Officer on trial for manslaughter takes the stand

13News Now Eric Kane has the story

NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) -- The Norfolk Police officer on trial for the death of a mentally ill man took the stand in his own defense on Tuesday.

Michael Edington is charged in the June 6, 2014 shooting death of David Latham.

Edington testified for about an hour Tuesday. He admitted when the call first came in for a domestic situation he said, "Why are people always doing this ****." He said he hates domestic calls, because they're dangerous and family members are hurting each other.

On the way to the scene, Edington learned from a second 911 call from Latham's mother that Latham was "mentally disturbed." 

He testified that upon arriving on scene, he took out his gun after a bystander told him a man was armed with a knife.  Dispatch had also told him Latham had a knife. Edington then confronted Latham on the front steps of his home.

Edington said he yelled multiple times for Latham to drop the knife and Latham responded several times, "No, **** you, I'm not dropping the knife."

Edington then testified he didn't want to shoot, but he saw Latham move his right foot and thought he was about to lunge at him. Edington shot four to five times in less than two seconds.

Latham fell backward and went into home. Edington said he was worried Latham was going to attack a family member, so he followed him inside and shot him once more, causing Latham to fall to the ground.

Edington said he turned on his body camera he bought from Amazon, and later went outside into a patrol car as police investigated. Edington said he wondered "if he was going to make it" as he sat outside.

Cross-examination is now under way.


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