A new lawsuit filed in federal court over the weekend accuses an officer of shooting two unarmed men in two separate incidents. The first of which, ended in a man’s death. The lawsuit alleges disciplinary action was not taken against the officer for either of the shootings, even after the lead detective found the first shooting that resulted in Nathan Schenk “unjustified and unconstitutional”
The lawsuit, which names both Officer Rigoberto Saldivar and the City of Pasadena (a suburb of Houston) was filed on behalf of the victim, Randy Aviles on October 16, 2022.
According to the lawsuit, on January 12, 2021, Aviles ran a red light at the intersection of Red Bluff Rd. and Spencer at a high rate of speed.
Officer Saldivar who was headed in the opposite direction at the time, saw Aviles run the red light. The officer then proceeded to pull Aviles over.
Aviles promptly pulled over in the 6900 block of Lance Ave, the first side street after the officer activated his emergency lights.
At this point, the lawsuit goes on to say that Aviles exited his car with both of his hands up in the air, so the officer could clearly see his hands.
The officer then became aggressive and began yelling at Aviles, telling him to not move and get back in the car.
At this point, Aviles got back into the car and continued to keep his hands up, acknowledging that he wanted to comply with the officer’s commands, according to the lawsuit.
Despite Aviles following commands, the officer continued to move “aggressively towards Mr. Aviles with his gun pointed” while yelling “I will shoot you”. Fearing for his life, and with his hand still out the window, Aviles decided it was time to drive away. As he starts to pull away, the officer fired ten times at Aviles’ car. Aviles was struck three times in his left arm which required two surgeries, 2 metal plates, 15 screws, and a skin graft according to the lawsuit.
This was not the first time Officer Saldivar shot someone during a traffic stop
The lawsuit further alleges that on November 21, 2018, the same officer who shot Aviles was patrolling in Pasadena when he witnessed Nathan Schenk driving past a stop sign without stopping.
Schenk bailed out of the car and fled on foot and a short chase ensued. At one point Officer Saldivar jumped on him in an effort to subdue him (after deploying his taser twice), and both of them “struggled on the ground”. Schenk managed to escape and the lawsuit states that he was about “five feet away from him (Officer Saldivar) on his hands and knees. At this point, Officer Saldivar ended up shooting Schenk three times. (Twice in his back and once in his upper chest). The wounds were fatal.
Schenk was unarmed during this incident and Officer Saldivar later admitted to shooting him in the back during an Internal Affairs investigation conducted by the Pasadena Police Department.
The lawsuit alleges that the lead detective and his supervisor even informed the Chief of Police at the end of their investigation that the shooting of Nathan Schenk was “unjustified and unconstitutional”. Instead of disciplining Officer Saldivar, or training him, the city of Pasadena gave him a pay raise just five months later.
Aviles and his lawyers are also alleging that the City of Pasadena is responsible because of police put into place to protect police and prevent them from receiving any “adverse employment actions or training or supervision”.
Aviles and his lawyers are asking for the case to be heard in front of a jury. We will keep you updated on any developments in the case.
The case is no. 4:22-cv-03571 and is filed in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas