SAN BENITO — After about nine months, the Texas Rangers’ criminal investigation into the fatal police shooting of 21-year-old Ricardo Treviño is nearly completed.
Meanwhile, former Police Chief Michael Galvan will remain on paid administrative leave “until we get a grand jury,” San Benito City Manager Manuel De La Rosa told city commissioners this week.
The Texas Rangers’ investigation is expected to determine whether police officers, including Galvan, were justified in using deadly force to shoot Treviño, who was unarmed when he was repeatedly shot Dec. 7.
“The whole process feels like an eternity,” April Flores, Treviño’s mother, said yesterday. “At the same time, it feels like my son was just murdered today.”
The investigation focuses on Galvan, two other San Benito police officers and two Cameron County Precinct 5 deputy constables who shot Treviño after a car chase ended in El Ranchito.
“It looks like the Ranger investigation is all but done,” attorney Ricardo Navarro, whom the Texas Municipal League assigned to represent the city, said yesterday. “It’s coming to a conclusion.”
Next, Navarro expects the Cameron County District Attorney’s Office to present the case to a grand jury.
“Once the DA has it, at that point it will be presented to a grand jury,” he said, adding the case could go to a grand jury this month or next month.
If the grand jury determines there is insufficient evidence to issue an indictment, interim Police Chief Fred Bell will review the Texas Rangers investigation to decide if two officers involved in the shooting merit discipline, Navarro said.
Navarro said city officials are awaiting completion of the Texas Rangers’ investigation because it includes “high-level forensics” information, such as medical examiner’s reports and ballistics tests conducted to determine who fired the bullet or bullets that killed Treviño.
“Depending on what’s in there, I will be able to make a decision regarding the performance of the officers in the field and whether anything needs to be done,” Navarro said.
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In March, Bell replaced Galvan as city officials launched an internal affairs investigation to determine whether officers involved in the shooting followed policy and procedure during events leading to Treviño’s shooting.
“He’s been on administrative leave, not working,” De La Rosa said, referring to Galvan.
“In accordance with his rights, he’s being provided his due process,” he said, referring to Civil Service laws overseeing police officers’ rights.
The case has strained the police department, Art Flores, a police department supervisor who is Treviño’s stepfather, said.
“They’re wondering when this is all going to end,” he said. “As long as this is hanging over the head of the department, we can’t go forward.”
Flores described the department as torn between officers who support him and other officers.
“It’s pretty much divided,” he said. “A lot of them are my friends and they support me. It’s tough for them, the fact they’re supporting me.”