Unarmed Teen Shot by Dallas Officer Had Two Taser Marks, Two Gunshot Wounds, Autopsy Shows

Categories: Crime

Thumbnail image for GerardoPinedoFox4.jpg
Fox 4
Shortly after a Dallas Police Department officer shot an unarmed teen last summer, there was a fairly simple explanation. The officers "responded to a burglary in progress," police said. They found 19-year-old Gerardo Pinedo Jr. inside the house and ordered him to come outside and lie on the ground. He complied only briefly before getting up and charging officer Jamal Robinson, who fired once, killing Pinedo.

Once again, a family member is saying that the police version of events isn't right and now has filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Dallas and the two officers involved.

First off, Pinedo's father maintains that this was never a "burglary in progress." On July 17, his son walked from a friend's house to his empty, former childhood home, reportedly after a night of drinking.

See also: Dallas Police Say They Shot a Screaming, Projectile-Throwing Burglar in Pleasant Grove

Gerardo Pinedo Sr. says in his lawsuit that the 911 call resulted from a misunderstanding; a neighbor heard noises and thought a house next door in the 1600 block of Conner Drive in Pleasant Grove was being burglarized.

At the home, Pinedo Jr. was violently confronted by officers Jamal Robinson and Mark Meltabarger, his father says. "During this time, either Defendant Robinson or Defendant Meltabarger Tased Gerardo Pinedo Jr. in the back and the other continued the assault," the suit says, before "delivering at least one fatal gunshot wound to the chest."

The lawsuit also suggests that Pinedo may have been shot more than just once. It points out that medical examiners found two gunshot wounds on Pinedo's body -- one on his chest and one on his hand.

The autopsy report confirms that there are two gunshot wounds, though it leaves open the possibility that both wounds could have come from a single shot: "It is possible that gunshot wound #2 is a re-entrance of the perforating gunshot wound #1," the autopsy says.

Pinedo was also Tased, something that the police department acknowledged last July. A spokesman gave WFAA a complicated explanation of how it all went down:

"As the suspect charged [Officer Robinson], he felt him touch him on ... his arm and Officer Robinson fired once," a DPD spokesman told the WFAA last summer. "Unbeknownst to Officer Robinson, Sr. Cpl. Meltabarger was pointing his Taser and [Pinedo] was struck with the Taser in the back."

That police statement doesn't indicate how many times Pinedo was Tased, but the autopsy says that there are two Taser marks on Pinedo's back.

We've submitted our questions about the autopsy and the lawsuit to the Dallas Police Department and are waiting for a response. In the meantime, a department spokesman recently told the News that an internal affairs investigation cleared Robinson of any wrongdoing, finding that his actions "were consistent with Chapter 9 of the Texas Penal Code and within guidelines of the Dallas Police Department's Deadly Force Policy."

After the shooting, the suit claims, witnesses then saw the officers drag and prod Pinedo's body.

The full complaint is below:

Pinedo complaint

Send your story tips to the author, Amy Silverstein.

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31 comments
ruddski
ruddski

None of the facts discussed thus far will really matter. It will come down to the word of the policemen involved, and they're not going to incriminate themselves. Case closed.

Cameras. The sooner the better.

oakclifftownie
oakclifftownie

OKAY can we reboot this thing ? Neighbor called police because noise  was coming from a in a house .Which the neighbor knew to be empty so they became suspicious and alarmed. 


xdarkridex
xdarkridex

Clearly, everything in this case stacks up, makes sense, and backs the officer's versions of what happened.  In, you know, opposite land.


I'll don my psychic turban and look into the past:


Officers respond to a burglary call.  Find a hispanic kid in the house and get all worked up.  Kid doesn't respond to commands (very drunk and confused).  They get all tasery, and somewhere down the line they shoot the kid in the hand.  Knowing now they've really stepped in it, they shoot him dead.  Reposition the body to make it fit the story they concoct.


I say this because it's a trend with Dallas PD.  More or less accidental shootings while overreacting to situations.  (Shooting the unarmed carjacking suspect, shooting the homeowner at the wrong house, etc.)


Vest cams or start putting killer cops in jail.  Only solutions.

bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

We really need to reform our gun laws, not just locally but at the federal level.  There are simply too many cases where gun-owners are using their firearms as a first resort, rather than a last one - and getting away with it.

pnd2131
pnd2131

If the cops feel the need to shoot then maybe they should try aiming at a non-vital area. I'm sure that's easier said than done and it's easy to call the play after the fact. I have close friends that are cops and very good people, but the number of incidents of cops killing unarmed suspects is way, way too high. RIP

oakclifftownie
oakclifftownie

Gerardo Pinedo Sr. says in his lawsuit that the 911 call resulted from a misunderstanding; a neighbor heard noises and thought a house next door in the 1600 block of Conner Drive in Pleasant Grove was being burglarized. 

I don't quite understand this ...

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

First off, Pinedo's father maintains that this was never a "burglary in progress." On July 17, his son walked from a friend's house to his empty, former childhood home, reportedly after a night of drinking.


Yeah, when you get drunk and go and break into your former home, meaning, no-longer-your-actual home, that's called burglary. 

ruddski
ruddski

This is more support for requiring body cams on cops.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@xdarkridex  

"Vest cams or start putting killer cops in jail."  

At the risk of overusing an overused internet meme: Why can't it be both?

xdarkridex
xdarkridex

@bvckvs  Can't tell if you're trolling, stupid, confused, or trying to be satirical and just failing really badly.

casiepierce
casiepierce

@pnd2131 Every time! I'll try to use short sentences.


Police are not trained to maim. Police are trained to shoot to kill. If a cop managed to only maim a crazy perp charging him (who might also have a concealed weapon) then that cop should have his gun taken away. 


To recap: Cops are trained to shoot to kill.

Observist
Observist

@everlastingphelps  I must have missed the part about the guy "breaking into" the home that belong to him and his family. I haven't read anything that might even suggest that he had broken in, which makes sense because he grew up in the home and either had a key on him or like many people used a spare key hidden nearby just in case.


I think the elements required to meet the legal definition of burglary are not present in this case. It's immaterial whether he was still residing in the house or not since it was vacant and he had a right to be on property that belonged to him and his family. It'd be a whole different matter if the house was rented out or if he had been told that he couldn't be there at all. Even if it was rented out or he was told not to be there, trespassing would come to mind before a "burglary in progress."


I tend to doubt that the neighbor actually reported a burglary, of a house that they knew was empty. I imagine they were concerned about hearing loud noises and what appeared to be someone being inside the darkened house making noise, with "the rear glass door open," according to the police. It seems that a lot of assumptions were made by the 911 dispatcher and/or the responding officers.


The details of what occurred given by the police were shifty and incomplete at best. Interesting that DPD didn't mention the use of their flashlights, which is extremely bright and serve not only to help officers see the scene well but to practically freeze the person that they beam the blinding lights at. A very drunk person would be even more affected by the bright lights and thus render him easier to control. The police's account just don't add up, especially in this case where they had the advantages to control the person (not suspect since really no crime was suspected) but instead ended up tasing and shooting an obviously drunk guy who was cooperative--until maybe when the policeman said something derogatory or in a way that made him upset, or when they tasered him which could force him to lurch forward. 


After reading so many reports and seeing many video evidences of police abusing their power in verbally, emotionally, and physically intimidating or abusing people (many weren't even suspected of having done anything wrong other than not obeying the officer's commands like a trained animal) and then even lying to cover up the illegal actions, I definitely think that body cameras that stream the recording to a remote storage are needed so that the truth is preserved and justice served and a somewhat level playing field is provided to people already at a disadvantage from the moment a policeman decides to direct their attention on the person--streaming b/c of how often dashcam footage or audio in such cases got "erased accidentally", "were lost", "not activated/turned off accidentally" AND recording because the words of the police are pretty much always accepted over the civilian's words, no matter how credible and reputable the person. 


I support law enforcement and the important role they play in helping to keep a peaceful and orderly community free from crimes and violations of a person's basic rights as enumerated in the Constitution and laws. The police are human. They have a lot of power over the average person. And power can and often does corrupt. Plus, I was struck by how vigorously law enforcement had fought over recent years to deny people the right to video record them when on duty, in public, or interacting with the people who support them by helping to pay their salaries/pensions and entrusting them with immense power over people and equipping them with various lethal weapons. Great power requires commensurate responsibility, transparency, and accountability. 

ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

If the house were open, regardless of ownership, I think that's only tresspass or somesuch.

if he broke in, maybe max of breaking and entering; but some states, no criminal intent is still maybe only trespass.

Not burglary unless he took something.

But of course, he deserved to die, right?

The Taser angle is an easy out for the THC. Guy goes spastic, they can claim he went nuts on em

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

@ruddski  

I agree.  However this statement in the opening of the story says a lot.

"He complied only briefly before getting up and charging officer Jamal Robinson, who fired once, killing Pinedo."

Recently, my wife was home sick and asleep.  Somehow, the panic alarm was set off.  The police showed up and started banging on the doors, eventually my wife woke up.  The first questions that the police had for my wife when they saw her through the window was "STOP, WHO ARE YOU?"  Their next statement was "COME OUT OF THE HOUSE SLOWLY."  They then discussed the panic alarm going off and did ask to see my wife's ID.  Everything ended well.

Just remember, when the police are dispatched to a crime in progress, they will assume that anyone they see is a bad guy

ruddski
ruddski

@xdarkridex

bvckvs wants cops dis-armed because they have a tendency to shoot kooks who have gone over the edge in an "episide" - a demographic with which he has much empathy.

Unless the kook is a black churchgoer, republican, or a gun-violence advocate like hip-hop and hollywood types - in which case the larger the caliber, the better.

bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

@xdarkridex @bvckvs

I believe you when you say you're confused.  It's hard for some people to grasp the rationality of gun-violence prevention.

wcvemail
wcvemail

@casiepierce @pnd2131  
What Casie said. Dead-Eye Dan only exists in movies when he shoots the gun cleanly out of the bad guy's hand. Come back from the movies, pnd, because you do NOT have close friends who are cops.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

@TheCredibleHulk @everlastingphelps  Fine, if his father owned the house, it's not burglary.  Let's just call it Weird Drunken Shit Designed to Look Exactly Like a Burglary of an Empty Residence Even Though Its Not.


The police come up on a burglary call.  The neighbor knows that no one lives in the house.  It's 2am, and someone is in the house.  There's no car in the driveway, and nothing in the pleadings indicates if there is even power on at the house.  Inside, there is an incoherent teenager who fights and flees every step of the way.


How could a reasonable cop ever come to the conclusion that the incoherent, fleeing, fighting teenager with no car who doesn't live there nonetheless actually does have a right to be there without investigating?


I'm a cop hater.  I freely admit it.  The ones that aren't rights abusing murderous thugs cover up for the abusing murderous thugs, so none of them have clean hands.  In this case, though, if they hadn't done what they did, they wouldn't be doing their jobs at all.


The lesson of the story is that if you get so drunk at 19 that you end up at the wrong fucking house don't compound that by fighting with two guys with guns.

Observist
Observist

@ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul @ruddski  I'm glad everything ended well for your wife. Please keep in mind, though, the fact that police often view and treat people differently based on various objective criteria derived from policy and training AND based on their own subjective criteria derived from personal preferences and opinions.


The response to an "activated alarm" at a nice house with a woman inside in a "good" neighborhood or part of town is likely very different from a call about movement and noise inside ("burglary in progress") an empty house in a neighborhood where people probably can't afford to pay for alarm monitoring and with "a suspect" inside. I can visualize the first one as a cautious, firm but polite "investigation" to see if there was any crime/illegal activity occurring and ended with a cordial departure. I can visualize the second one as an adrenalin fueled hunt for a criminal "suspect" and  involved shouts commanding the "burglar" to get down on the ground (forget the "Stop. Who are you? Let me see your I'D.") "NOW or you're going to pay/feel the pain, you @$&@$!!"  


I can understand the caution and assumptions made by police when responding to "a crime in progress", meaning there's credible reporting of a serious crime such as robbery or some kind of fight involving angry people and violence and such but not a home alarm panicking button going off or a neighbor concerned about someone being inside an empty house. It just seems like the police made assumptions about the nature of their dispatch call and the people they would encounter and then act accordingly..with starkly different endings. 


I wonder what the ending would have been in this case being reported and discussed if the responding officers had asked the dispatcher questions like "Is the house lived in? Can the caller see or hear anything specific or anything that we should be aware of/concerned about?", didn't assume that a crime of burglary was taking place, and once on the scene treated the (likely obvious from smell and action) drunk man with some professional courtesy and restraint such as asking him if he was the owner of the house or to explain what he was doing there before proceeding to treat him like a criminal which usually escalated the situation, in this case from checking on noise in an empty house to trying to subdue and arrest a criminal--a loud drunk allegedly throwing something at an officer and lurching toward an officer (maybe from being tased by the other one AND actually lost control of a cup or bottle he was holding as he lurched forward) and thus technically justifying an officer's opinion that he needed to use deadly force since "he feared for his life."

ruddski
ruddski

The cams are to protect all involved. I would respind further, but android.

Daniel
Daniel

@TheCredibleHulk @everlastingphelps  Well, of course, if he really did "charge" them, they had little choice but to shoot. But we've seen proof again and again and again and AGAIN that cops lie. Count me in on the body-cam crowd. Enough doubt has been established by unscrupulous cops that it needs to be removed decisively. You'd think good cops would support this as a measure to restore their profession's badly damaged credibility. Alas, I suspect you'd think wrong. 

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@everlastingphelps  

I don't think it's too much to ask that our police officers be smarter and more rational than the drunken fools that they often come across in their day to day duties.

I posit here that they certainly could have done their jobs without the need to resort to lethal force-whether or not he had the "right" to be there.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

@Daniel @everlastingphelps  I absolutely get that.  Cops lie about everything.  The problem is, I would never go after a private citizen with charges in a situation like this, and would call it self-defense.  Unlike the cops, I don't want to erode my own right to self-defense by putting unreasonable restrictions on theirs.

Daniel
Daniel

@everlastingphelps  If they hadn't responded to the call and treated it seriously, they wouldn't be doing their jobs. But right on its face, it appears they overreacted. And when so many of cops' bald-faced lies have been exposed, I'm less and less inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt. 

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

@Observist @ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul@ruddski 

Thank you for assuming that I live in a "nice" part of town.

I have gangbangers across the street with ankle monitors.

A panic alarm is interpreted as a crime against person, not a property crime.

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