The statewide police organization providing legal defense to a former Mesquite Police officer is accusing the Dallas County District Attorney's Office of dragging its feet on his case.
The Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas -- or CLEAT -- held a news conference Thursday morning in front of Mesquite police headquarters, and called on the DA's office to let Derick Wiley have his day in court.
"If you tell people that you're going to be the first district attorney to indict a police officer, you've already shown extreme prejudice in your behavior and you've politicized a case that should have been benign," Charley Wilkison, Executive Director of CLEAT, said. "This case should be over with. This officer should be back at work protecting the community he's sworn to protect."
The latest news from around North Texas.
On November 8, Wiley responded to a report of a vehicle alarm going off. When he arrived, he saw Lyndo Jones trying to get into a locked pickup truck.
What he didn't know was that the truck belonged to Jones, who said he was simply trying to turn off the alarm.
During their encounter, the two got into a scuffle -- and Wiley pulled out his gun and shot Jones twice.
Jones survived and continues to recover.
In late November, Mesquite Police Chief Charles Cato announced that an internal investigation of the incident determined that Wiley violated multiple department policies by shooting Jones -- and he was being placed on indefinite suspension, effectively firing him. Wiley has appealed his termination.
About a week later, a Dallas County grand jury indicted Wiley on one count of aggravated assault. He was arrested, but posted bond shortly after he was booked. He has been out of jail since.
Wiley attended the news conference Thursday, but declined to speak.
Attorney Robyn Trosper, who is part of Wiley's civil defense team, said she has reviewed the body camera footage of the incident -- and believes it shows the shooting was lawful.
"At no time did [Jones] cooperate with Officer Wiley," Trosper said. "He actually seemed to indicate he was out to assault Officer Wiley -- or worse, as Officer Wiley feared, that he was going to take his life."
Both Wilkison and Trosper expressed that they're confident Wiley will be exonerated in court.
"We're ready," Wilkison said. "Bring it on. We're tired of waiting."
Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson released the following statement in response to CLEAT's statements:
“It is highly unfortunate that during their press conference, C.L.E.A.T. and the MPOA [Mesquite Police Officers Association] stated inaccurate information, especially so close to trial, potentially prejudicing the very jury pool that we ask to be fair and impartial and to base their verdict on accurate facts presented in a courtroom. The Dallas County District Attorney’s Office’s only motive is to seek justice on behalf of all Dallas County citizens. We remain committed to presenting this case to a Dallas County jury and letting them decide if the defendant is guilty or not.”
Wiley's trial is currently scheduled for November.