PORTSMOUTH, Va. — A civil lawsuit was filed Tuesday against a police officer charged with shooting a person back in 2017.
Portsmouth police officer Jeremy D. Durocher shot Deontrace Ward during an armed burglary call. Now, Ward is seeking $2.35 million for damages.
Ward pleaded guilty to several charges in June 2018. Prosecutors dropped an "assault on an officer" charge against him.
In November 2018, a grand jury indicted Durocher on two felony charges related to the shooting of Ward.
“He [Durocher] took the law into his own hands. He decided he was going to stop this man and that he was going to take a shortcut," War'd attorney, S.W. Dawson said. "He was going to shoot him in the back so that he wouldn’t get away from any criminal conduct that he thought just took place. It’s wrong, and he has to be held to account.”
On the day of the shooting in 2017, police had been called to a burglary in a neighborhood. The Virginian-Pilot obtained video that showed rookie officer Durocher wounding Ward.
Police said they found a loaded handgun in Ward's pant leg.
Durocher's attorney, Nick Renninger, provided the following statement about the civil lawsuit filed on Tuesday:
The lawsuit that has been filed against Officer Durocher demonstrates a lack of understanding of the relevant issues in this matter and it also attempts to capitalize upon and unnecessarily sensationalize an unfortunate event. Officer Durocher acted reasonably under the circumstances to apprehend Ward, who was a fleeing felon and posed a significant threat if death or serious physical injury to the officers or others. Characterizing Officer Durocher's actions as somehow being reckless and 'hunting wild game' is an affront to every police officer who acts diligently to protect citizens from dangerous felons like Ward.