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Former Portsmouth police chief to testify in case against officer charged in shooting

Jeremy Durocher shot a man accused of burglary in the back in 2017. Former Portsmouth Police Chief Tonya Chapman awarded Durocher a medal for his actions.

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — Former Portsmouth Police Chief Tonya Chapman will testify in the case of an officer charged in a shooting in 2017.

At a motions hearing on Thursday, attorneys said Chapman, who resigned months ago, will be a defense witness for Officer Jeremy Durocher.

Durocher shot Deontrace Lamont Ward in the back, as Ward tried to get away from police on October 29, 2017. Video obtained by The Virginian-Pilot shows Durocher wounding Ward, who was an armed burglary suspect. Ward survived the shooting and entered a guilty plea to several charges in 2018.

RELATED: Man shot by police officer pleads guilty to burglary

Ward filed a civil lawsuit against Durocher who also is facing criminal charges after a grand jury indicted him for Aggravated Malicious Wounding and Use of a Firearm.

RELATED: Portsmouth police officer indicted on 2 felony charges for 2017 shooting

Chapman awarded Jeremy Durocher a medal for his actions during the shooting.

Thursday, the defense requested that the commonwealth's attorney be disqualified from prosecuting the case. The judge denied that request.

The judge also denied a change of venue request. Durocher's attorneys had concerns about how race relations in the city may affect the case. Durocher is white. Ward is black. The judge said the request was premature because a jury had not been chosen yet.

Durocher's trial date was pushed back to November 18. There is supposed to be a motions hearing on September 26.

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