Transparency during officer-involved shootings
UPDATED: Monday, March 25, 2013 - 8:37pm
Waco, TX — It's been a week since a Waco Police officer shot a young man after arriving to a potentially violent domestic disturbance call. Family members have since stated that another family member had been shot during the ordeal and now the McLennan County District Attorney is requesting a third-party investigation- something he says should be the standard for the department.
Last Monday night, Waco P.D. responded to a domestic disturbance at 2010 Lyle Avenue. Two officers arrived to see a grandson and his grandfather wrestling for a rifle. Police say the grandson, Alexander Mendoza, 19, began to raise the rifle towards the officers. That’s when a six-year veteran of Waco Police fired on Mendoza.
“One of the officers was able to discharge his firearm at least twice," said Sgt. Patrick Swanton the next day after the shooting.
Waco P.D. released information on the incident, but family members say the police refused to include the fact that one of the bullets fired struck the grandfather in the hand.
In the week since, McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna has requested a third party, in this case the Texas Rangers, to perform an investigation. Something Reyna says Waco Police isn’t particularly interested in, but is essential for transparency and something the people of McLennan County deserve.
“I’ve always taken the position that anytime an officer uses deadly force, or a custodial death, that a third party agency do that investigation, not the agency that officer belongs to," said Reyna.
Reyna points to other counties roughly McLennan's size in the state that require a mandatory investigation be conducted.
“Overwhelmingly, of the 20 or so counties, all of them allowed the Texas Rangers, or requested the Ranger's assistance, into the type of investigations in these kinds of cases,' said Reyna.
Reyna is requesting the Rangers investigate this case. And he would prefer it be that way from here on out when dealing with officer-involved shootings.
“Now more than ever, Reyna said. It's important for all of us who work with law enforcement to ensure justice is being done and to protect the integrity of the system.”