A Baltimore police officer has been arrested in the December 2014 shooting of a burglary suspect, the state’s attorney’s office announced Wednesday.
Wesley Cagle, 45, was charged with attempted first-degree murder in the December 28 shooting of 46-year-old Michael Johansen, who suffered critical injuries, State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby and Interim Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said in a joint press release. Both Cagle and Johansen are white.
He was also charged with attempted second-degree murder, first-degree assault, second-degree assault and use of a handgun in a crime of violence. He faces up to life in prison. Cagle has turned himself in to be booked on the charges.
His bail was set at $1 million.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Victim Had Already Been Shot by 2 Officers
Before he was shot by Cagle, Johansen had already been shot by two officers, who were not charged, after refusing to obey their commands. Police said he had a “shiny object” that they thought might be a weapon, according to WBAL-TV.
Johansen had been suspected of a burglary at a grocery store, and had exited into an alley when he encountered the other two officers, Isaih Smith and Keven Leary.
The shooting happened at about 4:35 a.m. near the 3000 block of East Monument Street, police said.
Johansen was not armed.
2. He Called Johansen a ‘Piece of S**t & Shot Him in the Groin, the State’s Attorney Says
Cagle shot Johansen in the groin while standing over him after he had already been shot by the other officers, police and the state’s attorney said.
According to the press release, Johansen was on the ground and the two other officers “continued to cover him with their guns drawn,” when Cagle came out of the alley in the rear of the store, “walked in front of the other officers, and approached (Johansen) with his gun drawn. According to eyewitnesses, the suspect was no longer considered a potential threat when Officer Cagle then took aim and fired his .40 caliber departmental issued firearm one time striking the burglary suspect in the groin area.”
State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby said Johansen asked Cagle, who was standing over him, “‘What did you shoot me with? A bean bag?'” and Cagle replied, “‘No, a .40-caliber, you piece of s**t.'”
“I take this oath seriously, and I want the public to know that my administration is committed to creating a fair and equitable justice system for all— no matter your occupation, your age, your race, your color, or your creed,” Mosby said in a statement. “It is my job to examine and investigate the evidence of each case and apply those facts to the elements of a crime in order to make a determination as to whether individuals should be prosecuted.”
You can listen to the full press conference here:
3. Johansen Said He Is ‘Happy’ & Wants Cagle ‘Held Accountable for What He Did’
Michael Johansen is man officer Wesley Cagle is accused of wrongly shooting. Says he was shocked to learn of charges pic.twitter.com/Ybzk9KT6hn
— Shelley Orman (@ShelleyOFox45) August 20, 2015
After the shooting, Johansen was taken to the hospital and underwent surgery. He was in critical, but stable condition after the surgery.
Johansen spoke to a reporter from Fox 45 and said he was shocked to learn about the charges.
“I really didn’t think anything was going to be done about it,” Johansen said. “I’m just happy that they’re doing something about it.”
But Johansen while he wants Cagle held accountable, he’s not sure about prison time.
“I really don’t want to see somebody going to jail for the rest of their life, or a long time,” Johansen said.
According to court records, Johansen is facing charges of second-degree burglary, fourth-degree burglary, theft (less than $1,000 value) and malicious destruction of property (less than $1,000 value). He was released from custody on $20,000 bail, and his next court date is September 9.
4. Cagle Is a 14-Year Veteran of the Department
Cagle, a married father whose Facebook page is filled with photos of him as a baseball coach, is a 14-year veteran of the Baltimore Police Department. He was suspended without pay after the charges were filed, the department said in a press release.
“Today’s serious criminal charges against a Baltimore Police Officer happened because our internal investigations worked. When we establish evidence that a police officer commits a crime, our hand in glove relationship with the State’s Attorney Office will ensure justice prevails,” said Interim Commissioner Kevin Davis in a statement. “The hardworking men and women of the Baltimore Police Department expect public safety leadership to ensure those who put on this patch and wear this badge represent the values of our organization and community.”
Police spokesman Jeremy Silbert told ABC 2 News that Cagle had been assigned to Eastern District patrol:
Cagle was placed on routine administrative leave following the incident in December of 2014. In early January, Cagle’s police powers were suspended. On August 19, 2015, Cagle was charged criminally and suspended without pay from the Baltimore Police Department.
According to the Baltimore Sun, Cagle was among a group of officers sued in 2004. The lawsuit was settled, but details were not immediately available.
Cagle filed for bankruptcy in March 2014, according to federal court documents.
5. He Is the First Officer Charged for an On-Duty Shooting in Baltimore Since 2008
According to the Baltimore Sun, Cagle is the first city officer charged in the shooting since 2008, when Officer Tommy Sanders was charged with manslaughter. He was later acquitted.
Six officers were charged in in May in the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, who suffered traumatic injuries while in a police transport van.