Officer who pulled gun on kids in viral video is cleared of any wrongdoing


EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – El Paso Police Chief Greg Allen said Thursday that the officer who pulled his service weapon at a group of kids in a South-Central neighborhood back in July is cleared of any wrongdoing.

Officer Joe Rios is now back at work, patrolling the same neighborhood where the incident happened, Allen said.

Allen ordered an investigation into the incident. A Disciplinary Review Board, made up of seven citizens from the community, as well a commander, two lieutenants, one sergeant, one detective, one non-uniformed human resource manager and chaired by an assistant chief, unanimously voted to clear Rios of any wrongdoing, Allen said.

“The 13-member board unanimously exonerated the officer on the allegation of pointing the weapon at a group of juveniles,”  according to a statement provided to the media following the press conference.

As KTSM reported, Rios was called to the area near the Seville Rec Center for a criminal trespass call.

In the now viral video, Rios appeared to be seen pulling his service weapon out of the holster and pointing it at a group of kids as they crowded around him, yelling obscenities.

However, “[t]he board found that the officer did not point his firearm at a group of kids, but at an individual juvenile,” a statement from the police department said.

Allen said that once the officer saw there was no threat, he holstered his gun. 

The board also looked in to allegations that Rios choked a juvenile during the incident.

“At no time did any of the witnesses see the officer choke the juvenile nor is that in either video,” Allen said.

The board’s findings were based on witness statements, videos, photos and an interview with Rios, according to the El Paso Police Department.

Rios, a four-year veteran of the Department, assigned to the Central Regional Command Center, has no disciplinary history.

Here are some other findings by the Board:

  • The review included “statements from civilian witnesses who thought the officer was in imminent danger of being ‘jumped’ by the juveniles and one witness who heard ‘let’s jump him’, state by the juveniles.”
  • “No civilians, nor parents of juveniles filed complaints with IA (Internal Affairs). IA reached out numerous times.” 

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