HIDALGO COUNTY, Texas (KVEO) — The city of Mission is facing a lawsuit from the family of a man who fatally shot a police officer in 2019 as they say officers violated their son’s rights and caused insurmountable damages.
In the lawsuit, the parents of Juan Carlos Chapa claim officers used excessive force and caused physical and emotional damage to his family after he was killed by police.
In June 2019, Chapa shot and killed Jose “Speedy” Espericueta, a 14-year veteran officer of the Mission Police Department. Chapa was also shot and killed during the incident by other officers.
An initial investigation revealed Chapa shot at officers while evading arrest on foot after police were flagged down to chase Chapa for shooting his mother’s car.
However, the lawsuit states Chapa’s mother called on officers to check on her son who was walking home and was in distress.
The lawsuit states that police located Chapa before chasing him and “firing upon him as he was running away and without any provocation.”
When Chapa and Espericueta were shot, the lawsuit complaint states medical personnel were quick to respond to the officer but were slow and indifferent to Chapa’s medical needs.
Chapa’s family claims officers and other city personnel violated Juan Carlos’s rights established in the Fourth, Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments by using excessive force, failing to intervene, by acting with deliberate indifference to Juan Carlos’s mental needs before the shooting and his medical needs following the shooting.
The lawsuit holds the city of Mission liable for these charges as the city is responsible for training and hiring officers.
Additionally, three other Mission police officers are named in the lawsuit for contributing to these actions.
Chapa’s family states that this incident has caused them “pain and suffering, emotional and mental distress, and personal humiliation and shock, along with severe emotional distress.”
They are hoping to receive compensation for punitive damage from the officers. These punitive damages are an undetermined amount of money that “are designed to punish and deter persons… who have engaged in egregious wrongdoing.”
The lawsuit was filed against the city and individual officers on Monday. The city of Mission has yet to file a legal response to the case.
Mission officials chose not to comment on the lawsuit, as did The Gale Law Group, whose attorneys are representing the Chapa family.
In December 2020, the Chapa family won a lawsuit against the City of Mission and forced them to hand over records pertaining to the night of the deadly shooting.