Homicide

Officer acquitted in shooting death of mentally ill man

  • Michael Edington, center, a Norfolk, Va., police officer, speaks to his attorney, Jeffrey Swartz, right, outside of Norfolk Circuit Court on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016, in Norfolk, Va. A jury had just acquitted Edington of voluntary manslaughter in the shooting death of a mentally ill black man with a knife. (AP Photo/Ben Finley)

    Michael Edington, center, a Norfolk, Va., police officer, speaks to his attorney, Jeffrey Swartz, right, outside of Norfolk Circuit Court on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016, in Norfolk, Va. A jury had just acquitted Edington of voluntary manslaughter in the shooting death of a mentally ill black man with a knife. (AP Photo/Ben Finley)  (The Associated Press)

  • Michael Edington, a Norfolk, Va., police officer, embraces his attorney on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016, in Norfolk, Va. A jury had just acquitted Edington of voluntary manslaughter in the shooting death of a mentally ill black man with a knife. (AP Photo/Ben Finley)

    Michael Edington, a Norfolk, Va., police officer, embraces his attorney on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016, in Norfolk, Va. A jury had just acquitted Edington of voluntary manslaughter in the shooting death of a mentally ill black man with a knife. (AP Photo/Ben Finley)  (The Associated Press)

A jury in Virginia has acquitted a white police officer of voluntary manslaughter in the shooting death of a mentally ill black man with a knife.

The not guilty verdict was handed down Thursday for Norfolk police Officer Michael Edington. The 27-year-old was accused of using excessive force when he shot 35-year-old David Latham in June 2014.

Prosecutors argued that Latham held the knife at his side without advancing or retreating from Edington. The officer shot him several times.

Edington testified that Latham threatened violence, moved the knife and made a small step as if to attack, news outlets reported.

Latham suffered from schizophrenia. His family had called 911 after an argument broke out and Latham grabbed a knife.

Since the shooting, Edington has been on administrative duty.