A Mesquite police officer has been indicted on felony charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon by a public servant after shooting a man he mistook for a burglar, according to Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson.
The victim, Lyndo Jones, was getting into his car last month when he was shot by Mesquite Police Officer Derick Wiley.
Wiley, who said he thought Jones was a burglary suspect, was indicted by a Dallas County grand jury.
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"We want to thank the grand jury. They were very deliberate. They spent the time in looking at this case, and we so appreciate them," Johnson said at a press conference Wednesday.
Jones's attorneys applauded the grand jury's decision, though they said the news did not lift their client's spirits as he continues to recover from surgery last week to remove the final bullet from his body.
"He wasn't too thrilled about it to be quite honest. He believes that Faith Johnson should have issued an indictment herself and not punted to the grand jury," said attorney Justin Moore. "Her giving the grand jury the duty to issue the indictment shows that she does not have any fidelity to the people of Dallas County. She punted to citizens and, luckily enough, they ran that punt back and scored a touchdown today."
For nearly a month, Jones's attorneys demanded that Johnson's office file criminal charges against Wiley. Attorney Lee Merritt was skeptical that Johnson's office would vigorously prosecute Wiley.
"We are still not positive that this office is capable of a zealous prosecution of a law enforcement officer in light of the fact that this office has not taken the necessary steps from the beginning of this case to adamantly prosecute this officer," he said.
Merritt believes the body camera footage from the Nov. 8 incident was more than enough to warrant criminal charges. Johnson said he did not have all the information.
"Unfortunately, Lee Merritt did not have all the facts. He didn't have all the information we did. The citizens of Dallas County can count on us to make certain that we do the right thing based on the evidence that we have and based on everything we have before us," Johnson said. "Based on what we had we had to proceed the way we did, and even with proceeding the way we did we did it expeditiously."
Wiley was placed on "indefinite suspension," last month, effectively meaning he'd been fired, following an internal investigation. Mesquite Police Chief Charles Cato said the internal investigation revealed Wiley violated department policy, though he didn't elaborate on which policy he was referring to.
Cato is expected to speak publicly about the former officer's indictment at a Thursday morning press conference.
Johnson said Wiley faces between five and 99 years, or life, if convicted. She vowed that her office would prosecute the case diligently and seek the maximum punishment.
A bond of $300,000 has been ordered for Wiley.
He is the third police officer to be indicted in Dallas County in 2017 following an officer-involved shooting.