DALLAS -- A Dallas police officer who was involved in a controversial 2008 fatal police shooting has been indicted over allegations that he assaulted a fleeing motorist during an incident last November, according to Dallas County court records.
Rene Villanueva, 36, was indicted Friday for assault and official oppression. Both are misdemeanors.
He was recommended for termination during a disciplinary hearing Monday. He is expected to face a hearing Tuesday before Police Chief David Brown, where he will likely be fired.
The chain of events that led to Villanueva’s indictment occurred in the early morning hours of Nov. 10, 2013. The entire confrontation was recorded on dash cam video, and sources say what police supervisors saw on that video prompted a public integrity investigation.
According to arrest records, Villanueva provided the following account:
He and other officers were working off duty at a club in the 400 block of South Buckner Boulevard when they saw Ambrosio Monsavais leave a club and get into his truck. Monsavais became “agitated” for some reason and began to spin his tires on a speed bump.
Monsavais, 27, lost control, hit two parked cars and struck an off-duty Dallas County sheriff’s deputy before hitting a curb, the records state. The impact “violently knocked” the deputy to the ground and injured the deputy’s knee.
Monsavais fled through a DART parking lot and drove at high speeds through a neighborhood as Villanueva chased him in a squad car for about a mile-and-a-half, the records state. Monsavais stopped in the 800 block of Hillburn Drive near Buckner Boulevard.
According to the police records, Villanueva approached the truck with his gun drawn and gave loud commands for Monsavais to show his hands. Monsavais “lunged forward,” attempting to hit Villanueva with his fist and reached for the center console.
“Fearing that AP [the arrested person] was reaching for a weapon, AO [arresting officer] Villanueva gave AP multiple palm strikes to the side of his head to gain compliance,” the report states. “AO Villanueva then used a straight arm bar takedown to remove the AP from the vehicle to place handcuffs on.”
Sr. Cpl. James Johnson arrived soon after and helped Villanueva take Monsavais into custody, the report states. The report describes Monsavais as “actively resisting.” Monsavais was treated for “lacerations” by paramedics, the report said.
Monsavais was arrested on suspicion of aggravated assault on a public servant, evading arrest, resisting arrest, and DWI. The charges are pending.
Johnson received a five-day suspension for his use of force during a separate disciplinary hearing Monday.
Villanueva has been involved in two police shootings since joining the force in 2007.
In September 2008, Villanueva fatally shot Derrick Jones at the end of a police chase in south Oak Cliff. Villanueva said he shot Jones once in the chest after Jones hit him several times in the head causing him to feel dizzy and like he was going to lose consciousness.
Civil rights leaders and Jones’ family also questioned whether the officer had to use deadly force.
To defuse those concerns, then-Police Chief David Kunkle released dramatic dash cam video of Jones and Villanueva struggling. An autopsy later showed Jones had PCP in his system. A grand jury no billed the officer.
Less than two years later, in March 2010, Villanueva and another officer fatally shot Gaylon Alexander after he pointed an assault rifle out the window at them during a police chase, according to police records.
A grand jury cleared the officers in that incident.
In 2010, Villanueva was disciplined after internal investigators sustained that he failed to devote his entire time to business by sending “unprofessional texts" while on duty.
According to internal affairs records, Villanueva had gotten the phone number of a woman who was witness to a robbery. He then began texting her, asking her if she had a boyfriend, if she wanted him to come over, and telling her that she was “the prettiest girl I’ve ever seen since I got here from L.A.," and that "It’s not a good idea to blow me off.” The woman went to the station and complained.