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Moment of Truth Nears for Mesquite Cop Who Shot Unarmed Man in the Back

Lyndo Jones recovered in the hospital in November 2017.EXPAND
Lyndo Jones recovered in the hospital in November 2017.
Lee Merritt

A Mesquite police officer who shot an unarmed man twice in the back last year will soon find out how much prison time he might serve, if any.

Testimony concluded Tuesday in the trial of Derick Wiley, who is on trial for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon by a public servant. Wiley shot Lyndo Jones after responding to a call about a car alarm going off in a parking lot on Town East Boulevard.

When Wiley arrived, he ordered Jones out of a truck. Wiley believed Jones was trying to steal it. Jones was actually trying to disable the alarm on his own vehicle. Footage from Wiley's body cam painted a vivid image of what happened.

"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' knee. That's what made Jones stand up and run away from Wiley, according to Lee Merritt, one of Jones' civil attorneys.

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.

Jones took the stand in the case last week, telling jurors that when Wiley told him to get out of his truck, he didn't realize the man who'd later shoot him was a cop.

"I didn't know who he was, I was scared," Jones said.

Jones also admitted to using marijuana and cocaine in the parking lot before Wiley confronted him.

During two days of testimony this week, Wiley repeatedly told jurors that he feared for his life during his struggle with Jones.

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"I believe I shot in an official capacity," Wiley said Tuesday. "That suspect fought with me on the ground. It was dark out there. I was by myself. Y'all are pausing the video and doing all that, but I had a split-second to make a decision, and that decision was to shoot or get shot."

Monday, Wiley said through tears that he believed Jones has a gun.

"I wouldn't have shot that dude if I didn't think he was going to, he had a weapon and he was going to hurt me but I didn't know what he was doing," Wiley said.

Following closing arguments Wednesday, it will be up to the jury to decide whether Wiley acted as a reasonable police officer would have in an identical situation. If it rules that he did not, Wiley will be the second police officer convicted of a felony for shooting an unarmed African-American in Dallas County in as many months. Roy Oliver was convicted of murder for shooting 15-year-old Jordan Edwards in the head as Edwards attempted to leave a party in Balch Springs last April. 

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