A second grand jury in Pima County, Arizona, has decided not to recommend charges of manslaughter against a former Tucson cop who shot a wheelchair-bound suspect nine times in a mall parking lot, killing him.
Ryan Remington, 32, shot Richard Lee Richards, 61, in the parking lot of a mall in the city while off duty. Richards pulled a knife on a Walmart employee as he was leaving the store with a stolen tool box on November 30, 2021.
Richards was headed to a Lowe’s across the parking lot when Remington, who was working security for Walmart at the time, ordered Richards to drop the knife and not to enter another store.
The suspect ignored the officer before Remington opened fire, causing Richards to fall out of his scooter and die.
The Pima County Superior Court jury on Wednesday came back with a no bill vote on charging Remington. Despite the grand jury’s decision, the state could still opt to bring charges.
Former Tucson Police Officer Ryan Remington, 32, was indicted on manslaughter charges for shooting a wheelchair-bound man accused of shoplifting in 2021 outside a Lowe’s
Richard Lee-Richards has been confined to a wheelchair since getting hip surgery while in prison, his sister Victoria Richards said last year
Defense attorneys alleged state prosecutors presented misleading statements to the first grand jury. Pima County Superior Court Judge Danelle Liwski agreed but believed they did not do it deliberately.
Liwski last month granted the defense request to remand the case to a grand jury again.
In a statement, Pima County Attorney Laura Conover said ‘victim notification is our focus and top priority at this time, as the matter continues under our review.’
Remington was fired in January 2022 for what police determined was excessive use of force.
A civil rights lawsuit filed by Richards’ family against Remington and the City of Tucson remains tied up in federal court.
During the theft, Richards allegedly flashed a knife at the store employee who asked for a receipt for the product.
‘Here’s your receipt,’ Richard reportedly told the clerk, showing the weapon.
‘He’s got a knife in his other hand,’ someone can be heard on the bodycam video as Richards wheels up to the entrance of the big box store.
Seconds later Remington can be seen unloading his weapon on the shoplifter.
Remington catches up with Richards in the parking lot and asked him to turn over the knife, which he refused
Remington (left, back turned) told Richards: ‘Do not go into the store, sir,’ but began firing when Richards did not stop
After the shooting, Richards slumped out of his chair where an unidentified on-duty police officer handcuffed Richards while Remington and another officer Stephanie Taylor grabbed medical supplies
During the theft, Richards allegedly flashed a knife at the store employee who asked for a receipt for the product. ‘Here’s your receipt,’ Richard reportedly told the clerk, showing the weapon
Richards has been confined to a wheelchair since getting hip surgery while in prison. His sister Victoria Richards told KGUN. She said that her brother had battled drug addiction and been in prison most of his life.
He volunteered to help fight forest fires while serving a sentence and fell off a cliff, hitting his head.
‘He came out with severe brain damage. He came to live with me and I taught him how to drive, how to count money. Everything came back pretty quickly but it was like having a child again,’ she told the TV news channel in 2021.
She and her brother had an argument and she dropped him off at a Salvation Army center a couple of years before the shooting.
Office Ryan Remington (pictured holding a gun) was fired from the Tucson Police Department (TPD) in January 2022 for use of excessive force
Richards (left, in wheelchair) was shot ‘in the back and side,’ his family has filed a lawsuit against Remington
Rick Resch, a lawyer for Richards family, said in August that they were relieved that the officer will finally stand trial.
‘It has been a long and difficult past nine months for Mr. Richards’s family, but they are relieved that former Officer Ryan Remington has been indicted and will face the prospect of justice for the shooting and killing of Mr. Richards,’ Resch said in a statement.
In Arizona, manslaughter, a class two felony that carries a minimum seven years in prison, is defined as ‘recklessly causing the death of another person.’
Remington did not testify before the grand jury to present any self-defense arguments.
‘Manslaughter doesn’t even fit,’ Remington’s lawyer Mike Storie told KVOA. ‘I don’t want to get into legal arguments but it’s a legal fiction. So I’ll be very interested to read the grand jury transcript and find out what went on in that room when I was not present.’
Storie has said in the past that his client ‘had no non-lethal options.’
‘He did have a taser, but in his mind, he couldn’t use it because he didn’t feel he had the proper spread to deploy it, with the wheelchair between him and Richards,’ the lawyer said.
Tucson Mayor Regina Romero lauded the charges against the former cop in August.
‘Now that the Grand Jury has issued an indictment and Ryan Remington will face criminal charges, it is a matter for the courts to adjudicate,’ she tweeted.
After an internal investigation following the shooting, Remington, a four-year veteran of the department, was canned by then-police Chief Chris Magnus.
The chief said he was ‘deeply disturbed and troubled’ by the ex-cop’s response. ‘His use of deadly force in this incident is a clear violation of department policy and directly contradicts multiple aspects of our use of force and training,’ Magnus said.