Norfolk, Va. – A man accused of dragging a Norfolk police officer with a car was found not guilty on Thursday.
Marius Mitchell was charged with eluding police, grand larceny, and malicious wounding of a law enforcement officer.
The incident happened in January 2013. A police officer shot Mitchell after police say he tried to steal the officer’s car and dragged him with it.
In an interview with NewsChannel 3 in 2014, Mitchell said he was a passenger in a car and on his way to work the morning of the incident. 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 and 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,” Mitchell said.
Police say Mitchell tried to steal the officer’s car and the officer tried to stop him.
Mitchell says he never moved the car and isn’t sure how it got moved from where the officer originally parked it. He admitted, 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 maintained his innocence as the case progressed.
A jury found him not guilty on all of the charges.
Mitchell chose not to be interviewed on camera but did say via telephone that he believe the verdict proves he got a fair trial.