BALTIMORE, Aug. 5 (UPI) — A jury convicted Baltimore police Officer Wesley Cagle of two charges and acquitted him of two more serious charges in the shooting of an unarmed man.
Cagle, 46, was found guilty Thursday of first-degree assault and a handgun charge, which could lead to five years imprisonment when he is sentenced Nov. 18. He was acquitted of attempted first- and second-degree murder charges in the 2014 shooting of unarmed suspect Michael Johansen.
Johansen had been previously shot and was in police custody after an attempted robbery of a convenience store. Prosecutors said Cagle shot Johansen in the groin after he was shot by two other police officers, and in closing statements said Cagle later bragged about his actions to other police officers.
Johansen, 47, testified in the trial that he was a heroin addict intent on visiting the store to “get some money. After the trial, jury foreman, Jerome Harper, said, “There was no need for [Cagle] to take that final shot.”
The two other officers who shot Johansen, Isiah Smith and Kevin Leary, were cleared of any crimes in the incident and testified for the prosecution.
The firearms charge, use of a handgun in a crime of violence, carries a mandatory five-year sentence. The assault conviction has a sentence of up to 25 years.
Cagle, a 15-year veteran of Baltimore’s police force, was suspended without pay after the shooting. A statement by police, issued after the verdict said immediate action would be taken to terminate his employment.
“Wesley Cagle was found guilty of a felony crime today. This case is an example of our absolute capacity to hold police officers accountable and serves as a reminder to our community that police officers in Baltimore are willing to step up when they see something they know is wrong,” the statement added.
Earlier this year three Baltimore police officers were acquitted in charges related to the death of Freddie Gray, 25, who died while in police custody in 2015. Charges against three other police officers were dropped.