Claim Against U.S.
Posted on 07/16/2003 10:01:25 AM PDT by Dan from Michigan
Court Rejects Davidian Claim Against U.S.
Tue Jul 15, 9:52 AM ET Add U.S. National - AP to My Yahoo!
By ALAN SAYRE, Associated Press Writer
NEW ORLEANS - A federal appeals court rejected an attempt by survivors to collect damages from the government for the deadly 1993 confrontation outside Waco, Texas, between federal agents and members of the Branch Davidian cult.
Without dissent, a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals (news - web sites) late Monday turned aside contentions that a lower court judge who ruled against the survivors was biased.
Scores of Branch Davidian members, including leader David Koresh, were killed in 1993 when government agents stormed their compound after a weekslong standoff. Survivors have been pursuing a wrongful death claim for years.
In September 2000 in Waco, U.S. District Judge Walter Smith rejected their lawsuit, backing the government contention that agents did not use excessive force in their tear gas assault on the compound. Smith found the Davidians themselves set the fire that killed nearly 80 men, women and children.
The appeal before the 5th Circuit basically dealt with one question: Was Smith biased against the Davidians because of remarks he made during the trial and his past relationships with government attorneys?
"We conclude that appellants' allegations do not reflect conduct that would cause a reasonable observer to question Judge Smith's impartiality," Chief 5th Circuit Judge Edith Jones wrote for the panel.
Attorneys for the survivors did not immediate return calls seeking comment Tuesday morning.
The Davidians had argued that Smith's comments on and off the bench showed "deep-seated antagonism" and "preconceptions" about the group, whose beliefs encompassed fierce hostility toward the government.
As an example, the survivors said Smith had called one Branch Davidian follower "crazy" and a murderer.
But government attorneys said Smith "displayed patience and diligence wading through enormously complicated legal and factual claims."
On Feb. 28, 1993, federal agents stormed the Branch Davidian compound looking for stockpiled automatic weapons and hand grenades. Four federal agents and three Davidians were killed in the clash.
For 51 days, the government attempted to get cult followers to leave the compound. On April 19, agents fired tear gas rounds into the compound and fire destroyed it.
Bottom line is that whatever you may think of the Davidians in general or Koresh in particular, these were a bunch of men, women and children who were minding their own business who in a short time, nearly all of whom wound up dead.
In an age where organizations lose lawsuits for serving hot coffee, not one single person has been held accountable at any time.
With every injustice the backlash will swell, as it should.
Especially since they could have nabbed Koresh while jogging.
Very sad case.
So many children gassed and burned to death.
There must be a better way to apprehend a guy while shopping at the local store or jogging the outside trails.
Especially too, since Koresh and his christian followers didn't have any illegal weapons, hadn't broken any laws, and had not abused any children.
It was pre-meditated murder, for no reason other than to publicize the "goodness" of the ATF, who were worried about losing some of their funding.
You're willing to believe that one of the people who participated in a mass-murder was really a good guy who failed in his attempt to defuse the Waco situation. I'm not able to believe that.
Combined with our highly professional lawmen "mooning" the Davidian family, killing the family dogs, playing dying rabbit screams, loud music, helicopter overflights, armored vehicles circling the home, strobe lights, and shooting into the house, having a negotiator break his word to Koresh fits easily into a plan to drive the "crazy" Davidians into losing control and doing something stupid, in order to justify, on film, having been attacked by our government in the first place.
It was a campaign to make the Davidians believe that they had nothing to lose, that they were all going to die. It was a strategy of intimidation, and the "good" negotiator was just as guilty as the rest of our heroic law enforcement men, all of whom participated in the mass murder of innocent American citizens.
And got away with it.
Reno is a flunky, with a true flunky's heart. There's no way she did this without permission.
Wait...wasn't the Clinton administration also on their "hate speech" and "anti-government militia" campaigns to prepare the public for the restrictive laws waiting to be passed?
The movies are fun at times, but propaganda movies are a sign of government tyranny.
This "ticked-off" negotiator participated in an action he could plainly see leading to the death of Koresh and his family, even if he didn't have advance knowledge that the Davidians were slated for death. After the killings, the negotiator's only complaint was in "procedural" differences between departments.
The negotiator didn't testify in support of the Davidians in court, and I don't believe that anyone who was there thought the Davidians were guilty of the crimes that they were accused of.
I also don't believe that anyone with experience (or reasoning ability) would believe that four attackers were killed in the first few minutes of a frontal assault, each being shot in the left temple by the exact same caliper weapon, in the middle of a furious firefight. Those four law enforcement men were executed by some of their companions, not shot by Davidians defending their home.
For the sceptics among you lurkers, remember that each one of those four dead officers had recently served on the exact same Presidential detail as bodyguards for President Bill Clinton, who is famous for having well-publicized murders, suicides, and accidents linked to his name.
The Davidians didn't kill anyone, not even in self-defence. I'm not saying the Davidians didn't try, but they did not kill any of their attackers.
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