Man sues Richmond mug shot newspaper for defamation - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Man sues Richmond mug shot newspaper for defamation


A local man is suing the popular Richmond magazine Gotcha! for publishing his photo. Dwaine Tolliver says, his photo should never have appeared in the paper.

According to his lawsuit, Tolliver appeared in issue 70 on April 28th, 2012. Gotcha! published his picture and reported that Tolliver had been arrested for assault and battery.

Tolliver calls the allegations "false and defamatory" and demands the past and present owners of Gotcha!, Media General and World Media Enterprise, Inc, pay money in damages.

Tolliver also names former Richmond Police Chief Bryan Norwood in the lawsuit because the police department distributes mug shots as public documents.

Tolliver's lawsuit alleges, "Norwood...provided the false and defamatory information on Tolliver to the Gotcha Paper."

NBC12 legal analyst Steve Benjamin says, Tolliver only has a case if he wasn't arrested on the charge that was published in the paper.

"No matter how you feel about a publication like Gotcha!, it's not defamation if it's true and accurate," said Benjamin. "You cannot imply something to be true that isn't if it injures somebody's character or reputation."

A search of online court records shows, a Dwaine Tolliver was arrested for assault on a police officer in November 2011. The charge was dropped.

NBC12 spoke to Tolliver over the phone but he wouldn't say if he was ever arrested or talk about the lawsuit.

Tolliver is demanding $250,000 in damages.

NBC12 reached out to Media General, World Media Enterprises, the Richmond Police Department and the City of Richmond because they are all named in Tolliver's lawsuit. No one wanted to comment on the pending lawsuit.

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