DALLAS TX May 3 2012 - New information has been released about the Dallas police officer arrested and charged with aggravated assault after allegedly shooting at drivers.
Police said Officer Raphael Mendoza was driving erratically down Interstate 30 near Big Town Boulevard on Saturday night, waiving a gun out the window and pointing it at several cars.
Two witnesses called police including one who said Mendoza put a bullet in his trunk. According to court documents, that bullet went through the trunk, into the back seat and lodged itself in the front, right passenger seat.
Police followed Mendoza as he exited at Northwest Drive and they said he ran a red light. Then he turned off his lights as he passed a Jack in the Box restaurant and pulled around the corner to Morningside Court, where police said he tossed his gun out the window.
Court documents showed police found Mendoza’s 9 millimeter handgun on the curb next to some mailboxes. They also found a small bag of marijuana in his patrol bag and he told officers he had six drinks.
Officer Mendoza’s behavior is no surprise to his neighbor, David Leon. Although, he said he was shocked to see the 34-year-old roughing up his girlfriend last July.
“He had his hands on her shoulders, shaking her. And she was screaming and stuff,” he said. “Her hair was waiving and stuff and I was like, man.”
According to Dallas police reports, Mendoza was accused of shoving the woman to the ground and handcuffing her outside his Bryan Place Apartments. He allegedly left her sitting there for an hour.
“He’s a police officer. He’s not supposed to be doing that. I was trying to figure out should I call the police on a police officer. I don’t know how that works,” Leon said.
The woman didn’t prosecute and the charges were dropped, but Mendoza was put on administration leave and suspended from work for five days.
Leon said it has been quiet around the apartments since then but he still can’t say he’s surprised to hear about his neighbor’s alleged behavior over the weekend.
“Just to know he’s a police officer and he’s done that,” he said.
In addition to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, Mendoza was booked for DWI and possession of marijuana. His bond for the three offenses was set at $51,000. And he’s back on administrative lead for this latest incident.