Dallas County district attorney criticized for not arresting Mesquite officer

Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson is being criticized for not arresting the Mesquite police officer who shot an unarmed man.

Mesquite officer Derek Wiley thought Lydo Jones was breaking into a vehicle, but it was Jones’ own pickup. Jones was shot twice, reportedly with his hands up.

The Mesquite man's attorneys and supporters say the D.A. should have arrested the officer without waiting on a grand jury to indict or not.

“We believe that the evidence in the possession of the District Attorney Faith Johnson provides more than sufficient probable cause for charges to go forward and an arrest to be made,” said attorney Lee Merritt.

That evidence, Merritt said, includes police video of the incident he says he and others have seen but that has not been made public.

On Tuesday, the D.A. expressed her disappointment at Merritt's remarks because she says she’s been in constant contact with jones' supporters.

“Absolutely, in fact I was shocked,” Johnson said.

Johnson said the district attorney’s office does its own independent investigation in officer involved shootings.

“We're doing it for the purpose of making sure that we're getting ready for our presentation to the grand jury and all the other evidence that we need,” Johnson said.

Johnson said the Jones case is different from another high profile officer-involved shooting -- the death of 15-year-old Jordan Edwards.

Balch Springs police officer Roy Oliver was arrested and charged with Edwards' murder before the grand jury returned any indictment.

“The Dallas County sheriff's department was the primary investigating agency they determined that an arrest should be done we concurred with them,” Johnson said.

But in the Jones case, Johnson says the Mesquite Police Department was the lead agency investigating its own officer's actions.

“They determined that an arrest should not be done. So in my power, I need to be certain that I have their file. I didn’t have the Mesquite file.”

Johnson says without that file her office did not have all the facts. She set the case for the grand jury so her office could get Mesquite’s investigative findings. By law the D.A. cannot say when a case will be presented to a grand jury, but she did say it would be heard soon.

“If an indictment is returned you can count on this office vigorously prosecuting the case,” Johnson said.

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