The Mesquite police chief explained on Thursday how his department handled the officer-involved shooting of an unarmed man and his decision to fire one of his officers.
Fired police officer Derick Wiley was indicted by a grand jury on Wednesday for aggravated assault by a public servant. There have been questions about how the Mesquite Police Department handled its investigation of the shooting, so the chief provided some answers.
The former officer shot Lyndo Jones while he was in his own truck when Wiley responded to what he thought was a burglary. Wiley claims Jones fought with him and even after being shot continued to fight him and other officers.
Mesquite Police Chief Charles Cato says he wants to clear up misconceptions about his department's investigation of the shooting of Lyndo Jones by former Officer Derick Wiley on November 8.
The grand jury indictment was announced six days after Chief Cato terminated the officer for failing to follow department policies. The most serious violation was his decision to use deadly force.
"The main question that the officer has to answer when they use force is three things: I had to do it, I had to do it now and nothing less wouldn't do,” the chief said.
Cato also addressed criticism that his administrative investigation was not in sync with the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office.
"We notified them within 15 minutes,” he said. “They came to the scene that night. They were there for some time. They saw the things that they needed to see. They went home. The next morning, they came back. We started providing them information. We gave them videos."
Wiley was responding to a possible burglary and found Jones sitting in a truck with the car alarm going off. Police say Jones struggled with the officer before and after he was shot. It turns out the truck belonged to Jones, and there was no burglary. But there is still a discrepancy about how many times he was shot.
"There were two shots. That's it,” Cato said. “They weren't three; there were two."
“The doctor’s records show that he was shot three times,” said Lee Merritt, Jones’ attorney. “But there were three entry wounds and one exit. And there were two separate bullets pulled out of the body. One, we believe, exited at the scene."
Merritt provided a picture of one of the bullets. He has been critical of the police department and Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson for not charging Wiley before the grand jury indictment.
"She has prejudiced this case in favor of law enforcement,” Merritt claimed. “And she does that in other cases. I don't think that she is a zealous advocate for people who are concerned with police brutality in Dallas County."
“We want to make sure that everyone in this county gets justice,” Johnson said. “It doesn't matter who you are, and that's what we're committed to do."
Wiley turned himself in to police and was later released after posting a $300,000 bond. He is now appealing his termination.