Bucks County, PA — Cpl. Matt Zimmerman, who pulled his gun and shot an unarmed man inside a jail cell in 2019 was allowed to retire and was never charged with a crime — exactly unlike the case of Kim Potter. This decision by the District Attorney is in spite of the fact that the shooting was captured on video and the officer broke multiple department policies.
Now, nearly three years after the incident, we have learned that the taxpayers will be held accountable instead, to the tune of $750,000.
Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub announced in 2019 that Zimmerman was going to be free from criminal prosecution for shooting Brian Riling, 38, in the abdomen on March 3, 2019. He called the shooting, which left Riling in critical condition, “not justified, but excused.”
During their “investigation” into the shooting, authorities found multiple violations of policy that led to the unarmed man nearly being executed. According to Weintraub, Zimmerman had violated the department’s taser policy by failing to go to training. Weintraub also told reporters that the New Hope officer who shot Riling in the abdomen wore his taser on the wrong side—another department policy violation.
The reason the taser violations are important is due to the fact that the officer says he “accidentally” pulled his pistol instead of his taser which led to the near fatal shooting.
“This violation of policy, however, does not constitute a violation of law,” Weintraub wrote.
The policy violation did not constitute a violation of the law, so for shooting the unarmed man, Zimmerman walked free.
Riling is not exactly an upstanding citizen. He was in jail that day for intimidating his ex-girlfriend, stalking her, and threatening to hurt her if she didn’t lie to police. However, things turned south with officers saw a small white “drug baggie” fall to the ground as Riling was getting undressed. When they tried to grab it, all hell broke loose, Zimmerman shot Riling in the stomach and as we predicted at the time, the taxpayers will shell out hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay for the officer’s negligence.
As the video shows, a taser was certainly warranted at the time of the shooting as Riling was resisting officers and trying to flush the baggie down the toilet. After the shot is fired, we can hear the toilet flush, showing that he was successful.
Riling then doubles over in agony from the gunshot to the gut. Zimmerman’s partner was nearly shot in the process as well and jumps out of the way, clearly in a state of shock.
Then, for nearly eight minutes, Riling lies on the floor in agony, telling police he is “dying” and as he begs them for help. He receives none.
Despite the gross negligence leading to the shooting of an unarmed man, authorities went out of their way to praise Zimmerman, who quietly retired days before the decision was made not to charge him.
“What I can say, to be fair, is the numbers of letters of support over his lengthy career far outweighed the very minor infractions he may have had in his historical past,” Weintraub told WPVI. He refused to then elaborate on what these “very minor infractions” actually entailed.
The New Hope Police Department released a statement, saying, “The Department thanks District Attorney Weintraub and the members of his office for their thorough investigation and report. The Police Department has no further information to release, and no further comment on this matter.”
In other words, “we investigated ourselves and found we did nothing wrong.”
WARNING: The video below is graphic in nature and may be disturbing to some viewers.