SAN BENITO — The mother of an unarmed 21-year-old San Benito man fatally shot in 2018 filed a federal lawsuit Friday against the city of San Benito and Cameron County claiming police officers and constables used “excessive force” and the entities failed to properly train lawmen involved in the shooting.
April Flores filed the lawsuit against the city of San Benito, Cameron County, police officers involved, Precinct 5 Constable Eddie Solis and two deputy constables claiming lawmen used “excessive and deadly force resulting in the unlawful shooting death of Ricardo Treviño under the color of law.”
City and county officials did not respond to requests for comment.
Former San Benito Police Chief Michael Galvan and Precinct 5 Constable Eddie Solis declined comment.
The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court by attorney John Blaylock claims the city and county “failed to properly train, supervise, screen, discipline, transfer, counsel or otherwise control officers who are known, or who should have been known, to engage in the use of excessive force and/or deadly force, including those officers repeatedly accused of such acts.”
The lawsuit claims the city and county “failed to implement and/or enforce policies and procedures” and failed to “adequately supervise and discipline” the police officers involved.
The lawsuit claims the officers “knowingly and consciously disregarded” Treviño’s rights.
The lawsuit claims the officers and deputy constables “surrounded Treviño’s vehicle remininscent of an old-time Western lynch mob determined to carry out an execution.”
The lawsuit accuses officers of blocking Treviño car as he “attempted to move out of the cul-de-sac through an opening between the (police) vehicles.”
“Ricardo Treviño III then began to reverse his vehicle and the defendant police officers and deputies shot Treviño as he reversed and ended up in a ditch.”
The lawsuit claims “officers and constables continued shooting Treviño even after his vehicle came to a stop in the ditch and Treviño had placed the vehicle in park. Treviño had fully retreated from all of the (defendants) and had even raised up his hands.”
The lawsuit claims the officers had “no probable cause or reasonable suspicion that Treviño was attempting to commit a crime. In fact, when defendants fired the deadly shots at Treviño’s vehicle, Treviño had retreated from the confrontation to a stop in a ditch. Treviño did not possess a weapon nor was he attempting to cause bodily harm to defendants or anyone else. Treviño did not pose an immediate threat to the safety of defendants or others when defendants fatally shot Treviño for no lawful reason.”
Grand jury clears officers
In September 2019, a Cameron County grand jury cleared Galvan, office David Rebolledo and two Cameron County Precinct 5 deputy constables after a nine-month Texas Rangers criminal investigation found them justified in using deadly force to shoot Treviño.
After the grand jury’s decision, District Attorney Luis Saenz said Treviño used his Nissan Sentra to threaten the officers’ lives.
“He puts his car in forward and collides with Chief Galvan’s car, I mean forceful and he’s like trying to push it back, his tires are spinning and spinning. He can’t,” Saenz told reporters after the grand jury’s decision. “Then he puts it in reverse and goes all the way back and that’s where there are officers behind and that’s when the shooting breaks out.”
Saenz said officers fired 31 rounds.