The Mexican government condemned this week another shooting of an unarmed Mexican immigrant by police in the U.S., the second incident of its kind this month. The denunciation came a couple of weeks after the fatal shooting of another Mexican man, Antonio Zambrano-Montes, in Washington state led to comparisons with the police-involved slaying of American teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, last year.
Ruben Garcia Villalpando, a 31-year-old undocumented immigrant originally from Durango state in Mexico, died after being shot by a police officer in Grapevine, Texas, last Friday. Garcia was unarmed, and the police car’s dashboard camera reportedly showed him walking toward the officer with his hands raised in the air.
“The Mexican government condemns, again, recent events that killed Mr. Zambrano-Montes and now Mr. Garcia Villalpando,” Mexico’s foreign ministry said in a statement, according to the Mexican newspaper El Sol de Mexico. The ministry added that both shootings demonstrated a “disproportionate use of lethal force leading to the unnecessary loss of lives, eroding trust that should exist toward authorities in the communities in which they operate.”
The Grapevine Police Department said Officer Robert Clark spotted Garcia’s Toyota pickup stopped in the driveway of a parking lot Friday evening, according to the Dallas Morning News. Garcia eventually pulled out of the driveway at high speed, leading Clark on a chase through highway traffic before stopping on a shoulder of the road. Police said Clark’s dashboard camera showed Garcia getting out of his car, raising his hands and walking toward the officer’s vehicle, despite the officer telling him to stop. Clark then fired two shots at Garcia, out of the camera’s view.
Mexico’s consul general in Dallas also sent letters to three Texas law-enforcement authorities complaining that they failed to notify Mexico’s government about the death. He received word about the fatal shooting Tuesday, not from Texas officials but from Garcia’s widow, he said.
This week’s statements mark the second angry reaction by Mexican authorities to U.S. police actions this month. Police in Pasco, Washington, shot and killed Mexican immigrant Zambrano-Montes, 35, who was allegedly throwing rocks at passing cars Feb. 10. The officers reportedly fired at Zambrano-Montes 17 times, despite him being unarmed. The shooting was recorded on a widely circulated video, prompting protests that have led some to dub the incident in Pasco as a “Latino Ferguson.”
Mexico’s government denounced that killing, as well: President Enrique Pena Nieto called it a “disproportionate use of lethal force,” and Mexico’s consul in Seattle met with Zambrano-Montes’ family to offer support through the investigation.