Baltimore Police Officer Wesley Cagle has been charged in the 2014 shooting of a burglary suspect who authorities say was unarmed and subdued on the ground.
Baltimore City State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced Wednesday that Cagle, a 14-year veteran of the department, has been charged with "attempted first- and second-degree murder, first- and second-degree assault, and use of a handgun in a crime of violence," WBAL-TV reports.
"In light of recent events, the commissioner and I recognize the need to be transparent and forthcoming regarding any serious allegation of police brutality or misconduct," Mosby said.
According to the news station, four officers responded to a report of a robbery on Dec. 28, 2014. Officers noticed a man wearing a mask inside the convenience store. Two officers, Keven Leary and Isiah Smith, allege that the man had something shiny in his hands and didn't respond to their requests. The alleged robber, identified by Mosby as Michael John Johansen, reportedly reached for something in his waist, and both officers fired their weapons, bringing Johansen to the ground.
"Based on eyewitness accounts, while Johansen was lying on the floor, Officer Leary and Officer Smith were continuing to cover him with their guns drawn," Mosby said.
"Officer [Wesley] Cagle, on his own initiative, came out of the alley in the rear of the store, walked in front of Officer Leary and Officer Smith and approached Johansen with his gun drawn. Officer Cagle positioned himself over top of Johansen at which time Johansen stated, 'What did you shoot me with? A bean bag?' and Officer Cagle replied, 'No, a .40-caliber, you piece of [expletive]," said Mosby, according to the station.
Mosby noted that several witnesses said Johansen didn't have a weapon and was not a threat because he had already been shot by the time Cagle was standing over him.
"Officer Cagle then took aim and fired his .40-caliber departmental-issued firearm one time, striking Johansen in the groin area," Mosby said, adding, "No weapon was recovered from Johansen or the crime scene."
The three other officers who responded to the call with Cagle were not charged, including the two officers who initially fired their weapons. Johansen has been charged with burglary.
"Today's serious criminal charges against a Baltimore police officer happened because our internal investigations worked. When we establish evidence that a police officer commits a crime, our hand-in-glove relationship with the State's Attorney Office will ensure justice prevails," Interim Police Commissioner Kevin Davis told the news station.
"The hardworking men and women of the Baltimore Police Department expect public-safety leadership to ensure those who put on this patch and wear this badge represent the values of our organization and community," he said.
Read more at WBAL-TV.