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Former Levelland officer indicted by grand jury for family violence

By Kati Moody
News Editor

A former Levelland police officer was indicted by a Hockley County grand jury on Wednesday, February 21.

Matthew Olivarez, 28, was indicted for assault-family violence, strangulation; tampering with or fabricating physical evidence, and continuous violence against the family.

According to the indictments, on or about January 25, 2017, the defendant caused bodily injury to a woman, with whom the defendant had a dating relationship, by impeding the normal breathing or circulation of blood by applying pressure to the throat or neck.

Furthermore, the indictments say that on or about January 25, 2017, Olivarez intentionally destroyed a photo or photos with intent to impair its availability as evidence in any subsequent investigation or official proceeding related to the offense.

And the last indictment, continuous violence against the family, says that on October 5, 2016, Olivarez caused bodily injury to the said woman from the previous indictments. Additionally, on or about January 25, 2017, the defendant also caused bodily injury to her by grabbing her by the throat and pushing her.

A Levelland police report from October 5, 2016 says officers responded to the couple’s residence at 400 N. Cedar around 2:30 p.m. in reference to a domestic disturbance that had been violent.

Toney Cowan, who was the police chief for the Levelland Police Department at the time the offenses occurred, said the incident that occurred on October 5, 2016 contributed to Olivarez leaving the department. He said Olivarez worked for the department for approximately two years.

Erik Rejino, city manager for the City of Levelland, confirmed the Olivarez worked for the department beginning on November 18, 2014 and ending on October 26, 2016.

The District Attorney’s office in Hockley County for the 286th District Court said they were not involved in the investigation resulting in the indictments. Instead, the District Attorney in Terry County for the 121st Distrcit Court brought the case before the Hockley County grand jury.

Read the full story in the weekend edition of the News-Press.

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