McAllen officer story conflicts with motorists’ he’s accused of threatening

A McAllen police officer suspended without pay after Texas Rangers arrested him for official oppression denies pulling a gun on a motorist and threatening three men following a minor accident.

The McAllen Police Department announced the arrest of 20-year veteran Larry Tineo-Oliver last Thursday on charges of official oppression, terroristic threat, false report and tampering or fabricating evidence.

Tineo-Oliver, who was off-duty and driving his personal vehicle, was involved in a minor accident Aug. 15, 2019, at about 4:23 p.m. in the vicinity of 2200 W. 107 in McAllen, according to police.

“The accident report, generally, outlines a lane ‘cut off’ that resulted in an accident,” the news release stated, explaining the Rangers interviewed Tineo-Oliver Oct. 8, 2019. “The Operator/Occupants of the vehicle involved in the motor vehicle accident with Officer Tineo-Oliver filed complaints with TX DPS Rangers including that Officer Tineo-Oliver had cut them off resulting in accident and drew a weapon on them.”

Those individuals are 57-year-old Emeterio Martinez and his sons Isaac Martinez, 28, and Andres Alejandro Martinez, 19, whose narrative of events is drastically different than what Tineo-Oliver told Rangers during his interview, according to the probable cause affidavit for the officer’s arrest.

The men told the Rangers they first encountered Tineo-Oliver while heading north on 10th Street at the intersection of State Highway 107 by the Stripes gas station.

“While waiting in traffic to turn left, Emeterio noticed a vehicle in the Stripes parking lot attempting to pull out onto 10th Street. Emeterio stated that as the light turned green, the vehicle pulled across the lanes of traffic and pulled out in front of him,” the charging document stated. “Emeterio stated the driver of the vehicle ‘Almost rammed us.’ Isaac stated he honked his horn at the driver of the Silverado.”

As the two vehicles drove down SH 107, they started recording each other and Emeterio told the Rangers he noticed the driver was wearing a police uniform, according to the affidavit.

As the vehicles maneuvered through traffic, Emeterio says Tineo-Oliver swerved into their lane striking the side of his vehicle before he accelerated and cut to the right, striking the front left of his vehicle, according to the charging document.

Both vehicles pulled over and Emeterio told the Rangers he attempted to call 9-1-1.

“Emeterio stated that while sitting in his truck, he noticed the officer exit his vehicle and reached for his gun. Emeterio stated that the officer unlocked his holster and started pulling on his gun,” the probable cause affidavit stated. “Emeterio stated, ‘This scared the heck out of me, I thought he was going to shoot them or something.’ Emeterio was referring to his sons outside the vehicle.”

However, according to the charging document, Emeterio said Tineo-Oliver didn’t pull the gun out all the way and quickly holstered the weapon before beginning to walk toward Isaac and Andres.

“The Officer then started walking back toward his vehicle. While walking back to his vehicle, the officer yelled, ‘You morons better get back in your vehicle or you’re going to regret it!’ While saying this, Emeterio stated the officer reached for his weapon again,” the probable cause affidavit stated.

The man told Rangers he felt threatened and his sons also told the Rangers a similar story, alleging that Tineo-Oliver used profanities and referred to them as morons while yelling at them to get off the road.

“Isaac stated that as the officer returned to his vehicle and again yelled at them ‘I told you to get off the [expletive] road. You’re a bunch of [expletive] morons,’” the charging document stated. “Isaac explained that the officer then un-holstered his firearm, held it at his side and yelled at them, ‘Or you’re going to regret it!’”

Isaac described the holster he said he saw Tineo-Oliver wearing and told the Rangers he feared for his life, according to the probable cause affidavit.

Tineo-Oliver, however, told the Rangers a different story, though he did admit that the narrative in the McAllen Police Department crash report that placed the Martinez family at fault was not correct, the charging document alleges.

As for the encounter the Martinez’s recalled as profanity-laced threats, Tineo-Oliver said he was calm and he was concerned for their safety, according to the affidavit.

“Tineo stated he was concerned for their safety and opened the door of his truck and told the men to get out of the road because they were going to be hit by a passing vehicle,” the probable cause affidavit stated.

He told the Rangers that he then went back to his vehicle to remove his pistol and belt so that the men could not say he was intimidating them.

“Tineo stated that he never got out of his vehicle after the accident with this pistol on,” the charging document stated.

He also told the Rangers that if there was yelling and cursing he didn’t remember that, only saying he just remembered telling them in a calm voice to get off the road, according to the affidavit.

When asked to explain how Isaac was able to describe his holster, Tineo-Oliver said, “I don’t know,” the charging document stated. “Tineo further stated, ‘At any time did I even touch my gun, at no point did I touch my gun, and at no point did I threaten them in any kind of manner.’”

The probable cause affidavit also details how Tineo-Oliver admitted to taking pictures from that day, though he said he deleted the pictures to free up space on his phone.

The officer voluntarily allowed the investigator to conduct a forensic data dump of his phone at the Texas Department of Public Safety, but no photos were recovered because the special agent “believed much of the data on this phone had been ‘wiped,’” the affidavit stated.

Tineo-Oliver remains free on four personal recognizance bonds totaling $25,000.

mreagan@themonitor.com