A former Dallas police officer accused of excessive force will fight to get his job back after a jury found him not guilty on charges of official oppression and assault Monday.
A grand jury indicted Rene Villanueva, 37, and he was fired from the Dallas Police Department in March after dash camera video showed him striking a man inside a pickup truck and hitting him again as he tried to handcuff him during an arrest in November 2013.
Defense Attorney Vanita Parker said Villanueva should never have been indicted in the first place.
“Officer Villanueva dealt with an illegal felon that attempted to run over a police officer and did, in fact, hit a police officer, injured Officer Polk, continued intoxicated driving through residential areas, disregarding every traffic device and he continued at a high rate of speed and came to a stop and that’s when he was taken down,” Parker said.
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The man inside the pickup truck, Ambrosio Monsivais, was later deported and was not in attendance at Monday’s trial. For that reason, the prosecution asked to dismiss the charges against Villanueva.
“We wanted to dismiss this case because the complaining witness was necessary to successfully prosecute the case and that witness had been deported,” said Russell Wilson with the prosecution. “We thought that was the only thing we could do in an attempt to preserve the public record of what had happened in this case to this person, this human being that had their civil rights violated by this officer.”
The defense, though, pushed for a trial to help clear Villanueva’s name by allowing for an attorney to expunge the charges from his record quickly.
“A district attorney dismissing a charge against an individual in this case - these were class A misdemeanors, he would have to wait two years until after the statute of limitation has run on this case before these charges could be expunged off his criminal record,” Parker said.
No arguments or evidence were presented during Monday’s trial. From the time the jury was seated in the courtroom to the time they delivered a verdict of not guilty was only about 15 minutes.
Villanueva will now appeal to get his job back.