NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A witness in the voluntary manslaughter trial of Michael Edington, Jr. testified on Thursday that the Norfolk officer was wearing a body camera in the 2014 incident that resulted in the shooting death of 35-year-old David Latham.
According to testimony, the camera was one that Edington bought himself and was not issued by the Norfolk Police Department. The camera also reportedly only captured the moments after Latham had been shot. It’s not clear why.
A Norfolk Police spokesperson said the department issued body cameras the following year, in February 2015.
The testimony comes as the trial moves forward in its fourth day. The prosecution rested its case Thursday.
One of the questions at the heart of the trial is what Latham was doing leading up to shooting. Prosecutors argue that Latham had a knife in his hand, but that it was pointed toward the ground and that he did not retreat or advance.
Edington’s defense is arguing that Latham refused to drop the knife after police repeatedly ordered him to do so. They say Latham — who family members say suffered from mental illness — was dangerous when off his medication.
Jurors heard from a two-and-a-half hour-long interview recording Thursday of Edington at the police operations center with detectives. Edington had also reportedly been interviewed in a police car as well as in a walk-through of the scene following the shooting.
In the recorded interview, Edington said Latham became increasingly agitated and was moving a knife around by his side and rocking back and forth.
Edington told investigators that after Latham refused multiple commands to drop the knife, he fired four to five shots outside the home and one more inside before Latham collapsed. Later, Edington said a woman in the home began arguing with him and said, “Ya’ll didn’t have to shoot him.”
Several officers who worked with Edington took the stand Wednesday. Some testified that Edington was heavily affected by the loss of fellow Norfolk officer Brian Jones — who had died after being shot by a person suspected in the shooting death of a teenager.
One witness who testified Wednesday said three officers had their guns drawn and told Latham to drop the knife 10 times.
Prosecutors entered evidence Wednesday, including Edington’s gun — which reportedly had six rounds missing — as well as cartridge casings.