Dallas, TX – A former Dallas police officer who was arrested and fired after a fellow officer accused him of orchestrating the murders of two people is suing the homicide detective responsible for the investigation.
Now-former Dallas Police Department (DPD) Officer Bryan Riser, 37, was arrested by his fellow officers in March of 2021 for allegedly ordering three men to kidnap and kill two people in 2017, KTVT reported.
He was subsequently fired in connection with the criminal investigation, as well as for “administrative violations,” the department told KTVT.
Riser, a 13-year veteran of the Dallas Police Department (DPD), remained in jail for about a month before Dallas County prosecutors admitted there was no evidence to support the two counts of capital murder he was facing.
He was immediately released from jail and is still appealing his firing, WFAA reported.
“This department that I used to love, respect, they have disrespected me. They have embarrassed my family all over a make-believe lie,” Riser told WFAA as he was leaving the detention center on April 7, 2021. “I was 100 percent innocent from the get-go.”
Riser filed a federal lawsuit against DPD Detective Esteban Montenegro on May 5, alleging the detective wrongfully orchestrated his arrest, tampered with records, and perjured himself in connection with the cobbled-together case, WFAA reported.
The lawsuit claimed Det. Montenegro falsely arrested and jailed him, thereby violating his civil rights, KXAS reported.
According to the lawsuit, Riser’s arrest “was based entirely on the uncorroborated statements of a person directly linked to five murders.”
“Montenegro knew the witness was entirely unreliable for a number of reasons, including that his statements were flatly contradicted by those of another co-conspirator,” the lawsuit alleged, according to WFAA.
Furthermore, a “fellow police officer had directly informed Montenegro that the witness was unreliable and had a habit of deceiving law enforcement.”
Riser’s attorney, Toby Shook, said last year that the allegations against his client were nothing more than false claims from an already-convicted murderer named Emmanuel Kilpatrick, according to KTVT.
Kilpatrick came forward in August of 2019 and told investigators that Officer Riser directed him to kill 31-year-old Liza Saenz and 61-year-old Albert Douglas, the Associated Press reported.
Investigators said there was no connection between the victims and that their deaths were unrelated, according to the Associated Press.
Police had pulled Saenz’s bullet-ridden body from the Trinity River on March 10, 2017, Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia said during a press conference last year.
Douglas was reported missing in February of 2017, but his body has never been found, the Associated Press reported.
The district attorney’s office told Det. Montenegro in late 2019 that there was no probable cause to arrest Officer Riser, but the detective went and made the arrest anyway, according to WFAA.
“More than a year later, not a single piece of additional evidence had been found,” Riser’s lawsuit read. “Nonetheless, Montenegro went ahead with the arrest that he had already been told was unsupported by probable cause.”
The original warrant for Riser’s arrest falsely claimed that cell tower records proved the officer and his patrol car were in the area of the murders when they were committed, WFAA reported.
In April of 2021, Det. Montenegro testified that the bombshell claim was a “mistake” and blamed it on a “cut and paste error,” according to the news outlet.
The judge dismissed the charges against Riser shortly after Det. Montenegro’s three-hour testimony.
After the case against Riser fell apart, Chief Garcia ordered an investigation into Det. Montenegro, WFAA reported.
The detective has been on administrative leave since December of 2021, according to KXAS.
The Kaufman County District Attorney’s Office was appointed to oversee the case against Det. Montenegro after the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office recused itself, WFAA reported.
His attorney, Messina Madson, said her client “was acting in good faith at all times” and that they are confident he will be cleared of wrongdoing, according to WFAA.
Riser is seeking an unspecified amount of compensation for mental pain and anguish, lost wages, and legal fees, KXAS reported.