Jurors will reconvene Monday to continue deliberations in the case of 37-year-old Derick Wiley, a former Mesquite officer charged with aggravated assault by a public servant.
The jury began deliberations late Friday afternoon after five full days of testimony. Three hours after they started, the judge announced they would break for the weekend.
During the prosecution’s closing argument earlier in the day, assistant district attorney Jason Fine told jurors this is not a case of self-defense. He said Wiley overreacted.
“We can’t have police officers out there with this sort of decision making,” he said. “It was wrong decision after wrong decision after wrong decision.”
Wiley was charged with aggravated assault by a public servant in the November 2017 shooting that seriously injured 32-year-old Lyndo Jones.
“A verdict of guilty does not mean you are anti-police," Fine told jurors.
But Wiley’s defense attorney, Kathy Lowthorp, said the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office bowed to pressure from activists when the decision was made to prosecute Wiley.
Lowthorp claimed Wiley reacted exactly as he was trained to do and said the jury needs to be mindful about the standard to which they hold officers.
“If they do wrong, they need to be in trouble,” she told jurors in her closing argument, adding that "you can’t make every officer pay a price every time they use their weapons.”
During testimony on day five, an expert who has investigated high-profile police shootings across the country says the former Mesquite officer followed his training when he shot a man he believed was armed.
Wiley was responding to a 911 call about a suspicious person in a vehicle when he encountered Jones. The former officer said he thought Jones was burglarizing the truck and believed the man was armed.
Jones was sitting in his own pickup truck when Wiley arrived. The cop ordered Jones to get out of the vehicle and get facedown on the ground.
He did but rolled over and slipped out of Wiley's grasp. Wiley testified he feared for his life in that moment.
When Jones started to run away, Wiley shot him twice, striking him in the back.
“This was absolutely a reasonable shooting,” said Ron Martinelli, an expert witness for the defense.
Martinelli picked apart frame-by-frame images from Wiley's bodycam footage. He said Wiley’s response to Jones was automatic and based on how police officers are trained to react.
He said everything happened “basically in the blink of an eye” and there's no evidence Wiley did anything inconsistent with his training.
Martinelli has been involved in several high-profile officer shooting cases including Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fl., and Tamir Rice in Cleveland.
This is a retrial of this case. The first trial ended in a mistrial after jurors couldn't reach a verdict.
A civil rights attorney representing Jones in a lawsuit against Wiley and the City of Mesquite tweeted during closing arguments Friday that those who break the law "no matter who they are or who they do it to."