A Texas grand jury has returned a true bill indictment against now former Mesquite, Texas, Police Officer Derick Wiley in the Nov. 8 shooting of 31-year-old Lyndo Jones (pdf), The Root has exclusively learned from Jones’ attorney, S. Lee Merritt.
The Dallas County District Attorney’s Office is expected to make the announcement Wednesday afternoon, at which time the exact charges will be announced.
The term “true bill” means that the grand jury found the evidence presented against Wiley sufficient to warrant a trial.
As The Root previously reported, Mesquite Police Chief Charles Cato released a statement Nov. 29 announcing Wiley’s termination.
“Based upon the facts and recommendations presented to me, I made the decision to place Officer Derick Wiley on indefinite suspension,” Cato said. “This is a term used for civil service employees, but it effectively means Officer Wiley’s employment has been terminated.”
On the night of Nov. 8, Jones was sitting inside his vehicle when the car alarm malfunctioned and began blaring. As he struggled to turn it off, someone approached him and asked if he needed assistance.
Jones said that he did not, but that didn’t stop the unidentified person from calling 911 and claiming that Jones was attempting to steal what was his own vehicle. The 911 call triggered a series of events that ended with Wiley shooting Jones twice in the back even though he was unarmed with his hands raised.
Jones was violently searched before being taken into custody and handcuffed to a bed while in critical condition at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas.
The Dallas County District Attorney’s Office reviewed Wiley’s bodycam footage of the shooting, leading District Attorney Faith Johnson to dismiss a frivolous resisting-arrest charge against Jones and to open a criminal investigation against Wiley.
Jones was eventually released from the hospital but was readmitted last week for complications related to the shooting.
“We’re grateful that the grand jury did their job in returning an indictment, however, we remain disappointed in DA Faith Johnson, who failed to take the most basic step of filing criminal charges,” Merritt told The Root. “The DA’s reluctance to prosecute an officer gives us little confidence in the office’s ability to secure a conviction.”