Just before 5 p.m. Thursday, the jurors considering whether Carlos Antonio Riley is guilty of shooting a Durham police officer during a traffic stop three years ago, said they were ready to go home.
The request came after they deliberated about two hours Wednesday and six Thursday.
Around 2:30 p.m., jurors asked Superior Court Judge James Roberson if they could review a transcript of the testimony of Durham Officer Kelly Stewart, whom Riley is charged with shooting during a Dec. 18, 2012, traffic stop.
Roberson denied the request. Outside the presence of the jury, he ruled it would be a cumbersome process to have the court reporter transcribe the testimony of the investigator that extended over two days and ensure that it is accurate.
Riley, 24, is charged with careless and reckless driving, assault on a law enforcement officer inflicting serious injury, robbery with a firearm and two counts of assault with a firearm on a law enforcement officer.
Roberson told the jury of 10 men and two women it could also consider lesser charges if jurors don’t think prosecutors met the burden of proving robbery with a firearm.
Prosecutors contend Riley escalated the traffic stop by appearing nervous and then attempting to drive off. Stewart then jumped into the car Riley was driving. During a struggle, Stewart lost his badge, handcuffs and gun, which Riley used to shoot him in his right thigh, Stewart testified last week. Then Riley threw him out of the car and took his personal cell phone, Stewart said.
The defense maintains that Riley was pulled over because he was black and that Stewart, who is also black, didn’t follow proper police procedure, attempted to execute an illegal search and pulled the trigger during a struggle.
Some members of the Durham community said the case was an example of racial profiling, police abuse and illegal searches in calls for the city to investigate police bias in 2013 and 2014.
Riley, who is being held at the Durham County jail as a federal prisoner, pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by a felon and was sentenced to 10 years in February 2014.
While the jury was deliberating, a hearing was held on an unresolved subpoena for Durham Police Chief Jose Lopez. Defense attorney Alex Charns had subpoenaed Lopez to appear in court Monday morning, asking him to bring records relating to Stewart’s training and warning tickets.
All the evidence had been presented, but Charns said he wanted the records in case there is an appeal.
When Lopez didn’t appear Monday morning, Charns contended the chief may be avoiding the subpoena since the defense attorney has represented clients who had sued the police department.
On Thursday, Toni Smith, a senior assistant attorney for the city, explained that Lopez was out of the country on vacation and didn’t return to the office until Monday morning. By that time, the start time of the subpoena had expired.
Smith successfully argued that Charns’ request for training records was overly broad and the city isn’t required to produce personnel files. She also said that the city doesn’t keep a record of warning tickets.