Officer will not face criminal charges in New Hope police-involved shooting


NEW HOPE, Pa. - The man shot in a police holding cell in Bucks County is suing the officer who fired the shot.

Brian Riling says the officer, who has since retired, was in violation of Riling's constitutional rights when he "unreasonably" used deadly force inside the New Hope police station, according to the suit.

The lawsuit says the officer was carrying his Taser on the dominant side of his body, the same side on which he carried his firearm, which was against New Hope police policy. Officers are supposed to carry their Tasers on their non-dominant side, opposite of their guns, the suit says.

The lawsuit also claims that at the time of the shooting, many of the officers, including the one who shot Riling and the New Hope police chief, had not been certified in Taser usage since at least 2016, when certification is supposed to be renewed yearly.

Riling says he was outnumbered by officers and they knew he was unarmed, since he had been searched multiple times before being placed in the holding cell.

The suit says Riling has and continues to suffer physical and psychological harm, including limited activities and financial losses.

The incident took place back in March 2019. Riling was in the holding cell after being arrested and charged in an assault. Video shows Riling removing his belt at the direction of an officer, when a white, rectangular object falls out of his waistband. The object looks like a drug baggie, officials had said.

Riling tries to grab the object, then a struggle ensues, and a second officer enters yelling "Taser!" then shoots Riling in the abdomen, the video showed.

The Bucks County district attorney's office ruled in April 2019 that the shooting was not justified, but excused, because of the officer's "honest but mistaken" believe that he was deploying his Taser at the time he discharged his service weapon.

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