Norfolk man challenges why a police officer shot him

Posted at 11:44 PM, Nov 21, 2014
and last updated 2014-11-22 06:16:43-05

Norfolk, Va.- Marius Mitchell says he still doesn't know why a Norfolk police officer shot him in January 2013 along Hampton Boulevard.

The 31-year-old father of five faces three felonies in the case. A police officer shot Mitchell after he tried to steal the officer's car and dragged him with it, according to police. Mitchell says the story isn't true. "There was no crime being committed," he told NewsChannel 3.

Mitchell was a passenger in a car on his way to work on January 29, 2013. When the car pulled into a 7-Eleven parking lot, an unmarked police car followed them. Mitchell says a man came out of the car with a gun drawn. He didn't realize it was a police officer and ran away from the scene.

The officer followed him. Eventually, they circled back to the 7-Eleven. "I had no destination. I was just running from this guy with a gun and I didn't know where I was running," he said.

What happened next still isn't clear. Police say Mitchell tried to steal the officer's car and the officer tried to stop him. "At some point he's pulling away. At some point, he puts the car in drive and goes across the parking lot, dragging the police officer," said Chris Amos, a Norfolk spokesman at the time.

Mitchell says he never moved the car and isn't sure how it got moved from where the officer originally parked it. He admits, though, to running up to it. "I see the vehicle. I could either take off running or is anybody in that car, so I can ask for help?"

The officer caught up with him and started shooting. Police say the officer feared for his life. The Commonwealth's Attorney later found the use of force was justified.

Mitchell says he wasn't armed, had his hands up, and believes the whole thing was racially motivated. "I believe it was a profiling thing. Really, he had no reason to shoot me or pull us over." The car was originally stopped for suspicious activity, according to police.

NewsChannel 3 questioned Mitchell as to why his story is credible. "I would have an explanation for it, but there is not explanation for something that didn't happen. I don't have an answer for the hypothetical."

Mitchell is charged with three felonies: eluding police, grand larceny, and malicious wounding. The case went to trial in October, but the jury couldn't agree on a verdict, so the trial was declared a mistrial. It will go to trial again in April with the Suffolk Commonwealth's Attorney's office overseeing the case. The Norfolk Commonwealth's Attorney's Office is not involved in the trial because the office oversaw the legal review of the officer's actions.