Updated lawsuit against Norfolk officer alleges prior excessive use of force

City says allegations appear “baseless;” plans to oppose

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – A Norfolk police officer cleared of manslaughter in the death of a man with mental illness faces a civil trial in federal court. The family suing the officer and the City of Norfolk has filed a proposed new version of the multi-million dollar lawsuit, claiming the officer had a history of excessive force.

Last October, a jury found Officer Michael Edington Jr. not guilty of manslaughter in the death of David Latham. According to testimony, Latham suffered from mental illness and was holding a knife when officers arrived at a home on West 30th Street in 2014. Edington said he told Latham to put the knife down several times and fired after he saw Latham take a step to the side.

Court releases evidence from Norfolk police officer’s manslaughter trial

In court paperwork filed this week, Latham’s family said the city recently provided 11 special incident reports, that the family said show Edington’s excessive use of force in the months before Latham’s death. They said the reports back up their claims that the city failed to supervise, control and train Edington.

According to the updated proposed lawsuit, while Edington was arresting someone for public intoxication in 2013, Edington threw her to the ground and used pepper spray. The paperwork also said that in the month before Latham’s death, Edington had a confrontation with a man, threw him to the ground, pepper sprayed him and punched him eight times before taking him into custody.

In a statement provided Wednesday, Deputy City Attorney Michael Beverly said, “Outside of the current lawsuit, there have not been any merited allegations of excessive force against Officer Edington. The allegations in the proposed amended lawsuit appear baseless.” The city intends to oppose it, he said.

The Latham family is seeking $25 million from the City and Edington.

Edington remains on administrative duty in the central records division, police said.