NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – The parents of David Latham, the 35-year-old man shot and killed by Norfolk Police in June of 2014 are now suing Officer Michael Edington for $9 million.
As we’ve previously reported, Officer Edington and two other police officers responded to the home. The Lathams called 911 because they believed their son, who they say has a history of mental illness, was having a mental episode and they wanted him to be transported to the hospital. Latham was holding a knife when police arrived. Police allege Latham threatened officers. Only Officer Edington used his service weapon, according to police. Medical paper work shows Edington shot Latham at least eight times. Twice, he was hit in the back.
Audrey and Glennis Latham’s attorney, John Cooper, filed the wrongful death lawsuit on February 29. In the complaint, the Lathams suggest “at no relevant time did the decedent act aggressively toward the defendant or others, nor did the decedent act in a way to give the defendant reason to believe that the decedent presented a significant threat or serious physical injury to the defendant or others.”
The complaint goes on to say “Despite these circumstances, the defendant unlawfully shot and killed the decedent, David Latham, by excessive and unreasonable use of deadly force.”
Edington already faces voluntary manslaughter charges. A special grand jury indicted him on those charges in 2015. His criminal trial is set to begin in late September.
It’s unclear who will represent Latham in the civil suit. 10 On Your Side reached out to Attorney Jeff Swartz who is representing Latham in his criminal trial.
He sent us the following statement:
Officer Edington was faced with a life threatening situation in which he was confronted by a man weighing over 270 pounds diagnosed with a serious mental illness waving a foot long knife. He had to make split second decision when Mr. Latham refused to put the knife down even though three officers were ordering him to drop the knife. “David Latham’s death was a tragedy for his family and for Mike Edington. Officer Edington as a young officer never fired a weapon except during training. He did not want to find himself in the situation where he would have to shoot that night. And now he finds himself in a situation where he has to defend himself both criminally and civilly and we’re going to do that.