DALLAS (AP) — A former suburban Dallas police officer was found not guilty of aggravated assault for shooting an unarmed man twice in the back.
Jurors reached their decision Monday in the retrial of Derick Wiley, who was fired by the Mesquite Police Department after the 2017 shooting that wounded Lyndo Jones.
Wiley, 37, fought back tears after the verdict was read in court and was embraced by his family and supporters. He told the Dallas Morning News that he plans to return to law enforcement as soon as possible because police work is “just in my blood.”
The jury’s decision followed emotional testimony from both men and arguments from opposing lawyers, who both framed the case as one that would set a standard for police in North Texas.
Wiley shot Jones while responding to a report of someone breaking into a vehicle. Authorities have said the officer mistook Jones for a burglar while Jones was trying to unlock his own truck. Body camera video showed Jones, then 31, pleading with Wiley not to shoot just before the gunfire.
At trial, prosecutors portrayed Wiley as reckless and “hellbent on violence” on the night of the shooting. But Wiley’s attorney, Rafael Sierra, argued that the officer did not know Jones was unarmed and that he had to make a split-second decision. Wiley testified last week that he feared for his life in the moments before he opened fire.
Jones’ civil attorney, Justin Moore, said his client is devastated by the verdict but does not expect it to affect a separate lawsuit he’s brought against Mesquite, according to the Morning News.
In September, a judge declared a mistrial after the jury deadlocked in Wiley’s first trial after 10 hours of deliberations.