In July, an El Paso, Texas police officer was placed on administrative duty after a video surfaced of him pulling a gun on a group of kids.
Officials say the officer was responding to a trespassing call in the area, but footage of the incident only showed the confrontation between the authorities and the group of kids.
In the video, the children can be seen yelling at the officer, who is holding another boy against a fence. As the officer orders the children to back up, he pulls out his gun, points it at them and puts it away, all while holding the young boy against a stone structure with his knee.
As the incident continued to escalate, the boy, as well as his brother, who was recording the incident, were taken into custody. Afterward, the video went viral, garnering more than 5 million views, which in turn, prompted an investigation into the officer’s actions.
Now, just weeks later, El Paso Chief Greg Allen has revealed that the officer who pulled and pointed his gun at the children, has been cleared of all wrongdoing in the internal investigation.
According to El Paso Times, Allen said the investigation found that the allegations that officer Jose Rios wrongfully pulled his gun and choked a minor were unfounded.
“The fact that he was involved in an incident that drew a lot of attention is no reason, in my opinion, and I know I’m right on that, to take that person out of those communities simply because there was an outrage at one point,” Allen said, adding that he will not release the investigation report, amid potential legal action from the families involved.
“The board findings were unanimous,” Allen said, revealing that the board found that Rios did not point his gun at the group, but at one of the boys.
According to Allen, the decision was determined through different vantage points used in the investigation, including nine “direct” witnesses, who said they never saw an officer choke anyone, despite the boys’ claim that it occurred off camera.
“The finding was unfounded as far as the choking of the individual,” Allen said. “The actions of the officer as far as pointing the gun at an individual or group of individuals were unfounded. He did point a weapon at a specific individual that he felt at that point and time presented a deadly threat to him. At that time, that is when he drew the weapon and re-holstered as soon as he realized the threat wasn’t imminent.”