Ryan Remington case in legal limbo as Pima County Attorney weighs options
TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Ex-Tucson police officer Ryan Remington remains in legal limbo after a second grand jury did not indict him.
But he could still face charges in the case that stirred up outrage and led to his firing more than a year ago.
Remington was originally charged with shooting Richard Lee Richards.
Investigators say Richards was accused of stealing a toolbox from a Walmart on the south side and pulling a knife on an employee when workers approached him.
Body camera video from November 2021 that showed Remington opening fire on Richards, who was riding a mobility scooter.
Remington had been working off-duty as a security guard.
He was indicted on manslaughter back in August.
But a judge sent the case back to the grand jury last month, after Remington’s attorneys argued the first grand jury didn’t hear some important information.
So what happens now? Is the criminal case done?
Pima County Attorney Laura Conover now has to decide the next step: Whether to continue the case or declare that it’s the end of the road.
13 News reached out to Conover for an interview and she sent this statement:
“The Remington matter remains open and ongoing, and we are considering all available legal options. That said, it is therefore an ongoing case, and ethical rules 3.6 and 3.8 prevent me from sharing facts or legal strategies with the public.”
13 News asked Criminal Defense Attorney Lois Fidel to weigh in on the possible legal strategies.
One of the options includes presenting case to a third Grand Jury.
“That would be highly unusual. In the vast, vast majority of cases, that’s the end of the road.” Fidel said.
If Conover choose to open that door and present to Grand Jury number 3, Fidel says various factors could go into that decision.
“I would imagine that there would be some analysis of what got presented, and in this particular case, some discussion about any questions the grand jury had during the presentation,” Fidel explained.
13 News asked Fidel why a prosecuting attorney would want to bring a case back?
“The one thing that jumps out would be if there was some new evidence that was discovered or some evidence that for whatever reason had not been presented during that second presentation, whether the prosecutor felt it was necessary to do it again,” he said.
Another legal option would be having a preliminary hearing, much like a mini trial, that’s open to the public.
“Rather than a grand jury making the decision, it’s a judge who sits and listens to the evidence and decides if criminal charges are appropriate,” Fidel said.
13 News also reached out to Tucson Police Chief Chad Kasmar for his response to the grand jury’s decision not to indict.
“Laura (Conover) still has options so I won’t comment,” he said.
13 News also reached out to the sister of Richards, Victoria Richards, who sent this statement:
“I am beyond disappointed. I don’t know how any sane person can watch that video and not think that was excessive force. What has our society become that it’s okay for police officers to gun down mentally and physically disabled people in motorized scooters. I have zero faith in the justice system at this point. It failed my brother several times and for him to die this way without justice, it’s adding insult to injury. I will continue to fight for my brother in whatever capacity I can. I realize I have no control over the criminal prosecution part of this case, but that doesn’t make it any easier.”
No matter what happens in the criminal investigation, Ryan Remington is facing a civil lawsuit from Richard Lee Richards’ family, which calls the shooting excessive and unjustifiable.
We’ll continue to stay on top of all the developments in this case.
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