Attorney: Portion of McAllen dash cam video missing in deadly dispute

Attorneys representing a man whose daughter died during a domestic dispute are challenging the city of McAllen’s representation’s assertion that police released the entire investigative file into the deadly incident.

But because they missed a filing deadline, they’ve filed an emergency motion asking a federal judge to take a look at their argument, which includes an allegation that McAllen police did not release 22 minutes of dash cam video from the scene.

The filing comes in the case of Hector Garcia, who sued the city of McAllen and three police officers on Feb. 27, 2019, more than two years after Cruz Pinon, the girl’s stepfather, shot and killed 16-year-old Ashley Garcia and injured Garcia’s other daughter — referred to in court documents as L.L.G., who survived. Pinon also shot and killed his wife, 42-year-old Santos Verenic Garcia, before fatally turning his gun on himself.

Court records indicate a dispute arose when Pinon demanded to see the cellphone of one or more of the daughters. When police arrived, a minor at the residence alleged that Pinon had been sexually assaulting her for years.

During the interview, police say Pinon opened fire, killing his wife and his 16-year-old daughter.

Garcia’s attorneys have alleged that it’s possible McAllen police actually killed his daughter, L.L.G., not Pinon, according to the lawsuit.

In April, a federal judge dismissed nearly all of the allegations, which included civil rights violations, excessive force and due process violation claims. The officers have also been dismissed from the lawsuit. The only remaining allegation is a Texas Public Information Act violation claim.

After the ruling, the city of McAllen said it provided its entire investigative file to Garcia’s attorneys and asked the federal judge to dismiss the lawsuit.

Garcia’s attorneys, however, allege the city only produced “partial pieces” of evidence.

They say the evidence produced shows that more than 20 minutes of dash cam video from the file is missing.

“In other words there are 22 critical minutes missing from the video. This begs the question as to where are the missing video minutes and why was it not produced as part of the entirety of the police investigative files produced by the Defendant,” the motion stated.

Garcia’s attorneys also allege documentation concerning several crime scene cones marking bullet casings are also missing while questioning why the file doesn’t contain reports from Texas Department of Public Safety troopers who were at the scene. The motion, however, notes that it’s not clear whether the DPS troopers produced reports.

The city of McAllen is opposed to letting Garcia’s attorneys file the motion since they missed the court-ordered deadline.

In the emergency motion, the attorney says the late filing was a mistake, partly due to the pandemic, and not made in bad faith.

As of Friday, the judge had not ruled on the emergency motion.