A grand jury in Texas on Monday declined to indict a police officer who shot an unarmed Mexican immigrant after a brief high-speed pursuit.
Ruben García Villalpando, 31, was fatally shot Feb. 20 by Grapevine Police Officer Robert Clark after exiting his vehicle with his hands up. Edited video released Monday shows Villalplando walking toward the police cruiser despite repeated orders from Clark to stop.
"Get to the back of the car," Clark is heard saying in the video.
"Nah — kill me," Villalpando replies as he continues to walk toward Clark.
Clark again orders Villalpando to return to the back of his car before he cuts out of the camera's view and shots are fired. Villalpando died after taking two bullets to the chest.
In a statement Monday, Tarrant County District Attorney Sharen Wilson said her office had made no recommendations to the grand jury.
"This office is committed to providing justice for all residents of Tarrant County, and ensuring the constitutional right to unbiased consideration," Wilson said. "The ruling on this case was made by an impartial grand jury of Tarrant County citizens based
solely on the facts, and we respect the decision of the citizens."
The grand jury was made up of two Latinos, five blacks and five whites, according to Sam Jordan, a spokeswoman for the district attorney's office.
The Grapevine Police Department had previously declined to release video footage of the incident at the request of prosecutors, reneging on a previous statement that it would.
The footage was narrated by Grapevine Police Chief Eddie Salame. He said Villalpando — who medical examiners had determined was legally intoxicated — may have been acting in response to the possibility of facing a second arrest for driving while under the influence of alcohol.
"There is no question that the loss of life is a source of sadness and we understand the concerns expressed by many before all the facts were known," Salame said.
The grand jury's decision comes amid unrest and a national discussion about police use of force and race relations.
The shooting also resulted in a number of protests and criticism from the Mexican government. In a statement at the time, Mexico's secretary of foreign relations, José Antonio Meade, expressed "strong condemnation" over Villalpando's death.
Adolfo Flores is a national security correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles. He focuses on immigration.
Contact Adolfo Flores at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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