Baltimore police officer convicted for 2014 shooting

baltimore police officer charged attempted murder bts_00002609
baltimore police officer charged attempted murder bts_00002609


    Baltimore police officer charged with attempted murder


Baltimore police officer charged with attempted murder 03:54

Story highlights

  • Baltimore Police Officer Wesley Cagle is convicted of assault and weapons charge
  • Cagle was acquitted of more serious charges, including attempted first-degree murder, tied to 2014 shooting
  • Two officers shot a burglary suspect; Cagle then came out of an alley and fired, authorities say

(CNN)A Baltimore police officer was found guilty of first-degree assault and a weapons charge Thursday for the 2014 shooting of an unarmed burglary suspect.

But a state court jury found Officer Wesley Cagle not guilty of more serious attempted murder charges in the shooting of Michael Johansen, 46, who survived and was later charged with burglary. Cagle will be sentenced in November.
    The Baltimore Police Department, in a statement, said the case was "an example of our absolute capacity to hold police officers accountable" and "a reminder to our community that ... officers in Baltimore are willing to step up when they see something they know is wrong."
    Police Commissioner Kevin Davis was taking "immediate action" to terminate Cagle's employment, according to the statement.
    "His actions are not representative of the vast majority of our men and women who wear this uniform," read the statement, which was posted on the department's Twitter account.
    Cagle was hit with counts ranging from attempted murder to assault last summer, three months after prosecutors announced separate charges against six other officers in connection with the controversial death of Freddie Gray in April 2015. The Gray case became a symbol of the black community's mistrust of the police and focal point of a national debate about police accountability.
    Cagle's conviction for first-degree assault and use of a handgun in a crime of violence comes one week after prosecutors dropped all charges against three remaining officers facing trial in connection with Gray's death. The death sparked days of unrest.
    In the Gray case, three additional officers were previously acquitted and another faced a retrial after a jury deadlocked.
    But the Cagle investigation preceded the outrage over the death of Gray and other African-American men at the hands of police across the nation.
    It stemmed from a December 2014 incident after which Cagle was placed on administrative leave. The 14-year veteran was later suspended without pay after criminal charges were filed in August 2015.
    Two other Baltimore police officers also shot at Johansen in East Baltimore, but neither of them faced charges.
    Four officers responded to a reported store burglary in the predawn hours of December 28, 2014. Two of them saw a masked suspect try to sneak out the store's side door.
    Two officers, neither of which was Cagle, confronted that man and told him to show his hands. Instead, the "suspect reached down," prosecutors said. The officers discharged their firearms multiple times, striking the suspect several times and causing him to fall.
    That's when Cagle entered the picture, walking in front of the other two officers who were standing nearby with their guns drawn.
    "Officer Cagle positioned himself over top of Johansen, at which time Johansen stated, 'What did you shoot me with, a beanbag?'" Baltimore City State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby told reporters after Cagle was charged.
    "And Officer Cagle replied, 'No, a .40-caliber, you piece of (expletive)."
    By that point, witnesses didn't see the fallen suspect as a threat; he wasn't making "any aggressive or threatening movements," according to Mosby. Cagle shot Johansen in the groin area.
    Police found no weapon traced to Johansen. But that, in their judgment, did not mean the first two officers to open fire acted inappropriately -- in fact all the other three officers at the scene acted legally and within BPD protocol, according to prosecutors.
    If he is convicted, the first-degree assault count could carry a 25-year maximum sentence and using a handgun in a crime of violence could lead to a 20-year prison term.