LULAC Asks FBI to Investigate Arlington Police

A Hispanic civil rights organization is asking the FBI to investigate the Arlington Police Department's handling of the slaying of a woman who was allegedly threatened by a police officer.

Evelia Villa Valencia, a mother of four, had filed a complaint against an Arlington police officer who asked her to disrobe in front of another officer in August 2010.

The officer then threatened to retaliate if she told anyone about it, said Cassandra Gandra, who spoke on behalf of Valencia's attorney, Domingo Garcia.

The body of Valencia, who was strangled, was found by her 11-year-old son in their Arlington apartment on May 23. Her 3-month-old child was in her arms but was unharmed.

Gandra said Valencia gave police a recorded statement about the incident with the Arlington officer and passed two polygraph tests.

Arlington police confirmed that the officer was fired May 12 after an internal investigation. He is set to appeal the decision in a hearing scheduled for Wednesday.

Lico Reyes, of the League of United Latin America Citizens, said several women had filed similar complaints against the same officer.

LULAC criticized the department on Tuesday for waiting four days to notify the public of Valencia's slaying.

Arlington police said they waited four days because they had to wait for the medical examiner to rule her death a homicide.

LULAC said it is asking the FBI to step in.

"I want them to go back and look at the processes by which the city of Arlington Police Department investigates issues with minorities," said Lico Reyes, a LULAC official. "My question is, is this an individual instance of an abuse of power by the cops or is it systemic?"

Arlington police spokesman Sgt. Os Flores said in a statement Tuesday night that it is critical that investigators objectively evaluate all evidence related to the case and allow that information to lead them to a suspect.

"While each case is different, investigative steps taken to solve the crime are methodically taken to ensure the expedient capture of the person(s) responsible," the statement read. "As a police department, we must consistently support the due process and constitutional rights of individuals in an effort to facilitate unbiased investigations."

Valencia's attorney said police should have notified him when the officer was terminated because his client feared for her life.

Reyes said several women had filed similar complaints against the same officer.

In a news conference outside Arlington City Hall on Tuesday, Valencia's family said they want justice to be served.

"It makes me upset that somebody would do this to her because she didn't deserve this," said her sister-in-law. "Nobody deserves this."

No arrests have been made in Valencia's slaying.

The FBI said it has not been contacted by anyone about the case, but said it does look at such cases on a case-by-case basis.

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