In their search for more information on what happened the day their son died after killing a Mission police officer last year, the family of one of the victims is suing the city of Mission and the county district attorney.
The parents of Juan Carlos “J.C.” Chapa Jr., who died in the June 2019 shooting that also killed Mission police Officer Jose “Speedy” Espericueta, filed a lawsuit against the city of Mission and Hidalgo County District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez Jr. last week to get them to release information of the investigation they requested through a public information request.
“[Chapa and Officer Espericueta] lost their lives in an unfortunate and disturbing incident,” the lawsuit reads. “Various rumors have circulated as to what happened that grievous day which has left Petitioners with various accounts of what happened that day and more questions than answers.”
Espericueta, who served the Mission Police Department for 13 years, was killed in the line of duty while chasing an armed suspect who was later identified as Chapa Jr. on Thursday, June 20, 2019. Espericueta was reportedly flagged down by Chapa Jr’.s mother after he shot her vehicle.
“They have been made to feel as if their loss is unimportant or heartfelt. Petitioners have been tortured with their inability to learn the truth,” the lawsuit stated. “It is past time for some answers to be provided as over a year has passed since the incident.”
Last August, Chapa Jr.’s family filed an Open Records request to the city of Mission and the Hidalgo County District Attorney requesting all law enforcement agencies involved in the investigation release all their reports, notes, videos and other information related to the investigation.
Both parties replied by stating they were withholding all information pertaining to the Open Records Request and were waiting for a reply from the state’s Attorney General on how to proceed.
Among the reasons the city declined to respond to the public information request was due to information they deem confidential. The lawsuit recommends both entities redact any information that could potentially identify people.
“The [Public Information Act] embodies the State’s policy that ‘each person is entitled…at all times to complete information about the affairs of government and the official acts of public officials and employees,” the lawsuit states. “A governmental body seeking to withhold information under the Act must establish that the requested information is not subject to the Act or falls within one of the Act’s enumerated exceptions to disclosure.”
Rodriguez said as he has not been served with the lawsuit, he could not comment on the issue. Mission city Attorney Gus Martinez said the city could not provide any comments on pending litigation.