Henrico police officer found not guilty on all charges

Published: Oct. 28, 2016 at 5:33 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 29, 2016 at 12:37 AM EDT
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HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - A jury has found a Henrico Police officer accused of shooting a woman in a car last year not guilty on all charges.

Officer Joel Greenway was cleared on all charges for shooting a woman while checking on a suspicious car.  The verdict came down after ten hours of deliberations.

It was an emotional afternoon for both sides. While Officer Greenway's family is relieved, the shooting victim's family says they are devastated by the jury's decision.

"I just feel like there's no justice," says John McNeil who is Kimberly McNeil's, the shooting victim, cousin. "With all the evidence that went against this guy, I can't see how they found him not guilty."

In December 2015, Officer Greenway was in uniform investigating a suspicious car parked at the Exxon station on Nine Mile Road.  McNeil was the passenger, her then boyfriend Robert Davis was the driver.  Evidence shows Greenway spotted drugs in the car and gave commands for them to put their hands up.

Both sides agreed Davis did not comply when given commands to put his hands up and put the car in gear.  But Davis says it was because he had no idea who was outside the car and nobody ever identified themselves as police.  The defense pointed out that Greenway was in uniform.

There was no dispute that Officer Greenway fired his weapon at the Exxon station on Nine Mile Road back in December 2015 or that the passenger Kimberly McNeil was shot several times. The officer says Davis tried to run him over. Greenway says he feared for his life and fired his gun aiming it at Davis, but hit McNeil instead.

Prosecutors said the officer's actions were unreasonable, while the defense said he was doing his job. Prosecutors say they respect the jury's decision.

"This office and the police took the matter incredibly seriously and gave it 110 percent to do what was believed to be the right approach," says Henrico Commonwealth Attorney Shannon Taylor.  When asked if her office believes it made the right decision to prosecute the officer she answered, "Absolutely."

Officer Greenway and his family left the court without comment, but his lawyer did talk.

"It's been a really unusual case," says defense lawyer Peter Buruch.  "It's been emotional for the whole family.  They've been scared and they're just relieved. I think he worked hard out there and he was out there for the citizens of the county."

McNeil still has a civil suit making its way through federal court. She's suing for $75-milion. The jury of five white men, four white women, 2 black women and one black man began deliberating the case around 12:45 p.m. on Thursday. Greenway faced malicious wounding, firing into an occupied vehicle and using a firearm in the commission of a felony.

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