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Virginia Beach asks federal court to dismiss lawsuit related to killing of Donovon Lynch

The City of Virginia Beach was named as a defendant in one count of the suit filed by Donovon Lynch's father. A police officer shot and killed Lynch in March 2021.

NORFOLK, Va. — The City of Virginia Beach said it believes a federal lawsuit filed against it after a police officer shot and killed Donovon Lynch should be dismissed.

The city filed a motion in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District Court on July 19. A memorandum supporting the motion to dismiss accompanied the motion, itself.

Donovon Lynch's father, Wayne, filed the $50 million federal lawsuit against the city as well as the officer whom he said killed Lynch, Solomon Simmons. Virginia Beach Police Department has not said Simmons was the officer involved in the shooting at the Oceanfront on March 26.

The City of Virginia Beach is named as a defendant only in one count of the lawsuit, Count II. It's that count that the city asked the court to dismiss.

The memorandum cites Count II:

Virginia Beach had a custom or policy of failing to properly train, instruct, and/or supervise its police officers, including Officer Simmons, as to the proper circumstances under which to draw a firearm and/or use deadly force, or to [sic] as to the proper techniques for exhausting all reasonable alternatives before using deadly force, including but not limited to professional presence/identification, verbalization, soft control techniques, intermediate techniques, hard control techniques, and/or non-lethal force.

The city contends that Lynch failed to support the claim that Virginia Beach maintained a policy, practice, or custom that would make it legally liable in what happened to his son. The city cites previous case law in its argument, including decisions by other courts.

Attorneys also called the lawsuit's allegations "so broad and so vague as to encompass everything and nothing all at once."

Alex Spiro, an attorney on the case, provided a response to the city's request to dismiss the lawsuit. In his response, Spiro referenced an audit of the police department's bodycam program. There was no bodycam footage of the encounter police had with police the night he was killed, and the audit took place after Lynch's death. 

Spiro said, "In public, the city has just acknowledged its failings in maintaining proper bodycam protocol, and yet in the courthouse, they are attempting to avoid accountability for those same failings.”

Because the city is not named in the other six counts of the federal lawsuit, it does not challenge their validity.


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