Sentencing delayed for convicted cop after courtroom outburst

UPPER MARLBORO, Md. – A former police officer screamed obscenities and lunged at prosecutors during a sentencing hearing Tuesday and the courtroom erupted into chaos.

Former District Heights officer Johnnie Riley, 44, exploded from his seat, dashed past his public defender Allen Wolf, and raced towards the prosecutor’s table. Assistant State’s Attorney Jason Knight had been addressing the court when Riley raced towards him. Fellow prosecutor Rene Joy, who is in the late stages of pregnancy, scrambled over a 3-foot barrier that separates the spectators from the prosecutor’s table.

Several court officers were needed to take down Riley.

The outburst resulted in a court recess. When Prince George’s County Circuit Court Judge Hassan El-Amin brought both sides back to court, he delayed Riley’s sentencing until Oct. 15 and revoked Riley’s $100,000 bond. On top of the 45 years behind bars Riley already faces, he could also be charged with contempt of court.

Deputy State’s Attorney Tara Jackson says it’s not all that unusual for a defendant to act out in court. “What is most shocking in this case is that the defendant was a police officer and he could not control himself.”

During a trial earlier this summer, Riley was convicted of assault, use of a firearm in the commission of a crime and misconduct in office for the 2012 shooting of 28-year-old Kalvin Kyle.

Kyle was a suspect arrested in connection with a stolen motorcycle in September 2012. After being handcuffed, the unarmed Kyle ran from Riley and was shot in the back. Prosecutors say Kyle was left paralyzed from the waist down as a result of the shooting.

Related Stories:

WTOP’s Kate Ryan contributed to this report. Follow @kateryanWTOP and @WTOP on Twitter.

Federal News Network Logo

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up