By Tamar Auber, March 24, 2014.
A Dallas police officer has been fired and is facing charges after his own dash cam caught him punching and pistol-whipping a suspect who was accused of bumping into another detective and driving off.
Rene Villanueva is now facing charges of official oppression and assault, according to a report by CBS Dallas-Fort Worth, stemming from a November 2013 incident when Villanueva was working an off-duty job with fellow officers.
Suspect Ambrosio Monsivais allegedly hit another deputy with his vehicle and sped off, leading to a 2-mile chase that ultimately ended with Villanueva reaching his gun hand into the suspect’s truck and hitting the man. He then strikes the man several more times before throwing the man to the ground, hitting him again and again with his fists while cuffing him.
Attorney Geoffrey Henley told CBS that the fact Villanueva was caught pistol-whipping his victim is particularly problematic for the now ex-cop who was officially indicted on March 12.
“The potential for abuse from pistol-whipping in particular is great, because presumably if you’ve already got a gun on him then there’s a high probability that the person is going to be cooperating,” Henley explained. “Now subsequently to subduing this person you’re continuing to inflict pain.”
Villanueva’s colleagues, however, insist that the dash cam does not tell the whole story.
“What people don’t know is that Rene observed this suspect hit a Dallas Sheriff’s officer, which injured his knee, he hit two parked cars in the parking lot,” Robert Arredondo told ABC. “He chased him, if you watch the video, you will see the suspect had no regard for oncoming traffic or any person in the area.”
“Officer Villanueva did his job,” Arredondo stressed.
Police chief David Brown, however, felt otherwise, and terminated Villanueva after an internal investigation determined Villanueva used excessive force.
The suspect, Monsivais suffered minor injuries due to the beating and was ultimately charged with aggravated assault against a public servant, driving while intoxicated , evading arrest and resisting arrest. He is also facing deportation.