On Wednesday February 25th, 2015, the Mexican government demanded an investigation into the shooting death of an unarmed undocumented immigrant last week by a Grapevine, Texas, police officer, calling the killing a “disproportionate use of lethal force.”
This is the second unarmed Mexican immigrant shot dead by US police officers in less than two weeks.
Rubén García Villalpando, a native of Mexico’s Durango state, died early Saturday February 21st, after Officer Robert Clark shot him twice in the chest.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs deeply condemns the death of 31-year-old Mexican national Rubén García Villalpando,” the Mexican government stated in an official letter to the police departments of Grapevine, Euless and the Tarrant County District Attorney’s office.
The statement called the shooting a “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 shooting happened at about 7 p.m. on Friday February, 20, immediately following a high-speed chase on Texas State Highway 121 that began in Grapevine, but ended in Euless.
Police said that officer Clark, a member of the Grapevine Police Department since May 2014, responded to an alarm at a building in the 3500 block of William D. Tate Avenue.
After investigating the alarm, and communicating over the police radio that he believed it to be a false alarm, Clark drove through the parking lot and noticed García Villalpando’s car stopped in the entrance on the lot’s west side, police said.
Clark activated his red and blue emergency lights, according to Grapevine police, but García Villalpando drove out of the parking lot and entered the southbound service road of Highway 121.
Clark then activated his siren and communicated by radio he was in pursuit, police said, as García Villalpando’s car entered Highway 121 at a high rate of speed.
Dash camera video shows García Villalpando “weaving through and around the heavy traffic and driving on the shoulder of the highway attempting to evade Officer Clark,” according to the official timeline of events released by the Grapevine Police Department.
Once García Villalpando eventually stopped on the shoulder of the Cheek Sparger Road exit, Clark “gives verbal commands to Mr. Villalpando to keep his hands out of his car,” police noted.
García Villalpando approached Clark and ignored repeated instructions to stop, according to police. The dash-cam video shows Villalpando raise his hands and put them on his head, while continuing to walk towards the officer, police said.
Villalpando was shot twice and was flown to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, where he later died.
Clark has been placed on routine administrative leave. Police are investigating the shooting.
Police has shown the dash camera video to several members of García Villalpando’s family and their attorneys.
“This is much, much worse than Ferguson,” said Attorney Domingo Garcia, referring to the officer-involved shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager, in Ferguson, Missouri last summer. “This is an absolute cold-blooded murder by a man wearing a badge and a uniform.”
Family members have stated they want to know why Clark did not approach Garcia Villalpando and cuff him if he was a suspect in a crime, or why the officer did not use a TASER instead of a pistol.
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