McAllen police officer no-billed on official oppression charges

MGN Online

A Hidalgo County grand jury has no-billed a McAllen police officer charged with official oppression for allegedly drawing his weapon after a collision last year while he was off-duty.

Hidalgo County District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez Jr. confirmed that a grand jury no-billed Larry Tineo-Oliver on Thursday.

The no-bill clears Tineo-Oliver of the charges.

The Texas Rangers arrested Tineo-Oliver in late January on charges of official oppression, terroristic threat, false report and tampering or fabricating evidence.

The charges stemmed from what was reported as a minor accident on Aug. 15, 2019, at about 4:23 p.m. in the vicinity of 2200 W. State Highway 107 in McAllen.

“The accident report, generally, outlines a lane ‘cut off’ that resulted in an accident,” according to a McAllen Police Department news release, which stated that Tineo-Oliver was interviewed by Rangers on Oct. 8, 2019, about the incident. “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.”

McAllen police Lt. Joel Morales said Tineo-Oliver has been returned to his regular duties.

When Texas Rangers interviewed Tineo-Oliver about the incident, he pushed back against allegations made by the three men who filed a complaint with the Texas Department of Public Safety against him that included claims the officer made profanity-laced rants and that he drew a gun on them.

Those individuals are 57-year-old Emeterio Martinez and his sons Isaac Martinez, 28, and Andres Alejandro Martinez, 19, who alleged that after Tineo-Oliver cut them off, causing an accident, the officer got out of his vehicle after the accident and used profanities while referring to them as morons, telling them to get off the road.

Tineo-Oliver told the Rangers he recalled the encounter differently.

“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 he then went back to his vehicle to remove his pistol and belt so the men couldn’t say he was intimidating them.

But that’s exactly what happened, the men told the Rangers that Tineo-Oliver pulled his weapon on them and one of the men was even able to describe his holster, according to the probable cause affidavit.

“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 charging document stated.

The officer was also charged with tampering with evidence for allegedly deleting photos he took during the altercation with men.

According to Tineo-Oliver, he only deleted the pictures to free up space on his phone and voluntarily allowed the investigator to conduct a forensic data dump of his phone and the Texas Department of Public Safety.

A special agent there was unable to recover any photos and told the Rangers they “believed much of the data on his phone had been ‘wiped,’” according to the probable cause affidavit.

mreagan@themonitor.com