With a nine-month long Texas Rangers investigation coming to an end, this week Cameron County District Attorney Luis V. Saenz announced that former San Benito Police Department Chief Michael Galvan, who is now Assistant Police Chief, and other officers involved were “not billed,” or not indicted in regards to a shooting that occurred on December 7, 2018 resulting in the death of 21-year-old San Benito resident Ricardo Treviño III.
Saenz held a press conference on Wednesday, Sept. 18 in which he told the media the findings of the investigation held by the Texas Rangers. “The Texas Rangers presented their investigation of the officer involved shooting on December 7, 2018 to a grandy jury this morning. The deadly force used by officers on that day resulted in the death of Ricardo Treviño [III]. The grand jury concluded that said officers were justified in their use of deadly force,” read Saenz. “Their conclusion was based on the applicable law and the facts as determined by the Texas Rangers investigation.”
Ricardo Treviño III, 21, was fatally shot by San Benito police officers on Dec. 7, 2018 after a high speed chase ensued from the church located at 480 E. Expressway. According to reports and family members, police were initially called because Treviño had ingested a large number of painkillers, but he refused to confront police and drove off. The car chase, according to Saenz, lasted about 20 minutes, covering an area of about 22 miles.
The San Benito officers involved were then Chief of Police Michael Galvan, Victor Alejandro Espitia, and David Reynaldo Rebolledo. The other law enforcement agency involved was Deputy Constable Pct. 5 Jose Angel Villareal and Deputy Constable Pct. 5 Carlos Cordoba. Though the number of times Treviño was shot was not presented, Saenz did say four police officers fired 31 rounds.
Sitting down with the NEWS, Saenz summarized the officers’ and Galvan’s actions as an act of self-defense while stressing the five attempts the chief made to bring the chase to a halt.
Treviño’s mother, April Flores, expressed deep disappointment and anger over the grand jury’s decision. “I don’t understand why the accountability is different when it’s an officer,” she said. “No one should be above the law. What’s wrong is wrong, doesn’t matter what title you hold. Across the nation, officers tend to cover for officers.”
The City of San Benito, Wednesday evening, released a statement reading, “Now that the criminal investigation part of this incident has been concluded, the City will renew its request for the underlying criminal investigative materials from the Texas Rangers. These materials will become part of the civil service investigative process, and that process can now go forward.”
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