Of­fi­cer Ca­gle gets 12 years

Jury con­victed him of shoot­ing un­armed sus­pect in the groin

Baltimore Sun - - FRONT PAGE - By Jes­sica An­der­son

A judge sen­tenced a Baltimore po­lice of­fi­cer Fri­day to 12 years in pri­son for shoot­ing an un­armed bur­glary sus­pect, cit­ing ir­repara­ble harm to the vic­tim and the com­mu­nity’s trust in po­lice.

Cir­cuit Judge Wanda Keyes Heard said Wesley Ca­gle, 47, com­mit­ted “an egre­gious vi­o­la­tion” and failed to “serve and pro­tect” when he shot Michael Jo­hansen in De­cem­ber 2014.

Ca­gle, a 15-year-vet­eran of the force, was con­victed in Au­gust of first-de­gree as­sault and a hand­gun charge for shoot­ing Jo­hansen in the groin as he lay in the door­way of an East Baltimore cor­ner store af­ter two other of­fi­cers had al­ready shot him.

Jo­hansen tes­ti­fied that Ca­gle stood over him and called him a “piece of [ex­ple­tive]” be­fore shoot­ing him.

Heard spoke of the com­ment dur­ing the sen­tenc­ing, de­scrib­ing how Ca­gle did not re­fer to Jo­hansen as a cit­i­zen as he lay on the ground, but “some­thing that might be stuck on a per­son’s shoe.”

She also pointed out that Jo­hansen lost a large stretch of his in­testines and part of his kid­ney as a re­sult of the shoot­ing.

Heard sen­tenced Ca­gle to 12 years for the first-de­gree as­sault charge and the five-year Wesley Ca­gle

“I need him, we need him to be home with us.”

min­i­mum sen­tence for the hand­gun charge, which does not al­low pa­role. The sen­tences are to run con­cur­rently. Ca­gle was ter­mi­nated by the depart­ment Fri­day, a po­lice spokesman said.

Sev­eral of Ca­gle’s fam­ily mem­bers cried as the sen­tence was an­nounced. His wife, Ja­ca­lyn Ca­gle, stared at the ceil­ing while an­other woman com­forted her. One of her sons leaned against her and wept.

Ca­gle spoke briefly be­fore re­ceiv­ing his sen­tence, ask­ing to re­turn home.

“I will do any­thing to stay home with my fam­ily,” he said.

Ca­gle’s wife, son and boss at a land­scap­ing com­pany where he has worked for the past sev­eral months spoke on his be­half at the hear­ing, ask­ing that he be spared any pri­son time.

Ja­ca­lyn Ca­gle spoke of how he was a lov­ing hus­band and fa­ther to their 8-yearold child, as well as her two chil­dren from a pre­vi­ous mar­riage.

She pleaded with the judge to al­low him to re­turn home to his fam­ily, de­scrib­ing how she would strug­gle to raise their chil­dren alone.

“I need him, we need him to be home with us,” she said, wip­ing away tears.

As she left the wit­ness stand to re­turn to her seat in the court­room gallery, she gen­tly rubbed her hus­band’s fore­head.

Ca­gle’s old­est son, David, spoke about how his fa­ther reg­u­larly coached youth sports, in­clud­ing his soc­cer and bas­ket­ball teams.

The 23-year-old said he re­cently helped his fa­ther with coach­ing and re­called how ex­cited the kids would get at prac­tices.

David Ca­gle also re­called ride-alongs in his fa­ther’s po­lice cruiser, and how peo­ple in the neigh­bor­hood he pa­trolled would come up to the car to speak to his fa­ther about things like sports.

He fought back tears, paus­ing at times, as he read his state­ment.

His fa­ther also wept, at one point re­mov­ing his glasses to dry his face with tis­sues.

Ca­gle’s at­tor­neys, Chaz Ball and Joe Murtha, had asked the judge to give Ca­gle pro­ba­tion be­fore judg­ment. But Heard said she was bound by the law to give the min­i­mum five-year sen­tence for the hand­gun charge.

Dur­ing the hear­ing, Ball said pri­son would be es­pe­cially dif­fi­cult for Ca­gle be­cause he is a po­lice of­fi­cer. He would ei­ther be held in soli­tary con­fine­ment for his pro­tec­tion, or his safety would be at risk if he was placed in the gen­eral pop­u­la­tion, he said.

He said Ca­gle had al­ready lost a ca­reer he loved, a job to sup­port his fam­ily, and his

Ja­ca­lyn Ca­gle, of­fi­cer’s wife, plead­ing for le­niency


Ca­gle earned $76,021.76 in 2015, ac­cord­ing to a city data­base.

Ca­gle was one of sev­eral of­fi­cers who were called to a cor­ner store in the 3000 block of E. Mon­u­ment St. the morn­ing of Dec. 28, 2014.

Jo­hansen tes­ti­fied dur­ing the trial that he has long been ad­dicted to heroin and planned to rob the store.

Two of­fi­cers — Isiah Smith and Keven Leary — con­fronted Jo­hansen and told him to show his hands, pros­e­cu­tors said. When he didn’t com­ply and in­stead reached to­ward his waist, they fired at him.

Jo­hansen fell to the floor, his body par­tially in­side of the store and his feet on the steps out­side.

Ca­gle tes­ti­fied that he shot at Jo­hansen be­cause he saw a shiny ob­ject that could have been a weapon.

But ju­rors told The Baltimore Sun af­ter the ver­dict that they did not be­lieve Ca­gle.

“There was no need for him to take that fi­nal shot,” jury foreman Jerome Harper, 64, said af­ter the trial.

Ju­rors ac­quit­ted Ca­gle of the most se­ri­ous charges of at­tempted first- and sec­ond-de­gree mur­der.

Smith and Leary were cleared in the shoot­ing. The two of­fi­cers tes­ti­fied against him.

State’s At­tor­ney Mar­i­lyn J. Mosby praised Smith and Leary for their tes­ti­mony.

“If it weren’t for his col­leagues who broke the blue code of silence, we would not have been here right now to­day,” she told re­porters out­side the court­house fol­low­ing the sen­tenc­ing.

“Jus­tice was served. He is now go­ing to pri­son for 12 years. He abused the power, the trust, and the author­ity of that badge, and that’s un­ac­cept­able.”

Jo­hansen did not at­tend the sen­tenc­ing. He told The Baltimore Sun in 2015 that he did not want Ca­gle to go to pri­son.

“It’ll prob­a­bly mess with me a lit­tle bit if this man goes to pri­son be­cause of me,” he said in the in­ter­view.

Ca­gle was the first Baltimore of­fi­cer to be charged in an on-duty shoot­ing since 2008, when ju­rors ac­quit­ted Tommy San­ders III of man­slaugh­ter for the fa­tal shoot­ing of an un­armed man.

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