Northeast Tarrant

Protesters chant ‘hands up, don’t shoot!’ to Grapevine council

Ruben Garcia Villalpando of North Richland Hills was fatally shot by a Grapevine police officer Friday, Feb. 20, 2014. Garcia is a Mexican national and his death has drawn attention from the Mexican government.
Ruben Garcia Villalpando of North Richland Hills was fatally shot by a Grapevine police officer Friday, Feb. 20, 2014. Garcia is a Mexican national and his death has drawn attention from the Mexican government. Family photo

More than 200 people clogged Grapevine City Hall on Tuesday night, chanting “Hands up, don’t shoot!” to protest the recent shooting of a Mexican national by a Grapevine police officer.

Ruben García Villalpando, 31, of North Richland Hills was shot to death by Grapevine police officer Robert Clark after a brief pursuit that ended on the shoulder of a Texas 121 service road in Euless.

Grapevine police said Clark shot García in the chest twice on Feb. 20 after he got out of his vehicle with his hands up and continued to walk toward Clark even though he was “repeatedly told to stop.”

At one point, García asked Clark, “Are you going to kill me?” García’s brother-in-law Fernando Romero, told the Star-Telegram. A police spokesman confirmed that the officer used profanity before shooting García.

The protesters held signs saying, “Are you going to kill me?” and “Justice 4 Ruben” while chanting in unison. Besides the “hands up, don’t shoot!” slogan that originated from the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., protesters chanted that “the whole damn system is guilty as hell. Indict, convict, send those killer cops to jail.”

Among the more than 20 people who addressed the City Council was Domingo Garcia, the former Dallas councilman who is representing the slain man’s family. He asked that a videotape of the shooting be released and that the officer be terminated.

Romero, speaking Tuesday night to the council, said that “my heart’s been broken” by García’s death.

“We want this to stop,” Romero said. “We want justice. … Please, we ask you, we want justice.”

The Mexican government condemned Grapevine police for the shooting, which is being investigated by Euless police.

Earlier Tuesday, Grapevine officials sent a letter to city residents, asking the public to withhold judgment in the shooting. Once the community watches the dash-cam footage, many questions will be answered and “misconceptions” corrected, city officials wrote.

García was married and had four children — three boys and a girl, ages 1 to 10.

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