Carlos Riley Jr. was alone, black and unarmed when he was pulled over by a Durham, North Carolina police officer on the cold morning of December 18, 2012. In the altercation that followed the stop, Riley was badly beaten, the officer was shot in the leg and his gun went missing. More than seven months later, Carlos Riley Jr. sits in jail under $1 million bond, still waiting to face federal and state charges. He has spent Christmas, the New Year and most recently his twenty-second birthday behind bars. The cop who pulled his gun during the traffic stop hasn’t spent a day off the job...
At around ten in the morning on December 18, 2012, Carlos Riley Jr. was stopped for an alleged traffic violation by officer Kelly Stewart, who was wearing civilian clothes and driving an unmarked car. Riley maintains that the officer grabbed him through his open window after demanding to see registration, putting him in a chokehold and threatening to kill him. Riley says Stewart then shot himself in the leg as he drew his gun, an event with plenty of precedent among such encounters. Fearing for his life, Riley says he pulled the gun away from the officer and fled, tossing the weapon and turning himself over to the authorities within hours.
The Durham Police Department disputes this version of events. The federal District Attorney accuses Riley of muscling the gun from Stewart, firing it at him and then stealing it, charging him as a felon in possession of a gun. Despite originally alleging Riley also stole Stewart’s handcuffs and badge, those items, as well as the gun’s holster, were eventually discovered by police investigators, strengthening Riley’s insistence that he discarded everything in the area.
“It makes it an easier charge if the gun is missing,” notes Walter Riley, Carlos Riley Jr.’s great uncle and an attorney working with the Durham NAACP to file civil police misconduct charges on Riley Jr.’s behalf. “I don’t know how many drop gun cases Durham has had to deal with,” he says, referring to the practice of police officers conspiring to tamper with gun evidence to absolve themselves of illegal shootings. “But the big cities do all the time.” In his assessment, “There are only two possibilities for the gun. Either Carlos knows where it is, or someone found it, either the police department or a civilian.” Walter Riley’s experience as a Bay Area litigator leads him to suspect it’s the latter. Even if the gun wasn’t disappeared by police, he points out, “It’s a nice piece of equipment. It has resale value.”
He has reason to question the police’s version of events. In the United States, police, security guards or armed vigilantes kill one black person every 28 hours... Durham County in particular has earned a reputation for being one of North Carolina’s most racist. Incarcerating its black population at nine times the rate for whites, Durham’s is the highest racial disparity among the state’s 100 counties. On a daily basis, black residents are 162 percent more likely than whites to be searched in stops for the same crime.
More info at carlosrileyjr.weebly.com. From that page:
I am an attorney and brother to Carlos Riley, Jr.'s grandmother. I have the statement of the officer.
The officer stated he saw Carlos's car parked on the roadside. He did not know Carlos nor had any prior contact with him. Another person was talking to Carlos through the passenger side. The officer stopped his unmarked car behind Carlos. (He did not give any justification for his conduct) Carlos drove away. The officer stated Carlos sped off. The officer turned on his lights and Carlos stopped right away in a parking lot. Carlos provided ID. The officer stated the reason for the stop was for a traffic violation because Carlos drove off at excessive speed, no other reason. While Carlos attempted to get his registration the officer grabbed Carlos through the open drivers' door, Carlos' foot slipped from the clutch or brake and the car rolled forward. The officer entered the car and tried to cuff Carlos. He was behind Carlos. He lost his badge and cuffs in the car at that time.
(In taking the statement the investigating officer did everything to protect the officer and failed to correctly get specifics and details of the incident.)
From the discovery documents, Carlos had a busted lip and evidence of being hit about the face and head. Carlos slipped from the illegal choke hold.
According to the statement, Carlos was outside the vehicle when the officer said I am going to shoot and pulled his gun. After the shot went off, the officer stated Carlos took hold of the gun, released the magazine and ejected the bullet in the chamber while the officer still held the gun.
The officer then stated that Carlos said, I can't believe you tried to shoot me.
Carlos helped the officer out of the car, placed him on the ground and left the scene. He surrendered later.
Evidence supports the above.
Had Carlos stayed on the scene he likely would have been killed by responding police. Had he left the gun with the officer he likely would have been shot by the officer. In any case, he surrendered.
Now he is charged with attacking a police officer, robbery of the gun, badge and handcuffs and facing 10 years on federal charges of felon in possession of a gun, the police officers gun he threw away. The federal charges are piled on because the local charges are weak.
Attorney at Law