According to Bucks County, Pa. District Attorney Matthew Weintraub, an officer who shot and wounded an unarmed inmate after accidentally drawing his gun instead of his taser will not be charged.
According to findings released by the office Friday, Weintraub determined that the officer who shot the inmate was “neither justified, nor criminal, but was excused” in the incident, which occurred in March.
Weintraub’s letter to New Hop Police Chief Michael Cummings said that the law excuses the officer’s conduct because of his ‘honest but mistaken” belief that he was going to tase and not shoot the victim.
In his letter, Weintraub concluded that the officer “would have been justified in using his Taser to regain control of Riling inside the holding cell,” as the officer “had a reasonable belief the scuffle posed a danger to his fellow officer.”
On March 3, Brian Riling was in a holding when, according to Weintraub’s office, he began moving his clothes. After a “drug baggie” fell from his waistband, he stepped on it, and a struggle began.
“With his service firearm in his hand, the second officer yells ‘Taser!’ before shooting Riling in the torso,” the office stated. Video released by the DA’s office shows Riling shout before falling back onto the floor.
According to NBC News, Riling appears to say, “Was that a gun?” and “What are doing? You shot me with a gun? What the f—- are you doing?” He also mentioned his children, telling the officer he did not want to die.
The officer wore his taser on his right side, a violation of department policy, which dictates tasers be worn on each officer’s non-dominant side.
“This violation of policy, however, does not constitute a violation of law,” said the office.
According to Riling’s attorney, Richard Fink, he is still experiencing medical issues despite his release from a medical facility, per the Bucks County Courier Times