MESQUITE (CBSDFW.COM) - Attorneys for the former Mesquite police officer charged with aggravated assault by a public servant for shooting an unarmed man say he did nothing wrong.
Wiley was fired from his job and charged with aggravated assault. Despite the charge, law enforcement agencies are standing behind him.
"There is only one path to justice and this officer did nothing wrong. It was a mistake for the police chief to fire him and for the DA to keep this going this long," said Executive Director of Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas (CLEAT), Charley Wilkinson.
The Office of Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson sent a statement calling the accusations by police groups an effort to influence the jury pool in a case that's about to go to trial.
Here's the statement in full:
"It is highly unfortunate that during their press conference, C.L.E.A.T. and the MPOA stated inaccurate information, especially so close to trial, potentially prejudicing the very jury pool that we ask to be fair and impartial and to base their verdict on accurate facts presented in a courtroom. The Dallas County District Attorney's Office's only motive is to seek justice on behalf of all Dallas County citizens. We remain committed to presenting this case to a Dallas County jury and letting them decide if the defendant is guilty or not."
Former police officer Derick Wiley shot unarmed motorist Lyndo Jones last November when it appeared Jones was breaking into a truck. Turns out, that truck belonged to Jones.
Jones, who was high on heroin and marijuana when he was shot, survived. He suffered three gunshot wounds to the back and torso and is still recovering from his injuries.
He filed a civil lawsuit that cited excessive force, unlawful arrest, detention and interrogation at the hands of Wiley and the City of Mesquite. It also faulted policymakers, the mayor, police chief, city council and the city manager for failing to properly supervise and discipline officers who are known to engage in excessive force.
"Fearing for his life, Jones put his hands up and begged defendant Wiley not to shoot him," the civil lawsuit says. "Defendant Wiley disregarded and ignored Jones' pleas and instead discharged his firearm, striking plaintiff three times in the back for no justifiable or lawful reason."
But an attorney for Wiley, a 10 year veteran of the department, offered a different perspective during a Thursday press conference on what she said happened the night Wiley responded to a call about a man (Jones) acting "erratically" who was "barefoot despite the cold weather."
"The suspect was reaching around in his vehicle. Wiley tried to call for backup but his radio wasn't working, and struggle ensued," she explained. "They ended up on the ground… the suspect was evading arrest in every way and overcame Wiley, and ended up looking over him. He [Jones] then turned and moved in a way that he may have a weapon. Fearing for his life, Wiley shot him, then immediately called 911 for help," she said.
Jones has denied that he resisted arrest.
Wilkinson said Wiley followed the training offered by Mesquite department to the letter. He's calling on the DA to clear Wiley's name and claims she responded to political pressure.
"...But that kind of meddling by a district attorney, an elected person, the highest law enforcement officer of this county, makes me wonder what in the hell is going on with the district attorney's office that they're sitting on evidence, somehow, that would help this officer clear his name," said Wilkinson.
Wiley is facing five to 99 years if convicted.
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