Jury deliberates in civil trial of retired Norfolk police officer

WAVY-TV 10 Photo

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A jury began deliberations Friday in the civil trial of a retired Norfolk police officer that began in federal court Tuesday. Neal Robertson is facing a $10 million dollar lawsuit in the 2013 shooting of Marius Mitchell.

Mitchell claims Robertson was negligent and used excessive force when the officer shot him outside a 7-Eleven off Hampton Boulevard.

Dash cam video showed in court earlier this week shows Mitchell stumble out of a police car covered in blood. With his hands up, he gets down on the ground before responding officers come up to him.

On the stand Friday, Robertson testified that he made a traffic stop on a vehicle Mitchell had been riding in, and that Mitchell refused to get back in the car and ran. According to Robertson, Mitchell got into his unmarked police cruiser, which had flashing blue lights, and that the officer tried to pull Mitchell through the window. Robertson said the car started moving, pinning Robertson’s armpit in the window and dragging him, and he fired his weapon three times. He said he feared for his life.

Mitchell claims he was getting out of his car at a 7-Eleven when he was ordered by someone with a gun to get back in his car. He said he was scared and ran away and did not know the man chasing him was an officer.

According to Mitchell’s attorneys, Mitchell took refuge in the car. Mitchell previously testified that he did not know exactly how the car moved. In closing arguments, Mitchell’s attorney asked the jury if Robertson’s actions were those of a reasonable officer. Mitchell did not pose a threat and Robertson did not have to put his arm in the window, hold on, or shoot, he said.

Jurors previously heard testimony that Mitchell had his hands up at the time of the shooting.

Both Mitchell and Robertson were cleared of any criminal wrongdoing in the shooting.

Lawyers for Mitchell rested their case on Thursday.

Jurors were dismissed Friday evening and will resume deliberating Monday morning.