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GRAPEVINE (CBSDFW.COM) – The continued outcry from family, friends and diplomats will not result in dash-cam video of a Grapevine police officer involved shooting being released any earlier.
Officials with the department had said the video of Officer Robert Clark shooting 31-year-old Ruben Garcia Villalpando would be released this week.
Officials backed off making the video public, because they say investigators with the Euless Police Department have not completed interviewing witnesses. The decision was further enforced when the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office requested that, “in this case, as in all cases, no evidence be released to the public while the investigation is pending.”
Family, friends and Hispanic activists have rallied since the shooting on February 20. The group has said they are troubled by police dashboard camera video that shows the last moments of Villalpando’s life. A lawyer for the family said the video shows Villalpando was unarmed and was following police orders, despite him being called derogatory names.
In a press release statement on March 5, officials with the Grapevine Police Department said the video, “clearly demonstrates that Officer Clark was doing everything in his power, including the use of strong language, to keep Mr. Villalpando at a safe distance until back-up arrived and an arrest safely accomplished.”
After learning of the postponement of the video release the Garcia family issued a statement that said, in part –
“The statements by the Grapevine Police dept. continue to find excuses to hide the truth and the actions of Officer Clark in shooting a unarmed man,who had his hands in the air,with no prior criminal convictions ,and who had committed no crime to be stopped for in the first place. Misinformation and failure to release the tape show the clear intent to hide the REAL truth from the public.”
Euless police are handling the investigation because the incident started with a police chase in Grapevine, but ended with shots fired when Officer Clark stopped Villalpando along Highway 121 in Euless.
Grapevine PD went on in the March 5 statement to say, “An impartial, objective, and transparent investigation of this matter is being conducted.” Euless PD is expected to have their investigation completed by the end of next week and Grapevine police say they “anticipate” releasing the dash-cam video at that time.
Villalpando was a Mexican national.
Euless police have met with Mexico’s top diplomat, Consul José Octavio Tripp Villanueva, who said he thinks the shooting was unjustified and publicly condemned the killing.
Several protests and vigils have been held at Grapevine Police Department headquarters and at Grapevine city council meetings. The family is also calling for an independent investigation of the shooting by the U.S. Justice Department.
In the March 5 statement, Grapevine police again said how much they appreciate citizens keeping “an open mind and waiting for the results of a complete and thorough investigation.”
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