Texas Police Officer Who Aimed Gun at Children Is Sued
EL PASO, TEXAS — October 10, 2018
A Texas police officer has been sued, following an incident in which he aimed his gun at children.
The absurd situation occurred on July 5, and the parents of the affected children filed two civil rights lawsuits today against the police officer who used weapons against eight children.
A press conference was held Tuesday afternoon at the Marriott near the local airport.
Four parents have filed two civil rights lawsuits on behalf of their eight children against five El Paso Police Officers, including the officer seen in the viral video drawing a weapon and pointing it at children. The parents presented the video of Officer Jose Rivas at the press conference
The investigation revealed that Rivas pulled his gun after one of the children jokingly pointed his fingers as a gun at the cop.
"If it prompted him to get a gun, then I'm genuinely afraid for my family," said one of the child's parents.
According to a statement made by the parents' spokesperson, the El Paso Police Department exonerated Rivas in August, clearing him of any charges. El Paso Police Union president Ron Martin defended Rivas' contention that he perceived a threat when he drew his weapon. The families' attorney, Solomon Radner, called that preposterous.
Go ahead and reread those lines several times. The police officer felt threatened after a child showed him a hand sign for a gun.
Ron Martin, President of the El Paso Police Union, says the department did extensive research, even using six civilians to review footage and assist in the investigation, which reports Rivas was pointing at just one child.
"You can see him go back-and-forth, he's looking around; he's not doing that just for the hell of it. His brain is giving him that warning there's a threat," said Martin.
Solomon Radner, the attorney for the seven plaintiffs, says he's not buying that, and that the proof is in the video, adding that Rivas’ offenses go beyond just pointing a gun. He also claims that the officer violated the children’s and their parents' constitutional rights.
"There's absolutely no excuse for it, there's no justification for it when you're going at a group of children and then claiming ‘I was scared. I thought they might attack me;’ it makes no sense," said Radner.
In a second incident, which occurred back in November of 2016, Officer Rivas allegedly used excessive force to arrest a teenage girl.
An unnamed female officer also allegedly used excessive force to take a house key from the girl's bra, and two other officers allegedly used the key to enter the girl's house without a warrant or probable cause.
The officer himself said that the children behaved defiantly and were rude to him, so he took out a gun to calm them down. He also noted that if the parents don’t leave him alone, he will countersue them. The officer didn't add any other comments.