A Texas cop who claimed he was in fear for his life when he shot an unarmed man in the back was acquitted by a jury Monday who found the shooting justified.
Former Mesquite police officer Derick Wiley, who had been fired after the shooting, said he plans to return to law enforcement because “it’s in my blood.”
Through tears, Wiley took the stand and described a harrowing struggle with a suspected burglar he believed may have been armed, a battle of life and death where he had no choice but to pull out his gun and fire at the fleeing suspect who proved to have superhuman strength.
“I told myself either I got to shoot him or he’s going to shoot me,” Wiley testified about that fateful night in November 2017.
But his bodycam footage shows it was the victim who appeared terrified because not only did Wiley never identify himself as a cop while shining a bright light in his face, he began threatening to shoot Jones from the moment he confronted him.
“Get your hands up or I will fucking shoot you!” Wiley yelled at Jones while holding his gun sideways in street gang mode.
Jones stepped out of the truck and told Wiley the ground was wet.
“I don’t give a fuck about it being wet, get on the ground!” he responded.
The video shows Jones did as he was told and that Wiley stepped over him to handcuff his hands which were both behind his back.
“I’m on the ground,” Jones said.
But then some kind of struggle ensues with Jones repeatedly asking “What are you doing?”
It was then that Jones was able to break free and make a run for it which was when Wiley shot him twice.
“I saw Mr. Jones struggling to gain control of Officer Wiley’s weapon,” said a man named Henry Leaverton who claimed to have witnessed the struggle and who was the one who called police in the first place after seeing Jones trying to turn off his car alarm in the parking lot of his business.
But even police shooting experts, who usually side with the cops, said the shooting was not justified.
“Did Lyndo Jones pose a threat to Officer Wiley that he had to use deadly force? No,” said Johnathan Priest, a law enforcement analyst.
Police charged Jones with evading arrest and kept him handcuffed to a hospital bed for six days while refusing to allow his family to see him. They dropped the charge about a week later.
Jones said he had pulled into the parking lot after having gotten lost on the way home.
A previous trial ended in a mistrial against Wiley. Jones says he plans on filing a federal lawsuit.
Watch videos of the shooting and his testimony below.