Protesters are calling for more transparency and dash camera video of a deadly police-involved shooting to be released.
Ruben Garcia Villalpando, 31, died after Police Officer Robert Clark shot him following a chase from Grapevine into Euless Feb. 20, 2015.
Villalpando, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico, got out of his vehicle with his hands in the air, according to the Grapevine Police Department.
A police account of the events that led to the shooting states Villalpando walked toward Clark ignoring the officer’s repeated demands he stop advancing.
He reaches the front bumper of the patrol car where he passes the view of the dash camera before the shooting. He was shot twice in the chest and later died at John Peter Smith Hospital.
Grapevine police showed the video to Villalpando’s family, but are not releasing it publicly at the request of the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office.
Villalpando’s brother-in-law Fernando Romero, who has seen the video, said it shows the officer acting unprofessionally.
“It shows how my brother-in-law was mistreated, bad words,” said Romero, “I mean, the police officer could have taken different actions, more professional, a professional way to handle the situation to de-escalate not escalate. He didn’t, he didn’t do that.”
Grapevine police have previously stated the officer did what he could to keep Villalpando at a safe distance until backup arrived and an arrest could be made.
In a release on March 5, Grapevine police said, “Our department previously indicated its intent to release the dash-cam video of the incident involving Mr. Ruben Garcia Villalpando. We believe the dash-cam video, as well as information that has already been in the media, 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 backup arrived and an arrest safely accomplished.”
The department's statement goes on to say, “The Tarrant County District Attorney's Office has requested that the video not be publicized at this time in the following request: Due process requires that evidence not be released to the public while an investigation is ongoing; therefore, the Criminal District Attorney's Office requests that in this case, as in all cases, no evidence be released to the public while the investigation is pending."
Grapevine police said Clark responded to an alarm and communicated over police radio he believe it to be false, but later noticed Villalpando’s car stopped in an entrance to the parking lot’s West side.
Authorities said Clark activated his lights, and Villalpando fled on state Highway 121. He eventually stopped within the Euless city limits.
The following is taken directly from the Grapevine police timeline of the shooting:
Mr. Villalpando gets out of the car with his hands up and stands outside his car, while Officer Clark commands him to stop. Officer Clark gives him further commands to not move.Mr. Villalpando, contrary to clear instructions, walks toward Officer Clark while Clark is repeatedly telling him to stop.
The video shows Mr. Villalpando raising his hands and/or placing them on his head, while continuing to walk towards [sic] Officer Clark. This continues as Mr. Villalpando walks to the front bumper of Officer Clark's patrol vehicle, off camera view.
Officer Clark continues to tell Mr. Villalpando to get to the back of the car. Two shots are then heard. Officer Clark notifies dispatch that "shots were fired" and he requests paramedics.
Euless police are conducting the ongoing investigation into the shooting.