Commonwealth’s Attorney: Officer indicted as part of excessive force investigation

Commonwealth’s Attorney: Officer indicted as part of excessive force investigation

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney Collette McEachin announced Friday that one case of alleged excessive force against police will be going to trial.

“Our office and the criminal justice system will treat non-officers and officers equally,” McEachin said.

Since 2016, 53 excessive force cases were referred for review. McEachin says 33 out of the 53 referrals were reviewed to determine whether there was excessive use of force.

“They will be treated the way everyone else is treated,” McEachin said.

It was determined that officers acted without excessive force in 17 of the 33 referrals.

Eleven of the remaining 16 cases did not go forward due to either a lack of cooperation by the complainant or insufficient evidence of criminal intent, or both.

One of the 16 referrals involved cross-warrants and both parties declined to proceed against each other, according to the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office.

“There was sufficient evidence to present four cases based on the case of excessive force to the grand jury,” McEachin said.

In two of the four cases, the Richmond Grand Jury found a lack of probable cause.

Of the two remaining cases, one was nolle prossed in June 2020 when the complainant failed to appear in court.

The remaining case is set for trial in August 2020. Police confirm that officer Lance Falkena, with the Richmond Police Department, is currently on administrative duty. Court records show he is charged with assault and battery from an incident in December 2019, meaning the case is not connected to any of the city’s recent protests.

“It’s the right thing to do and I think it’s a step In the right direction,” Mike Jones said.

Richmond City Councilman Mike Jones says he believes this will help with some community concerns.

“The public has a right to know who’s serving them. They have a right to know the issues they are facing.” Jones said. “Anything we can do in the area of transparency will help us rebuild, heal and move in the next direction,” Jones said.

As for this policy change, McEachin will not release names of officers involved in past incidents or if they have not been charged. We will continue to work to find information on the case set for trial next month.

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