A Pennsylvania police officer shot and killed an unarmed man in the stomach



"Weintraub said the law exempted the officer's shooting behavior from criminal prosecution because of his" honest but mistaken "belief that he was using his stun gun by the time he unloaded his service weapon ", according to the release.

The injured Brian Riling was hospitalized in critical condition for several days after being shot in the stomach, but has since been released, the statement said.

The New Hope officer, who was not identified because he was not charged, was put on paid administrative leave and retired from the department on April 10th. according to the release.

The investigation by detectives employed by the prosecutor's office was partially based on a video shot in a detention cell at the New Hope Police Station, a town of 2,500 kilometers north of Philadelphia. The statement repeatedly refers to a letter that Weintraub sent to the New Hope Police Chief, but the prosecutor's office will not disclose this letter, said James O Malley, director of communications at the prosecutor's office. .

CNN contacted Riling and his lawyer and has not yet received a response. CNN also attempted to contact Weintraub and New Hope Police Chief Michael Cummings, but received no response.

Fight in a detention cell

Riling was in custody after being charged with intimidation and retaliation against a victim, common assault and related offenses arising from an incident that occurred on the same day, March 3, said the district attorney. He was also charged with burglarizing the same victim's home in mid-February, according to the statement.

The video shows Riling removing his belt inside the cell under the direction of an officer when a white and rectangular object falls from his pants on the floor. Riling puts his foot on the object. In his statement, the prosecutor stated that the object was "compatible with a drug packet".

The video shows the agent pushing Riling on a concrete bench but Riling resists and the men struggle. The DA statement states that Riling threw the object into the restroom, but that the restroom is not visible in the video.

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A second officer arrives in the cell to help the first officer. Holding his service weapon in his right hand, the second officer shouts "Taser" and pulls Riling into the belly, the video says. The two officers leave the cell for a moment. The prosecutor's statement says that Riling flushes the toilet during this time, but that the toilet is not visible.

The first officer returns to the cell and orders Riling to sit on the seat first. But Riling is lying on the floor saying, "I do not want to die, man" and "Why did you shoot me, you make fun of me?" Later he asks: "What is the [expletive] is the problem with this guy? "

"He did not have the criminal mental state"

The statement of the prosecutor deals with the "mentality" of the officer during the incident.

The officer who shot Riling was aware of Riling's "criminal episodes" before the shooting and had heard Riling make violent threats during a phone call with the "aforementioned victim," the statement said. .

"Given all the circumstances, the officer would have been justified in using his Taser to regain control of Riling inside the detention cell," said DA Weintraub in a statement. his letter [to the police chief], the officer having reason to believe that the confrontation was a danger for his colleague, "the statement said.

"The use of a firearm must be the last resort of an officer," wrote Weintraub, "and was not justified in this case. [to the police chief] continued, because the officer thought that he was using his Taser gun and was not brandishing his service firearm, he did not possess the mental mental state required to be guilty of a crime in under the law of the state. "

The statement mentions an article in the Pennsylvania Crimes Code that states that a person can defend himself from a criminal charge if he commits an error for which there is "a reasonable explanation or excuse".

According to the prosecutor's statement, the officer violated a ministry policy by carrying the stun gun on the right side, in front of his firearm, rather than on the top. "non-dominant side, in what is called a cross-draw position."

This violation of the policy does not constitute a violation of the law, concludes the statement.

Weintraub also felt that the dozens of years of exemplary service of the citizens of New Hope were exemplified by dozens of commendations and letters, in comparison with relatively few minor historical offenses in his record. service, "the statement said.

The New Hope Police Department posted this statement on its website: "The Ministry thanks the District Attorney Weintraub and the members of his office for their thorough investigation and report." The police department did not Other information to be published, nor any other comment about it. "

Previous cases

This is not the first time that a policeman fires a suspect with a gun, thinking that he was using a taser.

Robert Bates, a reservist from the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office in Oklahoma, said he planned to use his Taser stun gun, not his revolver, on suspect Eric Courtney Harris, who had been attacked by other members and who was held on the ground on 2 April 2015.

Bates was convicted of second degree manslaughter and sentenced to a four-year sentence.

In 2009, a Bay Area Rapid Transit police officer fired his gun in lieu of his Taser, killing Oscar Grant, 22, in Oakland, California.

Former officer Johannes Mehserle testified that he had intended to use his stun gun, but had unsheathed his weapon. Mehserle was sentenced to two years in prison for manslaughter, but was released earlier for good behavior.

Augusta Anthony, Laura Ly and Holly Yan from CNN contributed to this report.


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