Jury Rules Against County Police in Shooting

Today a Charlottesville jury awarded $4.5M to the family of a man killed by police at Squire Hill in 1997, Liesel Nowak reports for the Daily Progress. Twenty-six year-old Frederick Gray was unarmed when fighting with police after they entered his home. They attempted to subdue him with pepper spray and a baton, but police said that he had incapacitated three of the four officers and the remaining officer was forced to shoot and kill him. Sgt. Amos Chiarappa had previously come out on the winning end of a civil trial in 2003 and was even cleared by police.

The case pitted well-known local attorney Debbie Wyatt, who argued that there was a racial component to the case (given the the victim was black and the officers were all white), against Sen. Mark Obenshain, who argued that the inconsistencies in the case did not merit ruling against the officer. Obenshain was elected to the 26th District (in the valley) in 2003. His sister stepped down this week as chair of the Republican Party of Virginia, and their father was a powerful and well-known Republican leader in the state until his 1978 death in a plane crash.

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