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Grand Jury Declines To Indict Texas Cop In Shooting Death

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City of Grapevine
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SAN ANTONIO — This was perhaps, not unexpected, but it might not be the last we hear of this. On Monday, a Tarrant County grand jury declined to indict a Grapevine, Texas, police officer in the fatal shooting of a Mexican national who was unarmed, but reportedly, “legally inebriated,” after a high speed chase and a traffic stop captured on patrol car video.

Grapevine police and prosecutors on Monday announced Officer Robert Clark would not face charges in the Feb 20, 2015, death of Ruben Garcia Villalpando.

In an unusual move, though perhaps appropriate given the scrutiny police departments across the country are under, Grapevine Police Chief Eddie Salame issued a very quick statement “to the community” on the grand jury proceedings (which you can watch here).

In the six-minute video, Chief Salame said that after an extensive investigation by the Euless Police Department, a review by the Tarrant County D.A’s office and the grand jury, the “case was ‘no billed,’ meaning Officer Clark’s actions on that night, complied with Texas law concerning the use of deadly force by a law enforcement officer.”

Salame added that as the grand jury verdict had come in, the police could now share the dash cam video, which they believed, had been “mischaracterized” since the incident first took place.

The dash cam video, which you can also see clearly, shows the attempt at a stop, the chase through heavy highway traffic to when he finally stops, the point where Villalpando gets out with his hands on his head, right up to when Villalpando goes off camera, approaching Officer Clark, against repeated orders to stop, and then two gunshots can be heard.

Garcia was later found to be legally intoxicated, which would, according to Chief Salame, have been a second DUI offense.

Here's a Dallas Morning News story with an earlier story on the case and an interview with the driver’s family.