Attorney representing man shot and killed by Norfolk police officer explains $9 million lawsuit

Posted at 2:00 PM, Mar 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-02 14:14:16-05

Norfolk, Va. – The family of a mentally ill man, shot and killed by Norfolk Police officer Michael Edington two years ago has filed a $9 million dollars lawsuit against the officer.

Edington was charged with involuntary manslaughter for the death of David Latham and is currently waiting for his trial to begin.

Police originally said on that June 6th, 2014 night, Latham was holding a knife and threatening officers when his family called police for help. But his family claimed Edington used excessive force.

A grand jury agreed and indicted Edington earlier this year.

Latham’s family attorney, John Cooper exclusively told NewsChannel 3 since the two year anniversary of David’s death is coming up,  now was the time to start the civil process.

Latham’s parents, Audrey Latham and Glennis Latham are listed as the plaintiffs in the $9 million dollar lawsuit. Which in part reads  the defendant’s (Michael Edington) “excessive and unreasonable use of deadly force killing a young man was the result of errors and recklessness”.

NewsChannel 3 reached out to Edington’s attorney Jeffrey Swartz, who is representing the officer during his criminal trial. In a statement regarding the lawsuit he said.

“When Officer Edington arrived on that house on that night in June of 2014 he was faced with a life-threatening situation in which he was confronted by a man with serious mental health issues who was wielding a 12-inch knife. Also, Officer Edington was there was because the family made two calls, calling the police department and asking them to come because they were being threatened by David who was armed with a knife. When police arrived he had three officers ordering him to drop the knife, not only did he refuse to drop the knife, he told them he wasn’t going to drop the knife and made other threatening statements towards Officer Edington. Officer Edington had to make a split -second decision and only fired because he believed his life and the life of others was in danger at that moment.

Officer Edington had never fired his weapon other than in training at the firing range in his entire time with Norfolk Police Department. It was a tragedy for the Latham family but it was a tragedy for Edington as well and it was never his desire to fire that gun. He only made that decision because he believed his life and the life of others was being threatened,” Swartz said.

Edington hasn’t officially been served the lawsuit, but once he does he has 21 days to respond. His manslaughter trial is set for October.


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