Crime Ex-Dallas Cop Who Was Charged with Capital Murder Walks Out of Jail After Prosecution Admits It Doesn’t Have Enough Evidence
The judge in the Derek Chauvin case is orchestrating one of the nation’s most widely watched murder trials. Meet Peter Cahill.
While Judge Peter Cahill allowed cameras in the courtroom for the first time in Minnesota state history, he's also been strict on other matters.That is exactly where Hennepin County District Court Judge Peter Cahill finds himself in the murder trial of Derek Chauvin, entering its sixth week and bringing daily controversy and scrutiny to every step taken in the courtroom.
A 13-year veteran of the Dallas Police Department who was fired from his job and charged with capital murder on an allegation that he ordered hits on two people has been released from jail after the prosecution admitted and the judge found insufficient probable cause. Bryan Riser walked out of court on Wednesday and briefly but indignantly called out the police department for disrespecting and embarrassing him.
“This department I used to love and respect, they have disrespected me. They’ve embarrassed me and they’ve embarrassed my family all over make believe lies. I was 100% innocent from the get go. I just want to go be with my family,” he said.
Minneapolis officers line up to reject Chauvin's actions
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The parade of Minneapolis police officers rejecting a former officer’s actions in restraining George Floyd continued at his murder trial, including a use-of-force instructor who said officers were coached to “stay away from the neck when possible.” Lt. Johnny Mercil on Tuesday became the latest member of the Minneapolis force to take the stand as part of an effort by prosecutors to dismantle the argument that Derek Chauvin was doing what he was trained to do when he put his knee on George Floyd’s neck last May.
Indeed, Riser had maintained his innocence all along. Those observing the casethat the Dallas Police Department would have allowed Riser to continue patrolling for more than a year while he was being investigated for murder. Police said that Riser was a “person of interest” in at least one of the killings dating back to 2019.
When Riser was taken into custody in early March and accused of murder in connection with the 2017 deaths of two unrelated victims, Dallas Chief of Police Eddie Garcia said that someone had come forward and implicated Riser in the killings. Garcia alleged that both of the murders were personal in nature were not connected to each other or to Riser’s work as police officer.
Column: The prosecutors are scoring at the Derek Chauvin trial. Here's why
The prosecutors in the Chauvin trial have broken out of the paradigm that so often results in not-guilty verdicts where police are concerned.It is in fact notoriously difficult to win such cases, but the prosecutors in the Chauvin trial have broken out of the paradigm that so often results in not-guilty verdicts or hung juries where police are concerned. They stand a good chance of winning a conviction.
Police alleged that Riser directed 28-year-old Kevin Kidd, 31-year-old Emmanuel Kilpatrick, and 35-year-old Jermon Simmons to kidnap and kill Lisa Marie Saenz, 31, and Albert Douglas, 61, and dump their bodies in the Trinity River. The killings occurred months apart and were allegedly part of a murder-for-hire plot. Saenz was killed in March 2017 and Douglas was killed in August 2017.
“No one hates a bad cop more than a good cop,” Garcia said in March, adding that Riser had “no business wearing that uniform.”
The department quickly moved to terminate Riser.
But Dallas County Assistant District Attorney Jason Fine admitted on Wednesday that the witness statements implicating Riser in the offenses for which he was charged was not enough to establish probable cause.
“We have an obligation — under the U.S Constitution, under the Texas Constitution, under the Code of Criminal Procedure, under our duty as prosecutors — to see that justice is done. If we get to a point in any case, no matter who the defendant is, no matter who the witnesses are, that we feel there is insufficient probable cause, we have to alert the defense and alert the court. We have to do something. We can’t just sit by,” Fine said in court,.
EXPLAINER: Prosecution explores Floyd's 'spark of life'
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Prosecutors trying a white former Minneapolis police officer in George Floyd’s death put one of Floyd’s brothers on the witness stand Monday in a further effort to humanize him for the jury and counter the defense narrative that Floyd was at least partially responsible for his own death due to his use of illegal drugs. Philonise Floyd, who has frequently occupied the Floyd family's sole seat in the socially distanced courtroom, was allowed to testify under a legal doctrine called “spark of life.
Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot similarly said in a statement there “currently is insufficient corroboration of co-defendant statements and accomplice testimony to prosecute the case.”
As a result, the charges against Riser were dropped and Dallas County Criminal Court Judge Audrey Moorehead said Riser was free to go.
Riser’s wife Ebony Samuel-Riser demanded an apology from the Dallas Police Department.
“The truth is finally coming out and that is what we are here for, the truth,” she said, according to NBC DFW.
But both Creuzot and Dallas Police said that Wednesday’s surprising events do not mean that the case is over. They said the investigation will continue on.
Riser’s lawyer Toby Shook reportedly said, on the other hand, that an investigation should focus on “how this decision was made so quickly to arrest [Riser], which triggered this whole thing.”
Video recorded from above showed Riser being driven away from the courthouse.
[image via Dallas Police Department]
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EXPLAINER: Legion of Chauvin prosecutors, each with own role .
Viewers watching the trial of a former Minneapolis officer charged with murder in George Floyd 's death may be struck by the array of prosecutors taking turns presenting their case. The choice of who does what is no accident. While Derek Chauvin ’s attorney, Eric Nelson, works alone, the prosecution is being handled by two assistant attorneys general, Matthew Frank and Erin Eldridge, and two outside lawyers, Jerry Blackwell and Steve Schleicher. Ten more are working behind the scenes, many for free.Experts agree the roles played by prosecutors are based on the skill sets each brings, but appearances matter, too.