Crosswalk bombshell: Officer texting before hitting wheelchair man

For nearly four years, the dashcam video of a County police cruiser striking a wheelchair pedestrian in a crosswalk in broad daylight was the most shocking aspect of the case. Now, a new court filing drops additional bombshells– including one that may explain how it happened.

New information revealed in the course of the victim's civil lawsuit indicates that immediately before the incident, the Albemarle officer, Gregory C. Davis, was involved in "excessive texting." Furthermore, according to the document, Officer Davis may, under oath, have intentionally downplayed his texting.

"Members of the public who have seen this video probably wondered how in the world this officer could have missed this person in a wheelchair," says attorney Richard Armstrong. "This finally explains."

Messages left with Davis, his attorney, and the chief of police were not returned; and police spokesperson Darrell Byers says the ongoing litigation prevents comment.

The November 5, 2007 accident created widespread outrage, particularly after release of the dashcam video showing clear conditions at the intersection of West Main and Fourth Streets.

Feelings were already running high since the officer went uncharged while the injured man in the wheelchair, Gerry Mitchell, was served with a ticket in his UVA hospital bed. In the months following the accident, Mitchell– a longtime AIDS sufferer– alleged that he was hit not only by a police car but by a cascade of additional health woes.

After seeking a public apology from the officer who struck him and from the Charlottesville City police, Mitchell filed an $850,000 suit alleging negligence, malicious prosecution, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. (While the City was dropped from the suit last spring, Davis and ticketing City officer Steve Grissom remain as defendents.)

Attorney Armstrong, representing Mitchell, says the recent revelations about Davis' texting habits emerged during a deposition by County Police Sergeant Timothy Seitz, who headed an internal investigation, and add further outrage to the incident. Armstrong also blasts a recent motion by the County– which isn't a party to the suit– to quash a subpoena to obtain a recording of a statement given by Davis on the day of the incident.

"What interest does the county have in trying to keep the public from knowing about it?" asks Armstrong. "It sort of goes in conjunction with our belief that they're trying to protect police officers from liability resulting from acts that they may commit."

Assistant County Attorney Andrew Herrick did not return a reporter's call for comment by posting time.

Davis (who nearly 120,000 YouTube viewers know to have been rocking out to the song "My Humps" at the time of the incident) seems to have made some effort to conceal his texting activities that fateful day. Back in August 2009, when answering initial interogatories, he admitted that he twice faced disciplinary action, once for a "minor domestic matter brought by the ex-husband of my then-girlfriend" in which he was found to have used "unprofessional language." In the second disciplinary action, he answered, "On another occasion I was found to have used my cell phone excessively."

What Davis omitted, says Armstrong, is that the excessive cell phone use wasn't simply on "another occasion." It occurred the very day he struck Mitchell, prior to the accident. The recording of this interview could reveal whether Davis initially admitted his texting activity– something investigators might have taken into account when determining whom to ticket.

The case reached a veritable boiling point after Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy Longo sent City Council a statement alleging there were no witnesses. However, the dashcam video showed citizen Ben Gathright, clearly identified in a pre-statement Hook story, rushing to Mitchell's side. Gathright would later reveal evidence of official unwillingness to investigate as well as the sudden reappearance of parking tickets and an old bounced-check charge, a pattern he construed as police retribution.

"Had the officers undertaken a thorough investigation and had Officer Davis been honest," says Armstrong, "it's likely charges would have been brought against Officer Davis rather than Mr. Mitchell."

The charge against Mitchell– failure to obey a pedestrian signal– was eventually dropped after the Charlottesville Commonwealth's Attorney ruled that the signal of a big red hand placed it outside of the existing statute. Soon thereafter, State Delegate David Toscano sponsored a bill that changed the law– not to ensure punishment of errant officers,  but to ensure that pedestrian infractions could be more easily enforced.

Today, Mitchell is again hospitalized, this time with nerve damage in his arms, an unhealing wound on his foot, and "a lot of pain." In his world of hurt, the texting revelations come as something of a relief.

"It helps explain why he ran me over," says Mitchell. "He wasn't looking."

A hearing on the County's motion to quash Mitchell's subpoenas takes place Wednesday, August 31, in Charlottesville Circuit Court, where the trial is scheduled for September 27 and 28.

Read more on: Gerry Mitchell


Let's see here. The chief of police in Charlottesville said, more than once, that there were no witnesses to the county police cruiser striking Gerry Mitchell. However there were at least two, one of whom (Ben Gathright) wrote down his contact information, talked to a city police office on the scene of the accident, and " lingered at the scene" waiting to tell police hat he saw. Yet they didn't interview him.

So, the city police chief is either woefully out of touch with what goes on in his department, or he purposefully lied to the city council and the public about the incident. Neither is an endorsement of his "leadership."

And. apparently, the county police officer who was driving the cruiser that struck Mitchell was engaged in "excessive texting" just prior to the accident. Rather than own up to what he'd been doing, the cop described a disciplinary action taken against him for this texting as having taken place "on another occasion." Even worse, Albemarle County is trying "to quash a subpoena" from Mitchell's attorney that seeks a recording of the inaccurate statement made by the county cop.

Mitchell's attorney says: "What interest does the county have in trying to keep the public from knowing about it? It sort of goes in conjunction with our belief that they're trying to protect police officers from liability resulting from acts that they may commit."

This is nothing new in the county. They've done it before...numerous times. Whether it's "inappropriate behavior" or cops getting accident reports entirely wrong, the county is loathe to come clean with the facts.


That disaffection for the truth extends to the county schools leadership too. A few years back the schools ran a fake survey on "leadership" that was distortedly written but contained room for comments. The schools refused to release the comments from teachers claiming – falsely – that they were exempt from the Freedom on Information Act. Eventually the comments came out, showing that teachers perceived the "leadership" negatively.

More recently the press has inquired about the county schools purchase and use of SchoolNet, an expensive software program that's been an abysmal failure and has now been jettisoned. The schools have withheld more than 200 e-mails from the superintendent and SchoolNet officials, allegedly because they are exempt from the FOIA.

Like Gerry Mitchell's attorney asks, "What interest does the county have in trying to keep the public from knowing about it?"

Could the Hook post a picture of Gregory C. Davis?


i have witnessed many city and county policemen texting while driving ,i personally think that a phone should not be allowed to text at all
i hate texting anytime it is senseless and a waste of time and money lets take texting off all phones

Sometines vehicle operators position them selves where they will be hit by another in an effort to claim damages . These two motorized vehicles seem to fit that pattern . The electric scooter was either crossing the road illegily on purpose to interfere with the police vehicle or it was simply where it was due to some sort of impairment on behalf of the operator . The electrical vehicle operator was issued a ticket for being where he was but it was dismissed due to a technicality . The dismissal does not negate the fact he was illegially in the crosswalk . In any event he does not appear to have been hurt and apparently told the officer he was all right by nodding his head he likely said he was fine . He carefully adjusted his clothing and comfortably positioned himself in the seat of his vehicle before driving over to the parking lot .Trying to claim $ 850,000.00 where there are no damages makes it obvious this is a scam from the get go .The music playing in the background has no bearing on this . Texting is another red herring .Thank goodness the taxpayers were saved from being scammed here by this person at least in respect to his vehicle operation.

Frank, the police officer was turning. When the light is green in one direction, the walk light is usually on in that same direction. That didn't look like anyone "position[ing] themselves where they will be hit", it looked like a guy crossing the street to me. And the appearance of injury from a grainy youtube video can be a funny thing in that it isn't always the most accurate form of measurement.

I agree with you about the music. But other than that I think your post contains a lot of large assumptions.


Ok.. then the damages should be 1.00 for a bandaid and 849.999.00 for lying about it and trying to cover up culpability

I hope he wins and I hope they pay dearly so that the next time the Chief of Police says there were no witnesses and a witness comes forward ON FILM the city council will hold a public hearing and get to the bottom of it and answer the question as to whether the Chief was lied to and didn't fire anybody, or he was informed and chose to lie himself to cover up the malfeasance.

This is the most important question on the table. The Hook should dig for this like its Watergate. Accidents happen. If the Officer just filed a claim like anyone else this would have been overwith years ago.

Why did the Chief not come clean at the time? Was he lied to? If so who and why and what happened to them for lying. If not why did he lie?

Without answers there can be no faith that this kind of thing will not repeat itself.

Another "assumption" is that this guy is doing extremly well by the taxpayer and the thanks they get is him trying to stick it to them with an outrageous $850,000.00 scam . Thankfully a judge set that straight but a dedicated police officer is being persecuted .

Frank, as a Canadian living 2000+ miles away, it isn't your taxes that are affected in any way regardless of what happened. Is life in Labrador so uninteresting that you can only find meaning in your life by poking into matters in another country?

Bill ---Get over the drama . One vehicle slightly bumped another vehicle .No damage was done except to the system ,tax payers,police officer,now y'all are trying to work up the chain of command to damage as many and as high as you can .

Cookie jar --I don't live in Labrador ,just threw that out for your dim witted self one day .

You had already been outed as a Canadian by then, so nice try. Your ignorance of any actual details about local issues and places makes it pretty obvious that you aren't here.

And non meaningful input on issues and general nonsense makes it clear you are not all there.


I wish complete ignorance of the law like you have shown is clear evidence you aren't from the area, but too many people here are ignorant. But it's clear you don't understand something very important in the State of Virginia - pedestrians in the cross walk ALWAYS have the right of way. A disabled person in a wheelchair is a pedestrian, not in a motorized vehicle. It did not jump out in front of the police car.

While the police in the County and the City have cleaned up a lot over the last 15 years, they are still too quick to cover up for muck ups like this. They are getting sued for trying to intimidate through the ticket, and the trail of actions that suggest an unwillingness to take responsibility for clear irresponsibility. You do not text and drive.

Yet another example of why mobile phones should be banned from use while driving (whether in the hands of cops or civilians).

Go Oprah!

I guess comment-board-stalker Frank would then feel also fine about this wonderful officer being less than honest under oath in his interrogatory responses in this case? Especially if he's done nothing wrong to start with. In fact, anything about what this officer did that Officer Frank finds objectionable?

Old Timer -- You are assuming the officer was texting while driving in this instance .The wheel chair was motorized .You are assuming the wheel chair operator didn't speed up to zip in front of the patrol car . I had a woman beside my car walking on the sidewalk ,just as i was approaching a crosswalk . She jumped right in front of me . She is a legal secretary ,was in the crosswalk and knew people in a crosswalk have the right of way .Thankfully i noticed her on the sidewalk before she JUMPED and i braked and stopped in time.The idea of always as pertains to any law does not always hold as there can be exceptions to any law .Someone who has intentionally jumped in front of a moving vehicle to be hit for a law suit or suicide attempt would surely be exceptions . Lots of pedestrians with ear sets ,texters,and just general lack of attention become casualties .It is an epidemic especially in large urban areas. Often they don't look each way ,just look straight ahead as they walk without checking for traffic .Due dilligance is a two way street .

Frank can say whatever he wants to say. The bottom line is that this latest revelation makes it almost impossible that this case will see the inside of a courtroom, unless the defendant wants to pay even MORE than the plaintiff is asking.

Watch the video, Frank, and then talk. Right now you sound like you don't know what you're talking about.

Texting by cops is allowed while driving. Your lawmakers created this monster!

§ 46.2-1078.1. Use of handheld personal communications devices in certain motor vehicles; exceptions; penalty.

A. It shall be unlawful for any person to operate a moving motor vehicle on the highways in the Commonwealth while using any handheld personal communications device to:

1. Manually enter multiple letters or text in the device as a means of communicating with another person; or

2. Read any email or text message transmitted to the device or stored within the device, provided that this prohibition shall not apply to any name or number stored in the device nor to any caller identification information.

B. The provisions of this section shall not apply to:

1. The operator of any emergency vehicle;

For the purposes of this section, "emergency vehicle" means:

1. Any law-enforcement vehicle operated by or under the direction of a federal, state, or local law-enforcement officer while engaged in the performance of official duties;

Gasbag, it's not a criminal case, but a civil one. Just because it's legal to text doesn't mean that the cop isn't responsible for the operation of his motor vehicle.

Why do people from Canada post here about local Cville issues that don't pertain to them?

Even more bizarre, when they post in stories about local politics and elections, commenting on Council candidates they don't know, from way up in Canada. How strange is that???

Hell, I actually live here and even I don't post in most of the stories or get involved in local debates and issues. :D

Gathright would later reveal evidence of official unwillingness to investigate as well as the sudden reappearance of parking tickets and an old bounced-check charge, a pattern he construed as police retribution??????

Ohh, trust me, you can take that to the bank and deposit it. I am currently on the radar for police retribution. Seems a few snot nosed rookies for whatever reason feel as if I file complaints on police officers. They watch me, follow me, and run my license plates just trying to sort out and come up with some type of retribution.

About a month ago I stopped a Charlottesville rookie in traffic and asked him why he had just said the things he had said about me right on a police radio frequency. He asked me why I was listening to the police frequency, as if I had done something wrong. I asked him why he was under the impression that I file complaints on police officers. He stated that the current discussion between himself and I was a pretty good example. I reminded him that I had stopped him for saying libelous things about me on a police frequency that citizens all over town could hear. He said he wasn't going to stand in the street and argue with me about it. I told him to go ahead and leave then. He again said he wasn't going to stand in the street and argue about it. I had to tell him about 4 times to go ahead and leave then.

Police retribution is real. The police chiefs can't lead all these rookies around by the hand 24 hours a day and control them.

Back to the topic, I am going to go on the record one more time by saying I don't feel as if Grissom is responsibile for anything that took. I think he received his orders from somebody higher up on the food chain than himself. Grissom is a good officer, always has been. I think somebody told him what to do.

Mr/Mrs/Miss meanwhile, I know it's a civil case. If any criminal or traffic case existed, it was screwed up when charges were placed against the wrong individual in the first place.

The point I was attempting to make is why the lawmakers think it's safe for cops to drive while using text messages. If it's against the law for you because it's unsafe, it should be against the law for ALL drivers.

Meanwhile -- Pedestrians and motorists must always use caution near police vehicles . They are often unpredictable attending to various duties and distractions aplenty with computers in the vehicle,2 way radios,walkie talkie talkies,telephones, you name it along with the inherent dangers of the job. Now the video is not clear how the electric scooter/wheelchair got in front of the vehicle . Anyone can have their own intrepretation on that . The video seems clear though that there was no damage done . The third party on the scene was quickly getting the heavy guy back onto his scooter . The police officer coming along a little later also gave him a helping hand .Just look at the guy ,no apparent injury or stress ,doesn't even seem shook up . The fellow seems to say and indicate he is fine ,he shrugged it off and drove to the edge of the street and into the parking lot ....No Damage but he wants a public apology and $850,000.00 .Might as well say he wants to become a millionare out of nothing . I know folks here are nice people and all that but can't you discern the attempted scam ?

Frank Speaker - great troll, or greatest troll?


So your medical opinion is based on a youtube video. Got it. Thanks for showing everyone where you're coming from. Your analysis should be viewed in this light: if the injuries are not apparent on the youtube video, the case has no standing.

Let me take a wild guess here and say that you are neither a doctor nor a lawyer. But still, thanks alot for your opinion. It really means bunches.

Only thing the video shows is that the cop clearly clocked the guy into the street.
Then the cop put him back into his wheelchair. Myself, I wouldn't have moved the guy and would have called an ambulance. I would imagine that's SOP in these kinds of cases. The cop was negligent and further risked injury to the wheelchair bound pedestrian by moving him.

You're right, the tape is not clear how the chair got in front of the car. For instance, the chair could have magically been transported there from another dimension! Alternatively, it could have been dropped there by an UFO. We just don't know!! There were eyewitnesses, but we all know how unreliable they can be.

No, let's assume that the guy in a wheel chair was running a scam and maliciously placed his wheel chair in the crosswalk, hoping that he would get run over by a policeman. That is the most logical guess we can make! That's the kind of guess that screams intelligence and wisdom.

Again, thank you very much for your worthy opinions! It's a shame you won't be testifying for the officer in court. I'm sure your view would hold great sway with the judge.

It's funny how everyone likes to bash cops and talk down about them but when we need their help they can't get to us fast enough. We all know there are SOME cops with moral issues but in Cville I think a very high percentage do their job to the best of their ability and are looking to do the right thing. People with personal issues against some of them like to take it out on all of them, why? They have medication for those who feel the worlds out to get them.

Meanwhile --Why are you putting all the onus on the officer regarding the fellow getting back into his scooter . The guy was clearly moving on his own and with assistance of the third party the famous witness. The officer came along a little later and merely gave a helping hand to the two in a case of no apparent injury .You condem the cop as,therefore being negligent , that is your opinion many would disagree .Many would think the cop was entitled to a fair hearing as opposed to your lynch mob verdict . However, that point is just another emotional red herring .Yes believe it or not but people do try all sorts of scams that don't seem to make common sense . This is an interesting case and often interesting cases don't end up to coincide with popular opinion .

SOME cops with moral issues, but in Cville I think a very high percentage do their job to the best of their ability and are looking to do the right thing??????

I absolutely agree with you! Unfortunately, it's the few out of control that tarnish the entire group. I am a firm believer that the police academy no longer teaches the Constitution to these kids. Or perhaps they simply thumb their noses at whatever they are taught. When you get pulled over or confronted by one of them, they honestly believe you have no rights whatsoever while they question you.

I don't really care who is "at fault" although I do believe that most people are not so stupid as to intentiaonlly throw themselves in front of a police car so they can sue.... especially when they "technically " don't have the right of way. I doubt Mr Mitchell was aware that the law was ambiguios enough that he could get away with his elaborate scheme.

Now that I have addreseed Fanks crazy conspiracy theory.....

The issue is the hiding of the info by the Poice Department. We need accountability. We need an interview of the Chief to find out who lied and who covered up what and why.

How else can we have confidence in the Police whenever there is an accusation made. It is in HIS best interest to have reasonable people giving him the benefit of the doubt instead of saying "here we go again"

Investigate that part of the story.

"many would disagree."

Who are these "many"? The voices in your head don't count.

Speak for yourself and say what you know. Your speculation and attempts to invent "many" people that agree with you only undercut whatever theories you are spewing.

Facts are stubborn things and you can say whatever you want. The police officer is the only person responsible for where his car was moving. The man was in a crosswalk. The police officer ran him over.

I don't care if he was Mother Theresa or Jesus Christ come back to earth. He should be held accountable for his actions. I don't care if you believe that "many" don't agree with that.

The red herrings being posted are the "yes there are scams" and the "many cops are good people" logical fallacies.

Neither of these facts have anything to do with the facts at hand. A man was run over by a cop. It's on video. He was in a wheel chair. In a cross walk. The cop was texting.

It would really be a hoot if you could be a witness for the defendant in this case. I would pay money to see your testimony.

Frank, the video seems clear though that there was no damage done? Medical experts will tell you that when involved in any type of traumatic incident, it's normal for injuries not to show up for a day or two.

But anyhow, aAll law enforcement personnel and rescue personnel are trained to NEVER grab somebody and move them until you have evaluated their injuries. And unless not moving them places them in greater danger. Nobody had any business grabbing this man and slinging him back into his wheelchair. Period! I think it's reasonable to assume that the crash and immediately picking him up probably caused damage to Mr. Mitchell.

Frank, the guy (Mitchell) was clearly moving on his own and with assistance of the third party the famous witness. The officer came along a little later and merely gave a helping hand to the two.

What video are you watching? The cop didn't come along later. He was right there the entire time helping to lift Mitchell, which I am sure he had been trained NOT to do!

Watch the video again.....

Meanwhile -- Well let me guess also that you are not a judge . However you have pronounced the cop guilty of negligence .Surely he is entitled to due process just as any other citizen . Doesn't it go without saying that is not a good method of reaching juistice or fairness . In your mind perhaps rushing to judgement is ok but it is not difficult to source dissenting jurisprudence in scores of jurisdictions .As for facts you say the video shows to you that a man was run over by a cop . What are you smoking man . The video shows no such thing on that point . It only shows a police car bumper making contact with the scooter/wheelchair . Your run over by a cop idea is your own invention . You make up your so called facts as you go along and generously hand out slight of hand verdicts like you were opening a box of Cracker Jacks .....

The Guy was getting up on his own steam and the witness initiated assistance followed by the police officer . All three worked to get an apparent ok person onto the wheelchair . That was the first aid decision made on the spur of the monent by all parties .Seems reasonable and the human thing to do . If there were no broken bones or organs damaged then it is just a soft tissue allegation which are notorious for false claims get rich dreamers. Many jurisdictions limit them to low amounts , i know of one that has a $2500.00 cieling .

My new and improved get-rich plan:

1. Buy motorized scooter.
2. Position said scooter at edge of crosswalk.
3. Wait for poor, unsuspecting police officer to HUMP his way through.
4. ???
5. PROFIT!!!

Frank, I saw a video on the internet a while back where a police officer, Peng Shulin of China, had actually been cut in half at his beltline by the rear tires of a heavy truck. After the worst possible injury I have ever seen or can even imagine, this officer was still moving, breathing and talking. Being injured has nothing to do with the ability to move around and attempting to recover your footing from a traumatic injury.

If you doubt my word, you have enough search terms above to find this GRAPHIC video. I am totally surprised the doctors were able to save this man. Be forewarned, the video is EXTERELY GRAPHIC!!!

I hope Gerry gets his day in court and justice is served.

Gas -- I agree with you in general . Each situation though is different . This one doesn't seem traumatic the guy just had a little tumble . He seems strong and probably has had many tumbles out of his chair . It is like a tumble or minor fall in many situations it could be sports,in dwellings,sidewalk etc. Some can get up on their own others just need a hand up . In this case he was heavy and otherwise disabled so the three pitched in to get him into the chair and off the road .Being left on the street could be more dangerous and the wheel chair as good as a strecher but this definately doesn't seem that serious to need a strecher. First aid and assistance comes with the price of you are dammed if you do and dammed if you don't .An ambulance isn't needed every time someone falls and skins a knee .Being an AIDS sufferer it would have been appropriate to subsequently bring him in for observation and whatever but that is a whole different story .

Frank - You obviously missed the part about them ticketing him in the emergency room and the part about him suffering renal failure that was attributed to the blunt blow to his back...although I have a sneaking suspicion that's not all you're missing.

There's no way that guy was hiding behind something based on the video gas bag just posted. The scooter was more than half way across the street. The cops at fault for AN ACCIDENT if someone lied to cover it up well that's a bigger issue. That's the ONLY issue. The city would have insurance to take care of the person hit.

Frank Speaker -- Gerry Mitchell was actually fairly seriously hurt that day. When his wheelchair was run into and he was sent flying, he wound up in the hospital with renal failure and things were spiraling out of control for him for a few days. He wound up with pretty big bills. PS -- I don't represent him, though he is a high school friend from about 40 years ago.

Let me reask the question I posed to OfficerFrank but I don't beileve he ever answered -- do you feel Off Davis' not being honest under oath about what he was doing is ALSO okay (on top of your apparent feeling that there is nothing wrong in anything else he did). So--Off. Frank--perjury okay?

A better question is this.... would ANY officer admit they had the FM stereo up, enjoying his tunes and texting about their evening plans when they inadvertantly ran over Mrs. Snurgglesfodd in the pedestrian crosswalk? It's not always about honesty. Often it's about doing what you know darn well the department would want you to do.

In one case I am very familiar with, documentation to prove a couple of officers were lying was "accidentally" destroyed. I don't for one second believe it was an accident.

In 1956 the Andrea Doria and the Stockholm collided in the fog off the New Jersey shore. You can Google the result, but one thing not in dispute, is that 'Liability for collision under admiralty law is based upon fault'. In other words, both vessels generally share the fault based on a percentage of blame to be determined by an admiralty court. We'll never know the possible percentage result as it was settled out of court. However, it may be in this case of the topic of the thread, that seems to be hotly debated, that-ceteris paribus-both the vehicular driver and pedestrian may share in the blame. For those so vociferously in one camp, or another, please take a moment and consider both sides, as it may be that this is a case where blame is shared and not 100% exclusive to single party. Just suggesting.... :)

He isn't suing the taxpayers for $850,000. If you re-read the article you will see that he dropped the city from the lawsuit. It only names the officer who ran him over and the one that maliciously ticketed him.

This video made national airing some time time ago. There's is no confusion as to driver error. If it had been one of us we would be in the poor house by now. The galling part is how out of touch is a chief of police that he thinks he can try and just plain lie his way out of this. The arrogance displayed by him and city hall to the point of total disregard for whats right in the public eye is is is, I'm at a loss for words. Who in GODS name do they think they are? They bring shame to this town and Longo should be fired on the spot. As far as texting, go ahead make my day. I was behind a Cville cop waiting for the light to turn green. It was obvious he was texting so I blew my horn when the light turned green, he took off and never looked back. He knew he got busted and couldn't do squat about it. I love my horn.

Mr/Mrs/Miss myself, I have sued 6 cops from 1997 to 2005. I sued them as individuals. It's something I never thought I would be put in the position of doing after being a deputy sheriff in Virginia myself. Every penny in awards and damages in all 6 lawsuits were paid by Virginia Risk Management. The Charlottesville police and Albemarle police are enrolled in the Virginia Risk Management program. They will most likely be paying any awards and damages in the Mitchell lawsuits.

Mow, go to bed! :)

In all fairness to Longo, he was misled by his troops. Whatever discipline he handed down to those who misled him, if any, is not public information.

How does that NWA song go?

From the Code of Virginia: "Evidence of the habit of a person or of the routine practice of an organization, whether corroborated or not and regardless of the presence of eye witnesses, is relevant to prove that the conduct of the person or organization on a particular occasion was in conformity with the habit or routine practice . . . " So the driver's habit of texting, and the police department routine of cover-up, cover each others' backsides, both come in as evidence. The Virginia Supreme court upheld a $10 million verdict in a defamation case. Here's hoping for a $20 million verdict in this one, so the police never to do this again. Ever. Hear that Longo?

There was a death involving an immigrant female hit by a county police officer by the Rock store several years back. Was texting also involved by the police officer then too?

Does the Chief of Police answer to the City Manager or to City Council? Either way, I wonder what was known higher up.

I looked at the video and it looks like there was a red "do not walk hand" at the crosswalk when the guy in the wheelchair crossed.

Resident, that sign does not make it legal or ok to crash into a man in a wheelchair.

The story I recall is that Mr. Mitchell approached the crosswalk and the driver on Main street heading west waved him across. The light on main street being red, he went ahead, not knowing that a police officer who was texting and listening to the black eyed peas would soon be plowing into him from behind.

MakesMeWonder, I think a lot of people questioned what happened out on Rio Road. But I can tell you from personal experience lately that pedestrians are bringing a lot of this foolishness upon themselves. When I was young, I was taught to wear light colors after dark if I was going to be walking in or near traffic. It seems everybody wears dark clothing now and you can't see them until you are just a few feet away as they walk in front of you. The dark intersection of East Market and 3rd Street was terrible until the city finally illuminated it with light poles.

cookieJar, I think the City Manager was briefed by the police chief. But of course the police chief was operating on misleading information given to him by his troops at the time if I recall correctly. He had been told there was no witness to the county cop running over Mr. Mitchell. He ran with this false information until somebody finally told him, "Whoa, wait a minute, there most certainly was a witness!"

Resident, it simply doesn't matter who had the red and who had a green. I can't see anything definitive in the video because I am only getting a 240p video on YouTube. But, under any circumstances, you don't run over a man in broad daylight crossing the street in a wheelchair. It was a very unfortunate event for Davis, but somebody needs to step up to the plate and compensate Mr. Mitchell for his damages. The city and county are famous for playing the waiting game. They were probably just waiting for Mr. Mitchell to pass away thinking the problem would go away. During one of my lawsuits, the Albemarle Police fought me tooth and nail for 7 years. During this 7 years, two of my best witnesses who could have inflicted the worst damage on those telling repeated lies passed away. One from cancer, and one from a massive heart attack. They were probably hoping I would die too. :)

It DOES make a difference if a police officer is texting a police colleague or supervisor on police business as opposed to, say, repeatedly texting his girlfriend (or her boyfriend) or someone else on issues that are purely personal and/or social. The number and content of those texts by the officer in question have obviously been reviewed by the county.

The county cop received disciplinary action for his "excessive texting" on the day he ran into Gerry Mitchell. Given that's it's extremely unlikely the officer would be disciplined for perfectly appropriate texting, then it seems likely that his texts were not germane to police work.

One has to wonder if and when those texts will become available.

As Buford T. Justice said, what's the dang Germans got to do with it? :)

I can't honestly recall the last time I have seen a cop driving down the road that wasn't on a cell phone.

Resident-- you say you see a red "do not walk" hand. You've got better eyes that me. I see there is some red -- but you do know, right, that the red hand goes up for two-thirds of the PERMISSIBLE crossing period --together with a number counting down, at the end of which there is only the hand. But again, all I can see is some vague red.

I find it unbelievable as a personal friend of Mr. Mitchell's, that anyone would suspect this man of framing an officer. His health has suffered enormously from that accident, as well as his peace and state of mind. The officer threw him roughly back into the wheelchair (with his music still blaring from the police car) and then followed him to the emergency room to give him a ticket. He was in the hospital for weeks! Unreal that Mr. Longo said there were no witnesses when it's right there on the video! What is this world coming to when horrible incidents like this are being questioned by people who have nothing better to do!

I admit, I don't know all the correct details of this case, so I just stated what I saw. But I will say there are some mean people in Charlottesville! Boy, some of these posts are nasty. My personal experience with the Chville PD has been a positive one. When someone broke into my home, they were there. I hope Mr. Mitchell is ok and I hope some people who post here sign up for anger management classes.

"PS -- I don't represent him, though he is a high school friend from about 40 years ago."
The Jan 3,2008 Hook says Lloyd Snook is his attorney representing him

From the phone transcripts:

OMG!1! WTF!!


Just Knocked over wheelie dude! OMG OMG!


IKNORITE? LOL IM so screwed!

>Chill. Just say you were on gang patrol...


> & tell ur dept u knocked over an 8trey Rolling Crip

OMFG! Hax! UR Genius!


BRB, paperwork!


If everyone ignores the random and ignorant Canadian stalker of Cville periodical comment sections, "Frank Speaker," will he go away?

Hey, "Just an old friend. . . "

Lloyd said he DOES not represent Mitchell -- not that he never did. Difference in present and past tenses.

Dear gasbag, I did go to bed and slept quite well. When I woke to a new day nothing had changed. The only difference between you and I is that I don't sleep at the wheel or on the keyboard. Nothing that transpires within a taxpayer backed law enforcement organization is above citizen purview, if it is, this is what happens. Citizens don't trust cops. They make they're bed. they can step in it. If you want to look the other way fine, but thats not citizenship, what we have left of it. Do you actually believe the Patriot Act is in our best interest?

Mow, I was joking with you. You can stay up as late you like tonight. :)

If you are under the impression that I am pro crooked cop or pro stupid cop, you must be new around here. I am on the radar of many local rookies because they think I file complaints on their questionable actions. There is no legitimate basis for them to feel this is true, just the usual gossip and rumors back and forth amongst the rookies. They have publicly stated that I am a thorn in their butts. A few more public statements like this and I might just show them once again what a thorn in their butts I can be. You know the sad part here? Most cops with anywhere from 15 to 25 years on the job agree with everything I say when I point questiobale acts by this new breed of rookie out here on the streets.

I thought it was policy for the cops around here to be talking on their cellphone or texting while they drove. I even figured they qualified with their weapons with a cellphone in their "off-hand". The officers around here are the most complacent I have ever seen. They need to spend a few weeks in LA or with MetroDade and wake up, and pay attention to what's going on around them. Not talking or texting trying to keep their disfunctional personal relationships going....

Pedestrians always have the right of way in crosswalks at unsignalized intersections. At signalized intersections, they must also obey the signal and wait their turn like everyone else at the light. So, pedestrians do not ALWAYS have the right of way. Whichever American has the green light, no matter how they are travelling, has the right-of-way, otherwise traffic signals are pointless and we may as well take them all down and simply take our chances. I see many people in all modes of travel take a "guess" that they have a clear path just because some cars are stopped, and go against a red light when in fact they can't see the green light from one approach that puts them in danger. I am surprised there aren't more of these collisions. If there is a traffic signal, don't guess, wait your turn, no matter how you are travelling on any given day.

That sounds sweet, Anthony. But Charlottesville has a screw loose in reference to the way they install and time traffis vs pedestrian signals. The simple fix is for all motorized traffic to have a RED light while a pedestrian has the WALK sign.

Just like the intersection where this crash took place, 2nd Street NW traffic turning right onto East Market Street has a green light at the same time pedestrians get a WALK signal. On The other hand, if you are sitting in front of Fellini's to turn right and go towards Lee Park, the pedestrian also gets a WALK signal at the time cars turning right get a GREEN light. This particular intersection is double dangerous to pedestrians. So, I say this, run over a pedestrian and tell the judge/jury you had a green light and see what happens. At these intersections a pedestrian would never get across the street if they yield to cars with GREEN lights.

Bottom line..... a driver has the obligation to make sure the path he is directing his 4,500 pound car in is clear of anything, especially a human being. To proceed without exercising caution is reckless driving whether whether a pedestrian has a WALK signal or not. And it's inexcusable to not see somebody as big as Mr. Mitchell in something as big as a motorized wheelchair.

The only way the cops in this town could be more oblivious as they drive around would be if they were drunk.


I strongly suggest you review the law in the State of Virginia.

You rarely see a cop driving without a cell phone to their damn ear...............then they blame "us" for using the cell phone while driving.

Oh, I forgot- "they are professionals......"

Old Timer- great point!! and thanks for the information............

In the words of the founding Father, TJ. Here we follow truth wherever it may lead.....
Fess -up and C'ville stop making this poor man suffer!! Waiting for him to die as a result of these aggravated issues will only demonstrate a certain callousness that has been an undercurrent in historically in C'ville's tainted history, especially as it relates to the African American community. ...Need I remind you of "He'll no we won't go" or the Vinegalr Hill Urban removable project!,

SO someone in C'ville needs to loose this ugly chapter. it is costing so many people so much more than the original suit request! Do the right thing by Gerry and the New Jefferson School Project!,

Tell the truth and move on!,,