The father of a 19-year-old shot and killed by a Dallas police officer last summer has sued the officers — and the city of Dallas — in federal court.
Gerardo Pinedo Sr. says the officers are responsible for the wrongful death of his son Gerardo Pinedo Jr., who Sr. Cpl. Mark Meltabarger and Officer Jamal Robinson initially believed had broken into a house on Conner Drive, off Buckner Boulevard, in Pleasant Grove. That house turned out to be Pinedo’s childhood home, and the suit claims that the 19-year-old was “lawfully within [the] home” during the moments leading to the fatal shooting.
Gerardo Pinedo Jr.
According to police and the lawsuit, around 10 p.m. on July 17 officers were dispatched the house in the 1600 block of Connor Drive; a neighbor had called 911 after hearing loud noises coming from inside the abode. Officers initially believe someone was ransacking the house. But, no: Police said Pinedo had been drinking whiskey at a friend’s house and grown belligerent during his binge. The friend asked him to leave, so Pinedo walked with a buddy to the house owned by his father.
When Meltabarger and Robinson pulled up, police say, they saw Pinedo looking around inside the darkened house with a flashlight and ordered him outsidee. But he was in bad shape, police said: Pinedo, rambling to himself, ran around in circles, fell to the found in the fetal position, started banging at the ground, then got up and threw a cell phone at Meltabarger’s head before he charged at the Robinson. Maltabarger, a 13-year-veteran at the time, discharged his Taser; Robinson, who was newly out of the police academy, fired his gun.
Pinedo, who, by all accounts, was not armed at the time, was taken to Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas, where he was pronounced dead. He died of a single bullet wound to the chest.
The suit alleges, among other things, that Pinedo didn’t receive emergency medical treatment for about half an hour after the shooting. The father also alleges that the officers “prodded,” grabbed and dragged his son, and that Meltabarger and Robinson used “excessive and deadly force for no lawful reasons” on his son.
According to Dallas police spokesperson Sr. Cpl. Sherri Jeffrey, the department’s Internal Affairs Division investigated the shooting and “determined the actions of Officer Robinson were consistent with Chapter 9 of the Texas Penal Code and within guidelines of the Dallas Police Department’s Deadly Force Policy.”
Meltabarger was investigated for “failing to take proper action as a Field Training Officer by allowing his Recruit to become separated from him during the investigation of a Burglary-in-Progress call.” That allegation was sustained, but Meltabarger wasn’t disciplined.
The suit doesn’t say how much Pinedo wants for his son’s death, only that he’s demanding “such heedless and reckless disregard of Gerardo Pinedo Jr.’s rights, safety, and welfare is more than momentary thoughtlessness, inadvertence, or misjudgment. Such unconscionable conduct goes beyond ordinary negligence, and as such, Plaintiff requests punitive and exemplary damages be awarded against Defendants Robinson and Meltaberger in a sum which is within the jurisdictional limits of this Court.”
Police now say the man who was shot this morning by a rookie officer has died from his injuries.
Investigators no longer believe Gerardo Pinedo was burglarizing the home but now think he once lived there. It’s unclear whether the home is occupied now.
Police say the 19-year-old was drinking with friends earlier in the night, and when he became aggressive they asked him to leave. He and a friend left and went to the home on Conner Drive.
While hanging out in the back yard, the friend said Pinedo became even more belligerent, and the two got into a fight. That’s when a neighbor called 911, thinking that someone might have broken into the home.
When police arrived, the friend had left and they found Pinedo inside the home, yelling unintelligibly.
Ordered out of the home, the suspect came out, ran around in circles and then curled into a ball on the ground, babbling the whole time.
Shortly afterward he threw a cellphone that struck one of the officers in the head and then jumped up and charged at the other officer.
That officer, Jamal Robinson, shot Pinedo, and the second officer, Senior Cpl. Mark Meltabarger, deployed his Taser, shocking the suspect at the same time.
Pinedo was taken to Baylor hospital where he died.
Robinson has been on the force 10 months and out of the academy for seven weeks. Meltabarger is a 13-year veteran.
Dallas police were called to a burglary on Conner Drive in Pleasant Grove at about 10 p.m. Wednesday night after a neighbor reported seeing someone breaking into a home.