An officer for the New Hope Borough Police Department shot a man in a holding cell after grabbing his gun and screaming “taser!”
Now, district attorney Matthew Weintraub says the officer will not face any criminal charges due to his “honest but mistaken” belief he was deploying his taser at the time 38-year-old Brian Riling was shot, Weintraub said in a news release Friday, according to NJ.com.
“After careful consideration, I have determined that the shooting of arrestee Brian Riling on March 3, 2019, was neither justified, nor criminal, but was excused,” Weintraub wrote to New Hope Police Chief Michael Cummings in a letter about the incident.
In his letter, Weintraub wrote the officer would have been justified using his Taser in order to get Riling under control, but use of a firearm should be an officer’s last resort and using it in this case was not justified, he said.
Weintraub wrote he did not “possess the criminal mental state required to be guilty of a crime under state law” since the officer believed he was drawing his taser, not his firearm.
Video shows Riling enter the jail cell and remove his belt after an officer orders him.
As he removes his belt, what appears to be a small bag which police suspect were drugs falls to the floor from his waistband and Riling attempts to hide it by stepping on it.
A struggle ensues after the officer attempts to move Riling from the object.
Riling tosses the baggy that fell on the floor into the cell’s toilet.
That’s when the other cop enters the cell and shoots Riling.
He cries in pain as he asks why the officer shot him and begs for medicine to stop the pain from being shot.
“Oh my god. Please, please help. Dude, my kids, my kids, My daughters. Please, please, my daughters, please,” Riling begs and cries in pain.
“Get me f—ing out of here. I don’t want to die. It hurts everywhere, guys.”
One of the officers kneels next to him telling him to breathe, relax and assuring he’ll be OK.
“Dude, I don’t want to die,” Riling cries out.
An officer tells him he’s not going to die.
“How do you know that? I’m dying now!” he shouts.
“Why would you f—cking shoot me? Are you kidding me?”
Riling was in custody after being arrested with retaliation against a victim, intimidation, simple assault and other offenses on March 3.
He was also arrested and charged in February for burglarizing the same victim’s home.
On March 3, Riling was arrested by New Hope police after allegedly sending threatening text messages saying he wanted her dead.
The victim reportedly told New Hope police that Riling was outside of her home at 4 a.m. and had waited for her to return from working when he confronted her, grabbed her by the throat and spit in her face, according to the Bucks County Courier Times.
Riling allegedly sent threatening texts demanding she drop the allegations from February.
“The officer who shot Riling was aware of these two criminal episodes ahead of the holding cell incident, and had himself heard threats of violence made by Riling during a phone call between Riling and the previously mentioned victim,” Weintraub said on Friday.
“These details are not provided as proof of criminal behavior on Riling’s part, but to illustrate the mindset of the officer who shot him.”
After the shooting, the officer was placed on paid leave until his retirement Wednesday.