UPPER MARLBORO, Md. (WJLA) - A jury found former District Heights police officer Johnnie Riley guilty Tuesday on charges that he shot an unarmed, handcuffed suspect who was running away from him in the back.
Riley was found guilty of both first and second-degree assault and the use of a handgun in the commission of a crime.
It was in September of 2012 when Riley spotted 26-year-old Calvin Kyle on a stolen motorcycle. Riley arrested Kyle and placed him in handcuffs in the back of his police cruiser.
A short time later, as Riley was out of the vehicle, at least one witness saw Kyle, who was barefoot, slip out of the back of Riley's cruiser and take off running.
Riley reportedly shouted at Kyle to stop, and even threw his baton at him, but missed. Next, Riley admitted he took out his gun and shot it three times "to gain control over the situation." The first two shots missed - but the third shot hit him in the back.
Kyle remains paralyzed from the waist down.
A witness testified in the trial that she thought Riley's actions were uncalled for, and that Riley was not in harm's way from the unarmed, handcuffed and barefoot Kyle, who was running away from him.
Riley told the jury it "slipped his mind" that the suspect he shot in the back was in handcuffs. He also said that he feared if he chased the man on foot he'd run into an ambush set by the man's friends.
Riley faces a mandatory prison sentence. His sentencing has been scheduled for July 30. Until that date, he remains free on $100,000 bond.