Judge sends ex TPD officer’s manslaughter indictment back to grand jury after indictment

(Tucson Police Department)
Published: Dec. 2, 2022 at 3:29 PM MST|Updated: Dec. 2, 2022 at 3:32 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - A judge granted requests by the defense attorneys former Tucson police officer indicted on a manslaughter charge, who asked that the indictment be overturned and that evidence in the case be presented in a second grand jury hearing.

Former officer Ryan Remington was indicted on a manslaughter charge in August after he shot 61-year-old Richard Lee Richards, who was in a mobility scooter, nine times.

Mike Storie, the attorney of former officer Ryan Remington, argued at a hearing on Friday, Dec. 2 that prosecutors had made misleading and false statements to the original grand jury, including statements on whether the victim could stand up or not. Storie also asserted that prosecutors downplayed the fact that Richards had committed a robbery shortly before he was shot.

Authorities said Remington had been working security detail at the Walmart on near Midvale Park and West Valencia Road on Nov. 29, 2021, when an employee informed him that Richards had stolen a toolbox from the store.

When the employee approached Richards, he reportedly pulled a knife on them and kept moving. Remington followed Richards across the street to the Garden Center of a nearby Lowe’s Home Improvement store.

Video of the incident shows Remington ordering Richards to not enter the store as Richards keeps moving towards the entrance. Remington is then shown shooting Richards nine times, knocking him out of his scooter.

During the August grand jury hearing, prosecutors argued that Remington could still be guilty of manslaughter, even if he followed the training and protocols provided by the Tucson Police Department, as some law enforcement agencies’ policies could be unlawful.

Storie argued Friday that the statement made by prosecutors was inaccurate, irresponsible and misled the grand jury.

Prosecutors argued that it was fair to tell the grand jury that a law enforcement agency’s policies may not follow the law.

One prosecutor contended that Richards never actually committed an aggravated assault, but the presiding judge in the hearing on Friday noted that Richards did pull a knife on an employee who was at a close enough distance to be hurt and made a statement that he would have to be shot before putting the knife down.

Ultimately, the judge said, the factors of aggravated assault on Richards part exist in the case.

The judge went on to point out concerns about Richards’ mobility, stating her belief that prosecutors statements to the grand jury were not accurate, to which prosecutors argued that no one knew about Richards’ mobility at the time of the shooting.

The state also emphasized their expert’s report but minimized the report of the defense expert, the judge said.

Prosecutors argued the original grand jury heard the correct facts, heard from experts and saw video of the shooting, giving the jury the correct picture of what happened before they issued the indictment. They argued against sending the case back for another grand jury hearing.

Storie countered that every officer in Remington’s situation is going to act as if the suspect is mobile.

The judge ultimately remanded the case to the grand jury due to what she believes were misleading statements by prosecutors. She said she did not believe it was the state’s intention to mislead the grand jury.

Remington is scheduled to appear in court next for a status conference hearing on Jan. 6.