CNN omitted critical facts in its coverage of a Texas grand jury’s decision to not bring charges against a Grapevine police officer in the shooting of a man they referred as a “unarmed Mexican immigrant.” The news network never set up the reason for the police chase – a burglary call where the deceased was the suspect. Nor did the network ever report that the suspect repeatedly said “kill me” as he continuously approached the officer, despite being told to stop over and over again.
Instead, the network attempted to make this incident sound like a routine traffic stop for a possible DWI situation where the deceased might not have wanted to go back to jail.
Here are the facts of the case. Grapevine Police Officer Robert Clark responded to an alarm call for a possible burglary of a closed business. When Clark responded to the scene he comes upon a vehicle he would later learn was being driven by Ruben Garcia Villapando, the suspect who would later be shot and killed. The vehicle was in the back area of the building in the middle of the parking lot, not in a parking space.
Upon attempting to make contact with the suspect and with reasonable suspicion that the driver may be involved in a burglary of the business, the driver of the vehicle begins to drive away. Clark engages his emergency lights and gives two short blasts of the siren to indicate to the driver that he should stop.
Unedited Grapevine PD Dashcam Video
Instead of stopping, Villapando immediately takes off, runs a stop sign and heads for the freeway. The chase was on.
Villapando began recklessly darting in and out of extremely heavy traffic, putting the lives of innocent citizens and the police officer in danger.
After finally stopping alongside the busy highway, again putting the officer’s and others’ lives in danger, Villapando is ordered to put his hands out of the window and stay in the vehicle. Villapando repeatedly reaches back inside the vehicle. He then opens the door. After being told to stay inside the car, he gets out anyway. He also reaches back into the vehicle for an inexplicable reason.
Officer Clark was holding Villapando at gun point and repeatedly ordered him to stay where he is. Villapando responds several times that he wants Clark to kill him. He continues to disobey orders and slowly moves closer and closer to Officer Clark.
This was clearly threatening behavior towards the officer. A reasonable person who is holding a felony suspect at gun point would conclude that the suspect’s intent is likely to take the gun away and attack.
Former FBI Supervising Agent Yuri Patrick reviewed the video and drew this same conclusion. “He is verbally argumentative and defiant, even telling the officer to ‘kill me,’ Patrick states in a YouTube video by the Grapevine Police Department. “And then he proceeds to man an approach on the officer — at a steady pace, unwavering and obstinate, eyes averted – despite being at gunpoint and subjected to a battery of orders to stop.”
“Such behavior is consistent with the intent to close the range by moving slowly and inexorably and avoiding eye contact, in order to dispel suspicions until close enough to suddenly attack,” Patrick concludes.
Instead of laying out the facts of Villapando’s criminal and threatening behavior, CNN reports, “A Texas police officer who killed an unarmed Mexican immigrant won’t face criminal charges in the shooting.” Not one time did CNN report on Villapando’s repeated statements of “kill me” to Officer Clark. This again suggests a desperate person who could do unpredictable things.
Police would later learn that Villapando was legally intoxicated. This could account for both his aggressiveness and his bad decisions.
It appears that CNN deliberately omitted and distorted the facts in their article in an attempt to further a storyline that police are just out there shooting minorities for no reason. The grand jury in this case saw the facts and issued a proper response.
“Officer Clark’s actions on that night complied with Texas law concerning the use of deadly force by a law enforcement officer,” Grapevine Police Chief Eddie Salame said in response to the grand jury’s decision.
The family seems ready to attempt to cash in by filing a lawsuit against the city.