NORFOLK, Va. – The City of Norfolk has agreed to a $1.5 million settlement in a wrongful death lawsuit filed in federal court by the family of a mentally ill man shot and killed by a Norfolk police officer.
The city reached the settlement following a meeting with a federal magistrate judge.
“In reaching this settlement, the City does not admit to any wrongdoing or liability on its part or on the part of Officer Edington,” the city said in a statement. “While the City had policies in place to prevent incidents of this nature, the City has implemented additional policies and training in the hopes of preventing similar incidents in the future.”
Norfolk Police officer Michael Edington was found not guilty of voluntary manslaughter in the shooting death of 35-year-old 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 alleged that Edington was excessive in using deadly force and it’s described in the documents as unreasonable and negligent.
The lawsuit also criticized 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.
Edington remains on the Norfolk Police Force.