Charge dropped, Mitchell hospitalized
This morning, the jaywalking charge against Gerry Mitchell, the wheelchair pedestrian who was ticketed in the hospital emergency room after being struck by a police cruiser, was officially dropped in Charlottesville District Court. Mitchell, however, wasn't there to hear the good news.
On New Year's Eve he was readmitted to the University of Virginia hospital, where doctors are struggling to find the reason his joints have swelled, causing him disabling pain, according to his younger brother, Corky Mitchell. The younger Mitchell moved to Charlottesville five years ago to care for his 54-year-old brother, who has suffered from HIV/AIDs for the past 26 years, and has been wheelchair bound for the last several years after drug treatments made his leg bones too brittle to support him.
Mitchell's latest health downturn comes the same week that an exhibition of his artwork is set to open at the Mudhouse coffee shop on the Downtown Mall. Corky Mitchell hung his brother's paintings on New Year's Eve day but says that Gerry Mitchell "is not doing well" and most likely will not be able to attend the First Friday reception tomorrow night.
In a hearing lasting about one minute this morning, the Charlottesville Commonwealth's Attorney argued, as expected, to judge Robert H. Downer that the "red hand" crosswalk signal Mitchell was accused of violating did not apply to the statute under which he was charged.
The officer whose vehicle struck Mitchell has not been charged, and the case has caused an uproar over the propriety of police actions. None of the officers involved participated in this morning's hearing.