Bucks County DA excuses officer in New Hope Police Department shooting

Saturday, April 13, 2019
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DA excuses officer in New Hope Police Department shooting. Maggie Kent reports during Action News at 11 p.m. on April 12, 2019.

NEW HOPE, Pa. (WPVI) -- On Friday, Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub announced there will not be charges against a police officer who shot a suspect inside the New Hope Police Department.

The DA's office released surveillance video from inside the cell back on March 3rd. The arrested, Brian Riling, unbuckled his belt, and in the process of taking it off, a small square plastic baggie fell to the ground. Riling immediately covers it with his foot.

Next, a struggle begins between the two officers in the cell and Riling. While the officer calls out "taser, taser" he pulls a gun from his waistband. He shot Riling once in the stomach.

The immediate moments after show Riling overcome by pain and fear that he's about to die. He asks officers to help him before he dies.

On Friday, after a lengthy investigation, Bucks County D.A. Matthew Weintraub explained why the officer who fired the shot won't face charges.

Weintraub said, "The conduct was neither justified nor criminal, but excused because the officer honestly believed that he was using his taser when he shot Mr. Riling in the stomach."

Weintraub says he does not condone the shooting by any means.

The officer, who has not been publically named, retired on April 10th.

Weintraub said he was an accomplished lawman, "What I can say, to be fair, is the numbers of letters of support over his lengthy career far out-weighed the the very minor infractions he may have had in his historical past."

In his report, the DA also makes note the officer wore his taser on his right side, in front of his firearm, in violation of police department policies.

Policy dictates officers should wear their tasers on their non-dominant side, in what is known as a cross-draw position.

This violation of policy, however, does not constitute a violation of law.