No Charges for Texas Cop Who Shot Mexican Immigrant
GRAPEVINE, Texas, May 19 (UPI) — A Texas police officer who shot and killed an unarmed Mexican immigrant after a high-speed chase will not face criminal charges, a grand jury decided Monday.
The grand jury declined to indict Grapevine police Officer Robert Clark, 33, in the death of Ruben Garcia Villalpando, 31. The Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the February shooting, saying it was “disproportionate use of lethal force that results in the unnecessary loss of life and erodes the trust that should exist between the authorities and the communities in which they operate.”
“The grand jurors were given complete and open access to all the evidence in this case, including cellphone videos, the dash cam video from officer Clark’s vehicle, witness statements, police records and reports, and any additional information that they requested,”said Larry Moore, who led the state’s presentation.
“They heard testimony from witnesses representing both Mr. Villalpando and officer Clark. The attorneys representing officer Clark and the Villalpando family were also given the opportunity to directly address the grand jury, should they wish to do so.”
Police said Villalpando led Clark on a chase in the Dallas suburb, eventually stopping and exiting the car with his hands up. Then, contrary to the officer’s instructions, he slowly walked to the officer’s car with his hands on his head. Police said he was instructed back to his car several times. Villalpando was shot twice in the chest.
“We’ve also heard suggestions that Mr. Villalpando was not a threat because at times his hands are raised, but it would only take seconds for him to change the position of his hands if he comes close enough to attack the officer,” Grapevine Police Chief Eddie Salame said.
The Feb. 20 case was one of three U.S. police shootings of Mexican nationals that drew international attention.