Friends, attorneys weigh in on London Colvin case

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Friday night, many weighed in on the case involving Norfolk State University student London Colvin.

Colvin was attacked by a Norfolk police K-9 as she was leaving a house party early Sunday morning. Police were originally called to the area for a fight. A witness told WAVY.com officers tried questioning Colvin, who refused to answer for fear of getting in trouble. A friend and Colvin’s father said the 21-year-old ended up on the ground, her leg gnawed by a police dog.

“Until we get that badge taken, the charges are dropped; they can pay for her medical bills, the lawyer she has to have,” said Tyrese Banks, Colvin’s friend. “That’s full justice for us; that’s what all of us want.”

About two dozen NSU students gathered on Park Avenue, just off campus, Monday night. They chanted, “No justice, no peace,” and held sign, “Justice For London.” Colvin’s friends and fellow students said they want to know what disciplinary action will be taken for the K-9 handler.

“We need to know what exactly is happening so we can feel better, we can feel safe,” said Carman Chatman, Colvin’s friend. “And [Colvin] can feel safe coming back to school.”

Norfolk Police Chief Michael Goldsmith has since said there will be disciplinary action for the K-9 handler, as well as change in police policy involving K-9s.

Document: NPD policy on K-9 Patrol and Explosive Detector Dogs

“The policy says ‘under good judgment’ is when you need to use that dog,” Banks said. “Clearly, [the officer] does not have good judgment; he has poor judgment.”

“We’re really sorry that London had to be an example of when they decided to change the policy,” Chatman said. “We just want to make sure that everyone is safe.”

Colvin’s case was relevant as Benjamin Crump, Natalie Jackson and Daryl Parks visited campus on Friday for a pre-planned event. The three Florida attorneys are well known for representing the families of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown. They were in town for NSU’s L.E.A.D. speaker series and held a panel discussion with students Friday night.

Video: Attorneys of Michael Brown speak at NSU

While Crump, Jackson, and Parks are not involved in Colvin’s case, they weighed in and said people who did wrong in Colvin’s incident must be held accountable.

“The real test will be when the policies change, and the announcement to the community that this case allowed policy changes,” Jackson said.

Norfolk Mayor Paul D. Fraim released the following statement Friday night:

Police officers have to make split-second judgments and decisions. Typically, Norfolk police officers make the right calls. However, when you make poor judgments, you have to own up to it and that’s what we are doing. I think we have all learned that you have got to be constantly vigilant to make sure that we are in good communication with the community and that you maintain good relationships.

Crump said students have an opportunity to stand up for their friend and also set an example.

“I have no doubt that those young people are going to be responsible, and they’re going to do it in a way that is consistent with the protections of our Constitution,” Crump said. “And they’re going to refuse to be quiet.”

Colvin’s family and friends have started an online fund for the college student. They want to see Colvin’s medical bills paid for. But until then, Colvin’s healthcare will be costly — if you’d like to donate, click here.

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