Indicted Former Mesquite Officer in Lyndo Jones Case Appeals Termination

A former Mesquite police officer is appealing his firing for use-of-force violations in the shooting of a black man who was trying to unlock his own truck when he was mistaken for a thief.

A Dallas County grand jury indicted former Mesquite Police Officer Derick Wiley Wednesday on an aggravated assault charge in the Nov. 8 non-fatal shooting of Lyndo Jones. Wiley surrendered and was later released on $300,000 bond.

Mesquite Police Chief Charlie Cato said during a news conference Thursday that Wiley is in the process of appealing his termination.

Wiley was dismissed for three violations of the department's policies, Cano said. Two of the violations were code of conduct violations on the use of force and conduct unbecoming an officer while the third violation was a general orders violation on the deadly force policy.

Police have said Jones was shot twice during a scuffle with officers, but Cato clarified Thursday that Wiley, a 10-year veteran of the department, was the only officer on scene when the two shots were fired.

Cato said he'd seen the bodycam footage of the shooting, but declined to go into it since it's evidence in the criminal case.

Following an internal investigation last month, Wiley was placed on "indefinite suspension," effectively meaning he'd been fired.

If Wiley wins the appeal, he can have his job back. If he loses, he could further pursue the case in civil court. When Wiley's appeal will be heard is not yet clear.

Cano said the police department, meanwhile, has worked hand-in-hand with the Dallas County District Attorney's Office throughout both the administrative and criminal investigation and that his department notified the DA's shooting investigation team within 15 minutes of the incident. He stressed that the administrative investigation and punishment handed down to Wiley is separate from any criminal case against the former officer.

In the criminal case, Wiley faces between five and 99 years, or life, if convicted. Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson vowed Wednsesday that her office would prosecute the case diligently and seek the maximum punishment.

Jones' attorney, Lee Merritt doesn't think Johnson or the Mesquite Police Department have done a good job handling the investigation. He said he plans to file a civil suit against the police and was critical of the district attorney's office for not immediately filing charges against the officer and instead "punting to the grand jury."

Wiley is the third police officer to be indicted in Dallas County in 2017 following an officer-involved shooting.

NBC 5's Kevin Cokely contributed to this report.

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