Texas Officer Sued for Fatal Shooting

     DALLAS (CN) – The widow and children of an unarmed Mexican immigrant who was shot to death during a traffic stop sued the Dallas suburb of Grapevine and the police officer who killed their husband and father.
     The family of Ruben Garcia-Villalpando sued Grapevine, Police Chief Eddie Salame and Officer Robert W. Clark on Wednesday in Federal Court.
     Garcia’s widow, Martha Anjelica Romero, says her husband “was unarmed at the time of the shooting and had his hands in the air” when Clark killed him on the shoulder of a state highway in nearby Euless.
     “Plaintiffs will further show that Officer Clark and the other officers present at the scene failed to provide Mr. Villalpando with adequate medical care for his gunshot wounds,” the 9-page complaint states.
     “Additionally, plaintiffs will show that defendants Eddie Salame and the City of Grapevine hired Officer Clark with full knowledge of Officer Clark’s employment history and record of infractions which put them on actual notice of Officer Clark’s incompetence as a law enforcement officer.”
     Romero and her two young children and her late husbands parents say Garcia “posed no threat of serious physical harm” to Clark, whose use of deadly force was “totally unjustified.”
     Police said Clark followed Garcia’s vehicle while investigating a burglar alarm.
     Tarrant County’s refusal to prosecute Clark in May sparked protests in Texas and Mexico, coming in the midst of a national debate over police brutality, racial profiling and failure to prosecute police.
     The Consulate General of Mexico in Dallas expressed anger that Grapevine officials had not notified it of the death of a Mexican citizen. The consulate issued a statement at the time criticizing Clark for “disproportionate use of lethal force” that “erodes the trust that should exist between the authorities and the communities in which they operate.”
     After a Tarrant County grand jury declined to charge Clark in May, Tarrant County District Attorney Sharen Wilson released a dashcam video of the shooting .
     It shows Garcia with his hands on his head after he leaves his vehicle. He ignores Clark’s repeated shouts to stay near the back of his vehicle and slowly walks toward the police officer.
     Garcia purportedly asks Clark if he is going to kill him and Clark responds that he will not. Clark can be heard asking his dispatcher to “step it up,” because Garcia is saying, “Kill me.”
     Soon after Garcia walks out of frame on the driver’s side of Clark’s vehicle, two gunshots are heard. Garcia died from two gunshot wounds to the chest.
     An autopsy showed Garcia had a blood alcohol level that was twice the legal limit, Police Chief Salame said at the time.
     Grapevine officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment Thursday.
     Garcia’s family seeks actual and punitive damages for violations of his Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights, conspiracy and wrongful death. They are represented by Domingo Garcia in Dallas and William S. Hommel in Tyler.

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