Multi-million dollar lawsuit filed by family of mentally ill man killed by Norfolk officer

Posted at 9:57 PM, Aug 29, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-30 13:35:05-04

NORFOLK, Va. - New information about a multi-million-dollar lawsuit filed by the family of a mentally ill man shot and killed by a Norfolk Police Officer has emerged Tuesday.

Norfolk Police officer Michael Edington was found not guilty of voluntary manslaughter in the shooting death of 35-year-old David Latham.

David Latham

Latham’s family called 911 when he waved a knife in June 2014. Officer Edington responded and used lethal force when he said the mentally ill man came at him with the weapon.

Latham’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit for $25 million dollars. It alleges that Edington was excessive in using deadly force and it’s described in the documents as unreasonable and negligent.

The lawsuit also criticizes training Norfolk officers receive for handling the mentally ill and it dissects prior encounters Officer Edington had with other citizens.

News 3 met up with Jeff Swartz, who was Officer Edington’s lawyer during the criminal trial.

“I believe that we proved that Mike Edington did not use excessive force. He did have to use force - there's no question which had tragic results for Officer Edington and the Latham family, but it was our position that it was not excessive and it was how he was trained,” said Swartz.

Latham’s mom Audrey met up with News 3 after the officer was found not guilty and said she didn’t believe her son got justice.

"We just press forward. We know the truth, and we know what happened. We were all here, and just thanking we had 35 years with David," Audrey said.

“I believe he'll be vindicated in the civil case just as he was in the criminal case,” said Swartz.

Edington remains on the Norfolk Police Force.

The trial is scheduled for November.

Related links: 

Witness: Norfolk police officer wore body camera when he shot mentally ill man

David Latham's family speaks to News 3 after Michael Edington found not guilty

Latham family attorneys respond to Edington's not guilty verdict

Jury finds Norfolk Police officer not guilty of manslaughter in shooting death of mentally ill man