Norfolk Police Officer had History of Using Excessive Force Before Killing Mentally Ill Man

The Norfolk Police Department in Virginia “recklessly failed” to control an officer who had 11 excessive force reports in 14 months before he killed a mentally ill man armed with a knife, the dead man’s relatives said in their wrongful-death lawsuit.

Michael Edington Jr. had a “substantial history” of using excessive force on people in his nearly three years with the police department, including two in the week and a half before he shot dead 35-year-old David Latham, who had a history of mental illness, according to the suit.

Latham’s relatives are suing Edington and the city for $25 million. A jury last year found Edington not guilty of manslaughter in the case.

Edington’s lawyer, Brian Casey, said the reports don’t describe excessive force, although he wouldn’t talk about what was in them, but, he said, no citizen ever complained about him using too much force.

“Edington had zero police brutality complaints before the Latham shooting,” Casey said in an email.

After the trial, Edington said he wanted to keep working as a Norfolk police officer. He’s still on administrative duty, assigned to the department’s central records division, police spokeswoman Cpl. Melinda Wray said.

Wray wouldn’t answer questions about the reports or the Lathams’ accusation the department didn’t properly train Edington. She referred the question to the City Attorney’s Office because it was the subject of a lawsuit.

Deputy City Attorney Michael Beverly, the city’s head lawyer in defending the suit, didn’t respond to a phone message and email.

Audrey Latham, David’s mother, called police to her home on June 6, 2014, after her son, who had a long history of mental illness, grabbed a knife during a fight with his brother.

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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 3206 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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