Virginia officer indicted over fatal shooting of mentally ill black man

Reuters News
|
Posted: Jun 12, 2015 4:18 AM

(Reuters) - A Virginia police officer was indicted by a special grand jury on Thursday over the killing of a mentally ill black man last summer, officials said.

The decision comes amid a national outcry over police violence against minorities, sparked by high profile police killings of unarmed black men in cities across the country in the past year, as well as grand jury decisions to not criminally charge the officers involved.

Norfolk Police officer Michael Carlton Edington Jr. was charged with voluntary manslaughter over the June 6, 2014 shooting death of 35-year-old David Latham, the Office of the Norfolk Commonwealth's Attorney said in a statement.

The nine-member panel did not return an indictment for second degree murder, according to a copy of the statement that was published online by local broadcaster WAVY-TV.

On the night of the shooting, Latham's family had called police in the hopes of getting psychiatric help for him after he had stopped taking medication for his schizophrenia, according to WAVY-TV.

When officers arrived at the home, Latham threatened them with a knife and was shot eight times, including twice in the back, the broadcaster said.

An attorney for Latham's family told the network: "They are looking for justice for their son. They are pleased the grand jury found there is sufficient evidence to indict, but they know there is still work to be done."

In a statement to the station, Norfolk Police Chief Michael Goldsmith urged the public to withhold judgment as the case plays out.

Norfolk Mayor Paul Fraim told reporters that Edington remained on the job but was on administrative leave.

(Reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco; Editing by Dominic Evans)