There are inescapable similarities between the shooting for which former Mesquite cop Derick Wiley went on trial Tuesday and the one by Dallas Police Department Officer Amber Guyger, who shot and killed Botham Jean in Jean's apartment, believing it was her own, on Sept. 6.
Like Guyger, Wiley made a critical misreading of the situation that led to the shooting, thinking that Lyndo Jones was breaking into a truck that he actually owned. Like his fellow officer, Wiley also fired at his target twice from a short distance away, but only critically injured Jones.
There are important differences in what happened, however. Unlike Guyger, Wiley was on duty at the time of the shooting, with all the attendant responsibilities and privileges that implies. Because Wiley was on the clock, there's video of the incident from his body cam. Most important, Jones survived Wiley's bullets, living to testify against the man who shot him.
For prosecutors, Tuesday was all about setting up what Jones will eventually tell the jury, according to reporters in the courtroom.
During the testimony of a Mesquite police investigator, jurors got to take a look at two critical videos. The first, shared with the public by Jones' civil attorney, Lee Merritt, was video of the November 2017 shooting itself, recorded by Wiley's body cam.
The trial for the cop that shot #LyndoJones in the back because he suspected him of stealing his own car is underway. This video was just released. Lyndo complies to every command until he steps on the back of his neck. Then he stands up and put his hands in the air. He’s shot 2x pic.twitter.com/I2cAGZ0KBQ— S. Lee Merritt, Esq. (@MeritLaw) September 18, 2018
Throughout the video, Wiley, who believed he was responding to an auto burglary, curses at Jones.
"Put your hands up or I will fucking shoot you," Wiley yells at Jones.
After Jones gets out of the truck, Wiley orders him to get on the ground.
"Stay on the ground before I fucking shoot you," Wiley orders Jones.
"Yes, sir, I'm on the ground," Jones says.
After Jones gets on the ground, Wiley climbs on top of him and starts pulling Jones' hands behind his back. At one point, Wiley's knee appears to be on Jones' back. That's what made Jones stand up and run away from Wiley, according to Merritt.
As Jones runs away, Wiley shoots him. Mesquite Police Department Chief Charles Cato placed Wiley on indefinite leave, effectively firing him, shortly after the shooting.
After the shooting, Wiley was interviewed by investigators with his attorney. On video, Wiley says that he thought Jones had a weapon and that he was burglarizing the truck. Neither of those things was true. Jones was simply trying to shut off the truck's alarm, which had been going off repeatedly.
Wiley is charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. His trial is expected to run through Friday.
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