VICTORIA, Texas – The 76-year-old man who was hit by a Taser during a traffic stop by a Victoria police officer spoke out at a press conference Tuesday, one day after the officer was terminated.
Pete Vasquez said he's happy the officer was fired, but still wants the 23-year-old Nathanial Robinson to face criminal charges.
Vasquez' attorney Rachel Messer told reporters, "Our client does wish to see full criminal prosecution as he is a victim of a crime."
But Victoria County District Attorney Stephen Tyler says the officer and Vasquez are subjects of the ongoing criminal probe conducted by Texas Rangers.
Tyler issued a written statement Tuesday that says in part:
"The Texas Ranger has filed a preliminary report with my office at lunch on Monday. I expect an official and approved report from Ranger Company F today. I will review this material and conduct a legal inquiry with the assistance of the Ranger service. I am looking at all of the following penal code violations; Resisting Arrest, Unlawful Restraint, Assault of a Public Servant, Injury to the Elderly and Misconduct 543.008 Texas Transportation Code."
Tyler says there's no deadline. The case could be referred to a Victoria County grand jury or a court of inquiry, but that's not expected to happen this month. He said his office is "looking at the case with completely open eyes."
We first told you about the story and the dash cam video back in December. The video shows former Officer Robinson, arresting Pete Vasquez on Dec. 11 for displaying an expired inspection sticker. But in the process, Robinson suddenly throws Vasquez onto the hood of his police car, then tackles the elderly man to the ground and shoots him with a Taser gun twice.
Vasquez was taken to the hospital, where he was released after a medical evaluation.
Victoria Police Chief Jeff Craig ed Robinson on administrative leave and ordered an internal administrative investigation by the Victoria Police Department's Internal
On Monday, Craig announced the outcome of the internal investigation, saying Robinson had violated the department's conduct policy, use of force policy and arrest without a warrant policy.
"This is a very unfortunate incident for everyone involved. The Victoria Police Department places a high value in public trust. The men and women of the Victoria Police Department work hard each and every day to provide professional service with pride and respect to the community," said Craig.
On Tuesday, Vasquez said he was happy with the police department and Texas Rangers investigations, but that the incident still affects him.
"I'm really afraid to get out on the street now because I don't know what's going to happen," Vasquez said. "I don't trust people."
"It's unfortunate but what it comes down to is that my dad is not the same as he was before this happened," said his son, Albert Vasquez. "We're confused as to why this happened. We're saddened. We've been brought together by a senseless tragedy that didn't have to happen."
Asked if the family is planning to file a lawsuit against the officer or the city, the family's attorney said, "We're going to keep all options open and we're going to consider all options for Mr. Vasquez."