Lawsuits filed against Texas officer who pointed his gun at group of children
An internal investigation has cleared the officer, and a local police union official defended the officer's contention that he perceived a threat when he drew his weapon
By David Boroff
New York Daily News
EL PASO — Texas parents have filed a lawsuit against the police officer caught on video pulling a gun on a group of children earlier this year.
A second civil rights action was also filed Tuesday against El Paso Officer Jose Rivas in connection with a separate incident, the arrest of a teen in November of 2016.
Video of Rivas pointing his gun at several children on July 5 was viewed by millions of people. The officer was placed on administrative leave, but has since been cleared by the department of any wrongdoing.
"The video of Rivas pulling his weapon on local El Paso children went viral because his action was so shocking," lawyer Conrad Benedetto said.
The lawsuit, filed by three El Paso parents against Rivas and another officer, alleges that "no lawful basis existed" for him to point the loaded weapon at the children.
Additionally, when a child recorded the officer's actions, Rivas arrested him, according to the lawsuit. The child then gave his cellphone to his mother, who was pursued by Rivas. The officer pushed Elizabeth Flores and forced her to step on another child, causing serious injury, according to the lawsuit.
Rivas is also accused of forcing one of the children to the ground and kicking him. He then allegedly flipped, dragged and slammed the child to the ground before handcuffing him.
"I don't know why he got so aggressive as soon as he got here," Flores told the El Paso Times after the incident. "I don't know if the cop had a bad day."
An El Paso Police Department internal investigation cleared Rivas, and El Paso police union president Ron Martin defended his contention that he perceived a threat when he drew his weapon.
The second lawsuit states that Rivas "threw down" a teenager during an arrest in 2016. The lawsuit alleges that Rivas and three other police officers violated the teen's civil rights.