Defense attorney analyzes NSU student arrest case

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – A Norfolk defense attorney is weighing in on the arrest of a Norfolk State University Student who was attacked by a police K-9.

“I was surprised,” attorney S. W. Dawson said of Norfolk Police Chief Michael Goldsmith taking responsibility and admitting his officers used unreasonable force in the arrest of London Colvin.

“If he is in any way trying to deflect liability on behalf of the officer on the grounds on the policy is flawed, I don’t think that’s legitimate,” Dawson said.

Thursday, Chief Goldsmith said the current policy failed his officers and he plans to change it. 10 On Your Side examined the current policy. It’s a 6-page document last signed and dated in May 2012.

Document: NPD policy on K-9 Patrol and Explosive Detector Dogs compared the Norfolk K-9 policy to the ones in Newport News (issued September 2006) and Portsmouth (effective April 2012). Both Newport News and Portsmouth have a detailed policy.

In Newport News, the policy outlines specifically what should happen in the event of a canine bite. It explains that the canine handler should render first aid. Portsmouth’s policy, also details the specific qualifications required to be a k-9 handler.

Of the three policies, 10 On Your Side noticed all explained in what cases a K-9 should be used.

Dawson has handled cases like this in the past. Although not Colvin’s attorney, he said the charges against her should be withdrawn.

“There have been plenty of incidents in the news recently, and I think the public is waking up to the fact this happens more than it should, and there is only one way to take care of these things, is by making them known and taking care of them in court,” Dawson said.

Colvin is facing a misdemeanor resisting arrest and disorderly conduct charge. Dawson said, if convicted, she could get anything from probation to two years in jail.

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