Wheelchair pedestrian case continued

One month after he was struck by a police cruiser in a crosswalk– and then ticketed– artist Gerry Mitchell appeared in Charlottesville District Court this morning to face charges of failing to obey a pedestrian signal. The only problem: the court case had been continued, and no one had notified Mitchell.

"We just really didn't know what was to be expected today," says Mitchell's brother, Corky Mitchell. "We've never been in court before, so it was a little confusing."

Corky Mitchell moved to Charlottesville in 2001 to care for big brother Gerry, who was diagnosed with HIV in 1981 and full blown AIDS in 1996.

An artist who by his own estimation has raised at least $100,000 for charities through his benefit shows in the last several years, Gerry Mitchell's health has long been precarious. Drugs he takes to control AIDS have made his bones so brittle his legs break when he walks; he has suffered several strokes; and his kidneys are failing.

But even so, Mitchell, 53, has been able to paint daily, something his younger brother believes has helped keep his spirits up even through years of poor health.

"He manages to laugh about it somehow," says Corky Mitchell, 48, who calls his brother an "inspiration."

Gerry Mitchell was on his way home from Reid's supermarket on Preston Avenue on Monday, November 5 around 10am. He waited for the traffic signal at West Main and Fourth streets to change, then wheeled into the intersection. Albemarle County Police Officer Gregory C. Davis, turning left onto West Main, struck Mitchell's wheelchair from behind, throwing him face down in the street.

In the month since the accident, Corky Mitchell says, his brother's health has declined. He was hospitalized the day after the accident in renal failure; his right shoulder was injured during the accident, possibly when Officer Davis and a witness lifted him from the street back into his wheelchair. The injury to Mitchell's shoulder now makes it hard, if not impossible, for Mitchell to paint.

"All these conditions have been whittling away at him for years," says Corky Mitchell, but the accident "is like a chunk taken out of him."

"I'm a happy guy. I have a great sense of humor, I love life, and I love Charlottesville," says Gerry Mitchell, who graduated from Lane High School and moved back to Charlottesville after living in California and abroad. "I've done as much as I can to contribute to the community."

Mitchell says the pain from the accident has made it hard to remain upbeat.

"If I didn't have this messed up right arm, I'd be a lot better about this," he says. "I'm still angry, and I'm trying to deal with it."

Mitchell's case has been continued to Thursday, January 3 at 9am.

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87 comments

Good point. It's done.

HowManyMore, your link also shows how the open laptop could create blind spots on the right hand side of the windshield. Especially with some of the short midget cops running around out there now.

Requiem, most government agencies state an employee can't make any statements when a mishap takes place. The officer who ran over Mr. Mitchell must have forgotten this when he jumped out of the car and said he was looking down and didn't see the wheelchair in front of him.

that's ok WTF 2 or 3 or 4 will know I am referring to them. thx

Liberal_NOT! , WTF2 is not WTF.

I am always amazed how supposedly intelligent always believe what they read in a newspaper is total, encompassing fact. It is not a fact that the police officer was "looking down." It is not a fact that Mr. Mitchell was IN the pedestrian crosswalk. It is not a fact that the sign was actually displaying
Don't Walk" when either the police officer approached the intersectopm or when Mr. Mitchell did. It is not a fact that the officer and a bystander helped Mr. Mitchell back into his wheel chair. These are stories that need verification. It is a fact, I've found, that people believe mostly what they chose to believe.

I agree, CVille Eye. After reading the weather report just now, it's not a fact that we might get some snow this weekend. It's also not a fact that we might get some accumulation of ice as well. It's also not a fact that the sun won't shine brightly on Saturday and Sunday. But it appears as if all of this is true right now. Because the weather forecasters have no interest in the long range outcome... and they have no reason to LIE to us.

Even after a trial, we still don't the truth. Mr. Mitchell will state the officer apolgized and admitted he was looking down and not paying attention. It appears as if the cop is going to deny making this statement now? Will the video show the cop apologizing to Mr Mitchell? Or did the cop turn the video off after he ran over Mr Mitchell? The video might show Mitchell was crossing against a red Don't Walk sign. But will the video show he was in the crosswalk before it turned to the red Don't Walk? Mr Mitchell says a witness attempted to give him contact information and a cop physically snatched it from him. What will this cop (if identified) testify to? Will the cop deny it, or will the cop simply say Mitchell has no right to have anybody's contact information? If the "struggle" part Mitchell claims took place is true it's actually an assault and battery upon Mr. Mitchell by a cop. And this assault and battery has nothing to do with who's fault the accident was. It sounds like "Protect & Serve" to me allright.... they will *protect* a fellow law enforcement agancy, and *serve* the contact information into the nearest trash can later in the day. What else can we believe right now when both cop shoppes circle the wagons and refuse to make any statements whatsoever? Unlike the Silva/Austin case, it appears the cops attempted to hide the identity of potential witnesses from the victim if what Mr Mitchell says is true. Why can't Longo step up to the plate and state none of his officers snatch3ed any contact information from Mitchell's hands during a "struggle" with him.

Sick Of The Local Rambos, thanks for supporting my point. When one's argument is supported by a bunch of "ifs," it speaks of uncertainty.

Therefore, it is up to the courts to determine the percentages of liability for the insurance pay out. I don't know what the county calls it, but the City socks millions away in its Risk Management to cover these types of expenses. If the pedestrian was not in the crosswalk, for example, then he will share in the liabilty, whether people in the public feels sorry for him or not. When a friend of mine was struck by a car at Ridge/Monticello fifteen years ago, nobody received a ticket. Although the intersection was not marked and there was no light, the driver's insurance assumed all liability. If my friend had contributed, he would have received fewer dollars. That's the way the insurance works. It doesn't matter if the driver wails at the moon or gnash his teeth, the insurance companies and courts judge by different criteria. So, Sick, the courts will decide which rules were broken by whom and assign degrees of liability. I know that many wish to blame only one, but maybe that's why they are not hired as judges. There is a legal system here at work and not a lot of pre-judging.

Of course there are different rules, CVille Eye. If a red & white flashing "Walk/Don't Walk" pedestrian signals are present, pedestrians are suppose to do as the signals direct them. At intersections without the flashing signs, the pedestrian always has the right of way. At the same time though there's almost never an excuse for any driver to not see a man in a wheelchair in his path in broad daylight. The exceptions to this are obviously very tall trucks where the driver is sitting up pretty high. And maybe open laptops creating a blind spot on the right side of a windshield, as in cop cars. Or if a cop steps out after running over somebody and admits he was looking down and wasn't paying attention to where he was going. :)

CE, we are OT but what the hay. The alleged WMD's and lab-on-wheels are all in the same place...in Dick's, Bush's & Wolfy's imagination. Like lost children most believed their tales, the deaths and debt is history in the making now.

But I bet if you incinerated the WMD in your basement they would also be gone...dont you think? I believe the UN did some monitoring also...not of your basement but of Iraq to be sure they were destroyed.

CVille Eye, the story/debate isn't about really about whose at fault or how much in damages should be payed to whom. It's about the appearance that one police agency crossed the line of common decency in order to protect another police agency. I in particular haven't said one word about how much one should have to pay the other.

I find it interesting that the police appear to go out of their way to ticket an individual who was in the cross walk, when they made such an issue of writing citations on drivers who failed to stop for pedestrians in the corner area a few weeks ago. Of course I also find it interesting to observe on more than one occasion, uniformed officers in marked police vehicles failing to issue citations to vehicles running red lights at the Barracks Rd./Emmett Street and the Rio/29N intersections. Yes our officers are overworked and not paid nearly enough, but I have to wonder about the "way things are" when they want traffic cameras but, won't write tickets when they observe violations. When it seems there has to be at least 3 officers for a simple traffic stop (I could understand 2 - one for backup) or there are 3 or 4 marked police vehicles parked in Hardees lot on a regular basis - I wonder whether this contributes to the lack of police coverage in certian areas.

I am beginning to think there must be different rules for pedestrian right-of-way at intersections with traffic lights and pedestrian signals and without.

Why are most of you on this blog convicting the officer (s) before you know all of the facts? You haven't seen the video, you haven't heard from Police, you are just trusting that everything a reporter writes or suggests is true or the whole story. And just because a reporter calls and asks questions before something has a chance to be heard in court doesn't mean that police or anyone has to answer their questions, and if they don't it doesn't mean that they are hiding anything. We are not entitled to be the judge or the jury.

Three cheers for honest cops.

Dishonest cops, on the other hand, are in a position to do an incredible amount of damage, and they are worse than criminals.

If cops want to be respected, they should take it upon themselves to rid their profession of dishonest cops.

Mr/Mrs/Ms One S, two T's, here's a real black helicopter tale I just came across. The lying POS SOB is now up on 12 perjury charges, 7 years possible on each charge. Don't ever assume he's just the ONE bad apple in the barrel. :)

-------------------------------

Friday, Dec 7, 2007
Posted on Thu, Dec. 06, 2007

Recording nets criminal charges for NY detective
By TOM HAYS

A teenage suspect who secretly recorded his interrogation on an MP3 player has landed a veteran detective in the middle of perjury charges, authorities said Thursday.

Unaware of the recording, Detective Christopher Perino testified in April that the suspect "wasn't questioned" about a shooting in the Bronx, a criminal complaint said. But then the defense confronted the detective with a transcript it said proved he had spent more than an hour unsuccessfully trying to persuade Erik Crespo to confess - at times with vulgar tactics.

Once the transcript was revealed in court, prosecutors asked for a recess, defense attorney Mark DeMarco said. The detective was pulled from the witness stand and advised to get a lawyer.

Perino, 42, was arraigned Thursday on 12 counts of first-degree perjury and faces as many as seven years on each count, prosecutors said. He was released on $15,000 bail.

His attorney did not immediately respond to a telephone message seeking comment Thursday. A New York Police Department spokesman declined to comment.

The allegations "put the safety of all law-abiding citizens at risk because they undermine the integrity and foundation of the entire criminal justice system," District Attorney Robert Johnson said in a statement.

Perino had arrested Crespo on New Year's Eve 2005 while investigating the shooting of a man in an elevator. While in an interrogation room at a station house, Crespo, then 17, stealthily pressed the record button on the MP3 player, a Christmas gift, DeMarco said.

"I couldn't believe my ears," said the lawyer, who decided to keep the recording under wraps until he cross-examined Perino at the trial.

It does not have to be causal but contributing. I drive through the intersection at 4th and Main frequently and I believe it is somewhat dangerous. The judge will decide just how dangerous.
"...I am entitled to express my qualified opinion." Since you (and others) were not there and did not witness under what circumstances the incident (I don't call these reasonably preventable incidents "accidents") occurred, how can you have a "qualified" opinion? And are you saying that your opinion should mandate that "The county should step up and do the right thing for Mr. Mitchell" And what is "the right thing for Mr. Mitchell?"

Crime has risen in our town, people are busting into our homes, stealing things from our cars. Innocent people are being shot in their own homes. And now the cops are running over people in wheelchairs and slapping down pregnant women. What the heck is going on y'all?

For the love of all that's holy, what the hell is going on in this town? Has everyone completely lost their minds?

You run a disabled man down and then you ticket him? You almost run over a pregnant woman, and then you bring her up on charges?

I was taught that it's the driver's responsibility to keep an eye out for all pedestrians in crosswalks. Failure to do so would be my fault completely, barring extenuating/bizarre circumstances.

Why did Officer Grisson issue this ticket? Why didn't he tell the Alb Co officer to go get stuffed?

Tim Longo, you'd best get your house in order ASAP!

Rambo--ironically, I have the same generally decent feeling about the seasoned Grissom and was surprised he was involved. Both the honesty (we'll see who he testifies told him to give the ticket--that'll be the test), but also about following orders. Unfortunately (but perhaps one must at the CPD to survive as he has) one must "follow orders," which has a certain Nuremburgish nuance. I would have liked to see him tell the authority who ordered him to shove it, or words to that effect. Disappointed in him, frankly.

Officer Davis should have known from his training not to grab and move an injured person. It is one of the most basic things in first aid. He has presumably worked traffic accidents and observed the care the rescue squad uses when moving accident victims.

And this summons...look at the arrest location....UVa ER.

Soon the judges will lose respect for officers here, and in particular Dave Chapman. You would think he would have enough sense to stop this prosecution.

Throw Chapman out at the next election. He's probably not as bad as Camblos but just for this prosecution, there is not enough good he can do to make up for it.

I'm the former and original WTF. I see that the idiot WTF2 has piggybacked off my name in posting his ignorant drivel.

WTF2, even though I don't know Officer Davis personally, I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt that he's a stand-up guy and feels bad about hitting a pedestrian, much less one in a wheelchair. But, as Vic Wilson noted, he made a terrible mistake in moving Mr Mitchell. Everyone knows not to do that, especially if the victim is already disabled. I hope you'll encourage your friend to be honorable and honest about what was discussed in the minutes immediately after the accident.

But can't you understand that there is a terrible injustice being committed here against Mr Mitchell? Perhaps Officer Davis was merely the catalyst for everything else that occurred after the initial impact. But Mr Mitchell's being cited is incredibly and extraordinarily WRONG. Once again, I ask you, how would you feel if this were your Mom or Dad, or your child? I promise you, you would be outraged.

Vic Wilson is 100% right about moving an accident victim. I'll bet Officer Davis was frightened and that's why he acted impulsively perhaps. But now is not the time to circle the wagons.

I'd like to know the name of the officer who made the "blind spot" comment, and the name of the officer who made he decision to issue the ticket. Courtney, do you know?

Freida, please post here to let us know how we can help Mr Mitchell.

Sick Of The Local Rambos, do you think the City or County is going to sue itself? Of course, Mr. Mitchell has an avenue of redress, it's call a civil suit.

If the man was in a crosswalk with a green light, isn't that protection enough?
I've "heard" the video shows that he did not push the button to get a pedestrian right of way. Technically, he was not a pedestrian, being in a motorized wheelchair - but how is this man ever going to cross a street if he can't do it on a green light in a crosswalk?

Thanks, B. It seems a judge is going to have to sort this out, if paragraphs 3 and 5 come into play.

Hey B, is there some reasson you think that law applies to poice cars? :)

Look at the Code of Virginia, 46.2-924 section B:

B. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection A of this section, at intersections or crosswalks where the movement of traffic is being regulated by law-enforcement officers or traffic control devices, the driver shall yield according to the direction of the law-enforcement officer or device.

No pedestrian shall enter or cross an intersection in disregard of approaching traffic.

The drivers of vehicles entering, crossing, or turning at intersections shall change their course, slow down, or stop if necessary to permit pedestrians to cross such intersections safely and expeditiously.

Pedestrians crossing highways at intersections shall at all times have the right-of-way over vehicles making turns into the highways being crossed by the pedestrians.

http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?000+cod+46.2-924

I can't spell this morning. I meant to say...

Hey B, is there some reason you think that law applies to police cars? :)

WTF2, give us a name. We can check the court docket to see if what you say really took place or not.

EVERYONE-
Another citizen received the same type ticket in Charlottesville recently. The person was also crossing in a wheel chair and was hit by a citizen not a cop. Now What? Consistency is taking place. I guess you bleeding hear liberals will find something else to bitch about. FYI- Officer Gardner?? wrote that ticket.

WTF, Can you give us more details about the incident since you are providing this partial account? Was the citizen turning into a crosswalk or in the flow of traffic? Thanks! I'll refrain from labeling you since I dont know you. ;)

Bleeding Hearts-

Check it out for yourself. You all are the ones saying " if you or I hit someone crossing in a wheelchair you know who would get the ticket"

Knowledge is power... too bad you people are lacking both. Shallow cop haters is all you are. Don't like them unless you need them. If you all what to look into the other wheel chair accident... look up Officer C. Garner's traffic cases in the City Clerks Office. I guess this one wouldn't matter to you all though. He does'nt have AIDS and a cop didn't hit him.

Question- If MItchell is so bad off why was he out alone? I understand all that independant argument, but really. How do we know he wasn't out of it and the time this happened? You people love a good cop story around here. Too much complaining and not enough public input and help. You have the answers... share them by getting involved and stop being a Monday morning quarterback.

That's pathetic. If Mr. Mitchell had been accompanied then there would have been two people struck. Officer Davis, by his own admission, was not paying attention. He didn't see Mr. Mitchell, he didn't see the "Don't Walk" light and he wouldn't have seen two people.

I am not a cop hater. There are police officers who are very upset about what has happened and have told me that they think the officer who hit Mr. Mitchell should have been charged with reckless driving. They also made it clear that they fear for their jobs if their opinion is publicly linked to their name.

quote >> "The bottom line is that both police departments are corrupt and this is just one glimpse of some of the stuff that goes on."

You have no idea how correct you are. A now retired judge once retired to chambers and said to his baliff, "I can't believe the entire chain of command just came into my courtroom and lied under oath!" He was obviously speaking of a local police department. I still believe he retired because he couldn't tolerate sitting in court listening to lies from cops every day.

WTF2,
Your tone, and your references to all of us "bleeding hearts" who would like to see some accountability (do conservatives not expect that publicly-funded departments be held accountable for mistakes?) do your friend Officer Davis no favors. The fact that you two are friends, and you come on here and say these things, makes me assume he's just as rude and ignorant as you are.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to see more investigation into an accident like this. Officer Davis admitted he was looking down when he struck Mitchell. None of us are perfect drivers and I know accidents happen, and I know I'm guilty of inattentiveness occasionally when I drive. But I also expect that if a cop observes me driving badly, or if I cause an accident, that I will be ticketed and could potentially lose my license and/or pay a fine and/or go to jail.

If Mr. Mitchell truly was crossing on a don't walk signal, then yes, you can argue that he was partly at fault for the accident. However, there's no way to suggest that Officer Davis was not at fault as well, if he was, as he admitted, looking down. There's no reason why he couldn't have seen a guy in a wheelchair crossing in broad daylight if he'd been paying attention to the road.

OJ was innocent. The jury said so.

Anyone who believes otherwise has no faith in our criminal justice system. :)

Cville_BlindEye,
You are obviously were not part of the masses that believed there were NO WMD in Iraq were you. lol Come on be honest, did you or didn't you? No matter what your answer it doesnt matter because I am reading your reply and were not with you before the invasion to really know. Also OJ, he didnt have anything to do with Nichol & Ron being killed. We just chose to think what the media wanted us to think. Amazing how "people believe mostly what they chose to believe". ;)

One thing for certain: Anyone so incompetent as to strike a pedestrian, walking or wheeling, in a crosswalk should not be driving a motor vehicle. Add the fact that Albemarle County Police Officer Gregory C. Davis is supposed to set an exemplary example of motor vehicle skills and you have a recipe for disaster.

The aforementioned officer needs Remedial Officer Advanced Road Skills 101, or ROADS 101 for short. Officer Davis you should pay particular attention to this chapter in the manual: Crosswalks and Pedestrians. I suggest some practice pedaling through crosswalks on a tricycle, advancing to moped and eventually trying it again with your police cruiser. Or, perhaps even better, we strap you in a wheelchair for a day, put you in a busy city, make you cross dozens of crosswalks, and, hopefully, induce a new perspective into your cranium.

Liberal_NOT!, what actually happened to the WMD that were observed to be in Iraq as late as 1996? Did they evaporate? Since I spend a great deal of my time looking for things that are not there, I know that just because I can't find them they are not in the house. OJ went to court as will this incident.
Free Speech, please comment more frequently.

To all,
The main issue here is safety in the crosswalks. What the 2 police departments have done is criminalize pedestrians in crosswalks because the pedestrian's timing was off. This wasn't J-walking!
It is now open season on pedestrians and we can hit any man, woman or child in a crosswalk IF we see the red hand they must now yield to us. No more waiting for a child to cross...hit the gas and mow them down! Crosswalks were designed as a green-zone for those without bumpers, since being in one at the wrong time is now a crime, what message are the corrupt police departments sending? Do they care? Apparently not, as their silence demonstrates.
It is unfortunate and even comical we need to discuss an issue as absurd this due to the obvious negligence and aggressive reaction of our police departments.

CE,
As for the WMD, 2003-1996 = seven years of change. Stale intel and ignoring reality is no excuse.

"If an individual accepts corruption then he is party to the crime." I am curious to know how Davis "accepted corruption."

Whoa don't crucify Davis.

If he is guilty of anything it would be a driving charge. He actually apologized on the spot according to a witness.

It wasn't until later that the LEADERSHIP of the departments got involved that things got ugly.

It was actually CHARLOTTESVILLE PD that issued the summons. Who knows, Davis may not have been in favor of the summons, and he didn't issue it.

My guess is that higher-ups in both departments came up with this crazy idea that they could avoid liability by establishing fault with Mitchell, since Virginia is a contributory negligence state.

Ironically, the police departments chosen method of damage control here will ultimately backfire on them.

Cville Eye:

¢Ã¢â??¬Ã?â??If an individual accepts corruption then he is party to the crime.¢Ã¢â??¬ I am curious to know how Davis ¢Ã¢â??¬Ã?â??accepted corruption.¢Ã¢â??¬

Yes, I am, too!

Was it when he callously stuck the gentleman in his wheel chair with his police cruiser, thought to cover his on buttocks, or only after the Charlottesville Police Department made a decision to cover its on broad buttocks.

I think the citizens that pay the salary of the crosswalk felon also want to know when Albemarle County Police Officer Gregory C. Davis became a dope for the department. I'm not sure I could sleep at night after mowing down a citizen and dodging responsibility.

Albemarle County Police Officer Gregory C. Davis please step up to the plate, become a man, admit your fault and accept the consequences. Mitchell's acquittal and the ensuing lawsuit are inevitable.

Bigmom, I think you mean Arby's Roast Beef at Barracks Road and Emmett Street. The cops get food half price at Arby's. If you pay $2.69 for a roast beef sandwich, the cops pays $1.35 for the same sandwich. That is why you see 3, 4 or 5 cars sitting there at the same time. There's probably other unmarked cars sitting there you don't even recognize as police cars. They go in with badge on belt and gun in plain view and get the same discount.

Liberal_NOT!, yes seven years had passed. 25 years have passed and I still have my pesticides in my basement because they didn't evaporate. Your response still does not tell me where they are.

I am not the judge or lawyer or prosecutor or anyone else connected with the court and I am entitled to express my qualified opinion. The court doesn't give a fig for my "ifs".

I doubt that this accident had anything at all to do with cars parked in front of the restaurant. How would just allowing parking in front of the restaurant cause the accident if there weren't any cars there? Even if there were cars there it's impossible for a parked car to have blocked the drivers view of Mr. Mitchell. Did someone tell you that there was a car there and that the police officers sight was blocked by the car? Or is that suggestion just a wild guess on your part?

I walk down West Main daily and I'm familiar with both the intersection at 4th and West Main and 8th and West Main. Sight lines are excellent at 4th and West Main but you're right, the situatiion at 8th and West Main is more, much more in my opinion, dangerous and it's due to parked cars as well as the lack of a traffic light.

"...the story/debate isn't about really about whose at fault or how much in damages should be payed to whom." I'm sure the injured party cares. Where is the debate? Who has said that the Mr. Mitchell should have been hit? Is bashing being confused with debate?

If this happened as has been described in The Hook (and I believe it) then only one party is truly and completly at fault. If the walk light had been on "WALK", if there had been someone else with Mr. Mitchell or if there had not even been a walk signal the accident still would have happened because the driver was not paying attention. If he didn't see Mr. Mitchell he also would not have seen a "WALK" light or anyone else in the crosswalk. The law and the judge may decide that Mr. Mitchell is partly liable because the walk light was displaying "DONT WALK" but the reality is that the driver's inattention is responsible for this accident. The county should step up and do the right thing for Mr. Mitchell. I hope they do and that it doesn't take forever or a court order.

Mr. Cox, I counted five "ifs." Unfortunately, the court takes some of those ifs seriously. Unfortunately for Mr. Mitchell, you will not be the judge. I feel that the City bears some blame because the configuration of that intersection should prohibit the City's allowing parking in front of the restaurant which obscures the view of drivers and pedestrians. It is almost as dangerous as the intersection of 8th NW and Main. If the judge agrees with me, then he may require the City to 10% or more of the liabilities. That's part of the reason courts exist.

[quote="Vito Giuseppe"] Whoa don't crucify Davis.[/quote]

If an individual accepts corruption then he is party to the crime.

I think it's best to be cautious when reading news storys but there's more to this than facts and stories. What about opinions, unsubstantiated facts, hunches, lies, guesses etc?

The weather forecast is just that, a forecast and so it is a bit different from a news story reporting peoples comments. That the forecast is that it might snow is a fact. It isn't a fact that it WILL snow but it is a fact that the forecast is that it might...or might not. It's really no more than what it claims to be, a forecast. A news story and a weather forecast are not analogous.

I do believe that it is more than a story that an Albemarle County police officer drove into a pedestrian and knocked him out of his wheelchair. How about calling it an unsubstantiated fact? I didn't see it and I only know what the reporter said but I believe the reporter. Do you believe a county police officer drove into Mr. Mitchell and that this is a fact, or at least an unsubstantiated fact, Cville Eye?
It's revealing that you proclaim that your cynical opinion, "...that most people believe what they want to believe" is a fact. That is an opinion and one I share but I can't say it's a fact.

My statement about "most people" is contextually an opinion since I do not know most people, nor have most people been analyzed. I would call it an "unsubstantiated statement." I believed that Iraqi soldiers confiscated the incubators in Kuwait during the first Gulf War and sent to Iraq. It was only in this century did I find out that the media is saying this was a lie told in order to outrage Americans to support the U.S. government's supporting invasion. I've been grossly burned and remain questioning, not necessarily cynical, ever since. It was stupid on my part to think that everything appearing in the "legitimate" media (CBS, NBC, ABC, NPR, BBC) has been verified as truth and not just repeated rumor. Courts do not always do a great job of substantiating statements, but they do a better job than the press. Again, contextually you can tell this is my opinion.

quote >> "IF we see the red hand they must now yield to us."

For some reason seemingly intelligent people can't understand this. It's exactly what Johnny Law has now told us. And it's in writing.

don't you think including the ticket with his personal information a bit much? i mean you have his address, at least blur that part.

Do we really know all the good things cops do for people? They are human too. Sounds like this guy is trying to get a meal ticket. Wake up Charlottesville... more civil litagation here than ANYWHERE IN THE STATE!!

All we have is this guys story. 100,000 to charity as an artist... WHATEVER. Did he prove that to the reporter... sounds pretty in the story. Give the cops a break for God's sake... you hate them til you need them huh?

Of all of the decades I have driven, I have never come close to hitting a pedestrian. I may have to go to court to hear this story for myself. WTF2, I believe there has been a newspaper article about Mr. Mitchell and his artwork before this incident.
http://vsava.blogspot.com/2007/03/congratulations-to-gerry-mitchell.html and
http://www.cavalierdaily.com/CVArticle.asp?ID=12255&pid=865

Kevin,

I don't know whos decision it was to ticket. I have always been told it was the Officer's discretion. I guess ultimately it was his decision. Why didn't the Hook interview that City Officer and find out? I guess something on the video must back up what the City Officer did. We should wait to see it before we judge. Officer Davis is a good officer and a GREAT MAN. I hope I have not offended people on here that bad and I appoligize if I did.

This is just a bad situation and I hate it for both people and the witnesses involved.

Cville eye,

I can see you have never been in a civil case. Private conversations are subject to being subpenoed... Who woke up the village idot anyway?

Rambo,

Do you think this would be as news worthy if if wan't a cop that hit him?

WTF2-

It's precisely the fact that it's a cop that did this that is most disturbing. Police are supposed to protect us. Your friend DID apologize to him right after he had hit him when he first saw Gerry on the ground. He told him that he was sorry and that he had been looking down when he hit him (Gerry will testify under oath about this.) Of course, that later changed when one of the City cops urged him to "Just say he was in your blind spot." This statement was said in Gerry's presence and obviously the City cops did not think Gerry heard it. Blind spot! There is no "blind spot" in your windshield! But apparently the wagons had already begun to circle.

I believe that the officer who did this made a mistake and feels bad about it. He's probably a good guy, too. It's the escalation of events that happened after this negligent act that has many citizens outraged. Do you know that the City cops wanted to take Gerry's chair away from him and they would have but for one of the witnesses who insisted he would need it? That is called tampering with evidence. If your cop friend was any part of that, he should be really upset over this event. Or maybe he already is.

WTF2
If the driver in this incident was not a police officer it would still be newsworthy. It is outrageous to charge the disabled victim in this accident regardless of who was driving the car. I believe the victim and the witness and so I believe that the driver was the ultimate cause of the accident. In fact if the driver hadn't been a police officer he probably would have been charged instead of the victim.

It's my opinion that the victim was charged to protect Albemarle County from a lawsuit. The question I want answered is, who gave the order to ticket the victim? Was it the officer who signed the summons or the shift commander, police chief, Commonwealth's Attorney or someone else? Who puts protecting Albemarle County from a lawsuit above protecting an innocent victim of an inattentive driver?

"I hope I have not offended people on here that bad and I appoligize if I did."
(W)ho's (The) (F)ool (2):
The Village Idiot would like to know if the conversation is held in private, how would anyone know about it in order to know to whom to issue a subpoena?
Find a hollow.

Does anybody know if the driver who killed the policeman/crossing guard Mr. Payne several decades ago was charged with anything?

I imagine insurance will pay after degrees of liability have been established. It may be that the City shares some liability for a poorly designed intersection. Only the courts can determine those degrees.

If you look at the county's pic you see the new snazzy wireless laptops our local police have recently acquired. It may help to explain why they are distracted while driving. So far 1 DOA and 1 wounded pedestrian this year thanks to Albemarle's finest. How many more? This carlessness reflects poorly on the good officers!
Perhaps what is in the pic is what Davis and Greenwood were distracted by before they struck pedestrians???
Great job Miller & Longo you got your bragging right!
http://www.albemarle.org/upload/images/Forms_Center/Departments/Police/F...

SOTLR - I have much love for you brother, but seriously you of all people should not be supporting the conviction of others without due process. Do unto others...

As far as this incident goes...

Mistakes happen, when they do you learn, take your lumps, try to make them right and move on. They make you human, not a bad person.

Grissom is a stand up guy and most supervisors in the city will have your ass if you do not cite someone at a crash. Clearly the person without right of way, despite the circumstances is the only one who can be cited (legally anyway.) Not that this is right, but that's an issue for the city PD command staff and sergeants. I would say go to the chief, but I don't think he's that up to speed on what happens in the trenches.

As far as Officer Davis speaking on record about the incident being the "right thing" to do, I agree, but we also don't live in a world where karma will put food on the table or pay for your kids medical care.

Am I saying that Davis and Grissom would fall prey to SOTLRambos' men in black helicopters and be eliminated, discredited, or otherwise dismissed if they breached the silence? Maybe, but maybe the're not in black helicopters either.

After reading the article about Gerry Mitchell I have 2 things to say.
First: of course the police gave him a ticket...they always do this so that the other party is tainted by being the first to go before the "justice system" so that any future attempt at redress might be perceived as the actions of a "disgruntled" "offender". It's classic CYA behavior and can always be counted on when the police interface with citizens in such a manner.
Second: I don't know Gerry Mitchell, but I have a business near Preston Avenue and have gotten used to seeing an individual who looks just like his pictures driving a motorized wheelchair in the neighborhood, frequently down 4th street to be specific. Anyhow, this person I see operates his chair in a fashion I consider to be risky, frequently riding in the street rather than on the sidewalk. Of course you can't see him when your view is obstructed by higher objects like cars and when you do see him you're taken by surprise to see a guy in a wheelchair in traffic. I almost ran him down myself one evening while driving down 4th. St. It was totally dark and I was going down the hill past the McDonalds towards Main St. and preparing to turn left into the parking lot where The Shebeen is. As I began my turn I was fortunate to catch him in my peripheral vision and avoid hitting him. He was riding that thing full tilt against traffic in the opposite vehicle lane, with no lights on the chair and wearing dark clothing. I have seen him doing this sort of thing before in daylight and have even come abreast of him and told him directly that he was putting himself at risk.

I have no doubt that sidewalks are an obstacle course and it has to be easier to ride in the street, but it's mighty risky. I wonder if he's so well known to me, maybe he's well known to the police and they're trying to make some sort of point to him before he ends up getting killed in traffic.

Adrian Pols

Mr/Mrs/Ms One S, two T's, this is the problem. There is no due process in this case. If any civilian had struck this man in a wheelchair they would have been charged. If I didn't have a pot to piss in or a window to toss it out of, I would go downtown and run into the first pedestrian who ignores the "Don't Walk" signs and steals my right of way, just to prove it to all of you that I would be charged whether there is a "Don't Walk" sign flashing or not. If you're paying attention while driving -- no person runs over a man in a wheelchair whether that person has the right of way or not. So where is this due process you speak of? Now as far as black helicopters, this sounds like something straight out of the CIA's most recent shocker -- destroying taped interogations of two suspected terrorists. Or maybe the coverup that took place for years in the FBI not admitting one of their DNA test procedures was nowhere close to being accurate. That's black helicopter stuff. :)

Do I think the city or county is going to sue themselves? Not sure I understand what you are asking.

The city and county aren't ever going to a damn thing right. Back in 1997, all the county had to do was issue an apology admitting one of their red headed stepchild police rookies made a mistake and lawsuits against them never would have taken place. But no, they circled the wagons and proceeded to lie and deny. They offered up a settlement as soon as the judge set a definite jury trial date for the lawsuits. Even then they insisted upon a sealed settlement so they wouldn't have to appear as if they were issuing an apology over their wrongdoing or paying for their rookie's mistakes.

Dear Officer Davis:

The taxpayers of Albemarle County do not pay taxes to empower you to injure innocent citizens in crosswalks, criminalize the victim and shun responsibility.

I don't care if you have a video tape, I don't care if a light was blinking, I don't care who did what, or said what at the accident scene. If you hit a pedestrian in a crosswalk you are at fault. Period! Everything else is irrelevant.

Have you seen the yellow signs around the city that clearly proclaim, ¢Ã¢â??¬Ã?â??State Law Yield to Pedestrian within Crosswalk¢Ã¢â??¬? Officer Davis, what part of that statement do you have trouble understanding? There are even little symbols for both Yield and Pedestrian to make it even easier to understand. Just to enlighten a bit, the little stick figure literally means "Pedestrian" and it does not matter if the individual is walking, or in a wheel chair. The dictionary definition of pedestrian suggests foot travel, but you should take pedestrian to mean when a human being is in the crosswalk. That extends to a human in, or on a wheelchair, bicycle, skateboard, roller skate, tricycle, big wheel tricycle, pogo stick, or any other means that a human can use to cross a crosswalk. Furthermore, the little stick symbol that is humanoid in appearance, does not suggest a singular, or plural use of the word pedestrian. You should, however, take the meaning to be singular if you see one human in the crosswalk, or plural if you see two, or more.

Most Sincerely,
A taxpaying citizen that looks both ways before crossing the street, and now for cops, too!

P.S. If you don't understand any of the above, please post here so we can get you to a point of clarity before you get behind the wheel of your police cruiser again.

I traveled the same path today as Officer Gregory C. Davis did when he incompetently and callously struck down Gerry Mitchell in his wheelchair, who was fully committed to the crosswalk. Honestly, I could have seen a Whitman's Sampler Chocolate Box sitting in the crosswalk and begging not to be run over by a police cruiser. If a wheelchair was in the crosswalk, the only way I could have not see it would have been to be blind, inattentive, or just stupid. Perhaps Officer Gregory C. Davis is all three!

Folks, honestly, drive the intersection and see how difficult it would be to run over someone in that intersection.

Albemarle County Police Officer Gregory C. Davis, do you need glasses? IQ check? Remedial driving skills? Vacation? Brain cell implants?

I don't think any of them can drive. I was in City Yard yesterday when I noticed yet another Charlottesville police vehicle demolished. One of the white marked 6 cylinder Impalas this time. It would be interesting if the media would start covering every car the cops demolish in a year's time.

What a strange story.

WTF2-- Believe me, I am completely aware of all the good the police do in both the city and the county. Good cops get 100% of my support, always have and always will. When people criticize the actions of some police officers, they are not condemning the actions of all of them.

Your anger is aimed entirely in the wrong direction. Instead of defending them, you should be mad at the clowns that give the good cops a bad name. Unfortunately, too many police officers have a badge vs civilian mentality, and that's why they forgive their fellow officers these sorts of transgressions. They need to ask themselves, "What if this was MY relative, and he or she was run over by a cab driver? How would I feel about the outcome then?"

WTF--you're missing the main point here. There was a tag team going not only between cops involved, but even between departments. Here, in contrast with Flaherty, it's not just one cop, but cop teamwork all the way up to the officer who served the traffic summons on Mitchell.

By the way, where did you get that comment that there's more litigation here than anywhere in the state? I have to say I wonder if it is not a a fabrication to make a point (kind of like testilying by cops). Norfolk, Richmond, no way Charlottesville PER CAPITA comes close. And even if it did--what would that signify? That the supervisors aren't supervising perhaps.

WFT--I addressed my last comment to WTF. I see now there is a whole spawn of WTFs (wtf 2, wtf?, etc). Sorry I didn't catch that. So I guess, as my mom always said, if the shoe fits....

Local Watcher, I personally know Steve Grissom to be one of the most honest cops within a 500 mile radius. In one particular case about 10 years ago, he was the only cop present that told the truth under oath. The rest of the cops who testified should have been locked up for perjury. But anyhow, Steve Grissom might have written the summons and served it on Mr. Mitchell, but I suspect he was ordered to do so by somebody above him.

(Enjoy this moment. It's not very often you will catch me defending cops! :) )

This comment is addressed to WTF2 and his "meal ticket" comment:

I've known Gerry Mitchell for a decade. He is a friend and a client. To your cynical eyes, he appears to be a pathetic, wheel-chair bound, "meal-ticket" opportunist, but that is because you can't look beyond his current physical condition or his skin color or perhaps more accurately his disease.

Gerry grew up in a nice (but yes black, as most city families were then) family in Charlottesville. He got his degree from VCU and got a fellowship from Yale. He once owned an art gallery in Madrid and is a a truly talented artist. He was diagnosed with AIDS. His partner died of AIDS. He moved back here for what he thought were the last years of his life. He does live in public housing, is on disabilty, but lives responsibly and within his means. He does hold art shows at the Mudhouse, Les Yeux du Monde, and the Jewelers Eye, among other places, and gives a portion to charities. He lectures to high school kids about art, life, AIDS, and what it's like to live in public housing. He has a great sense of humor and is a light for many of us who know him.

I spoke to Gerry yesterday. Because of this accident, he is having trouble using both of his arms, has had kidney failure and had a stroke the day after the accident. The doctors did not notice the arms when he was in the hospital after the accident because they were focused on cuts, bruises and internal stuff. But his right arm has gotten worse and his primary doctor told him this week to get an MRI, which is scheduled for next week. The hospital bill, which result directly from his being hit, are already are adding up to multiples of thousands of dollars.

Meal ticket? I think he would have been happy if the officers had just given him a ride home from the hospital after what they did to him. And apologized. And called the County's insurance carrier. As of yesterday, he had not even spoken to his attorney about a civil suit. In fact, his attorney had not even returned his phone call after failing to tell Gerry that he had continued the case until January! Gerry had hired this attorney and paid him a retainer to represent him in the criminal case, his attorney continued the court appearance and did not call him to let him know yesterday. Can things get any worse?! Frankly, Gerry is trying to make it through each day with a positive attitude. He made a comment yesterday about lasting until the continued court appearance in January.

We all do what we can for self preservation. But how dare you presume without any further facts that an artistic, minority person in our community who was clearly the victim of negligence is looking for a meal ticket? I can assure you that no one in a wheelchair looks to be hit crossing the street. Much less have to deal with all of this.

Freida "no Love"

I'm not raciest nor do I steriotype people with AIDS. Children are born everyday in the world with AIDS. Officer Davis is a very close friend and I am disgusted with all of this. He feels awful about what happened. He can't appoligize any more because I'm sure the lawyers or insurance company have told him not to make any statements because of the civil issue. Maybe meal ticket was a little harsh... I just hate to see my friend so upset over an accident. Either way you look at it... that is what it was. An ACCIDENT. Gerry did not mean to cross as when he wasn't suppose to... and Greg did not mean to hit anyone. This is a very unfortunate accident that is blown way out because Officer Grissom charged Gerry.

Cops are held to a higher standard... now Officer Davis' name is being dragged through the mud because of an accident. He didn't try to "Cover up or conspire" he called his supervisor, and the City Police as he should have. He even gets blasted for assisting Gerry back in the chair by "Hurting his shoulder" for God's sake. What should he have done... let him lay there? Greg will not talk about this incident. I think he has been instrucked not too but he would not say. I think that it is SAD day when you can't even talk about something so depressing in fear it may come out in a CIVIL TRIAL. Congratulations Charlottesville. This is why people are moving to the Valley.

WTF 2, you are sinking deeper and deeper, so leave it alone. To cast aspersions against Mr. Mitchell, someone you know nothing about, in order to support your "friend" says a lot about your character. If you and people like you wish to move to the Valley, feel free to do so. Just make it deep, deep into a hollow and not around other people. Or, can stay here, listen and learn. If that officer wishes to talk to somebody about the incident, he has friends and family and can do so in private conversation. The public aspect of this incident is now in the court system with ramifications for many.

WTF2, you hate to see your friend so upset over an accident? His name is being dragged through the mud? Whatever you're smoking, I want some of it!

It appears this ACCIDENT is the beginning of the end for Mr. Mitchell. The officer should be fired. Maybe he can move to the valley and take you with him.

WTF 2, yes, I think this would be as news worthy if it wasn't a cop that hit him. And there is NO doubt in my mind that the civilian driver would have been charged. Furthermore, if Flaherty had actually struck and injured Blair Austin and Richard Silva, there is NO doubt in my mind that he would NOT have been charged either. That's my 2 cents worth.

CVille Eye, you can talk all you want to in these blogs, but let me warn you in advance -- you ain't taking my title of Village Idiot away from me! No way! Ain't gonna happen! :)

And Freida, there is now a blind spot in police vehicles. All of 'em ride around with the laptops open and at least partially blocking a portion of the view on the right hand side of the windshield. How much of the view is blocked of course depends on the height of the officer driving and the type of vehicle the officer is driving.

Maybe some people misread the story and thought that Mr. Mitchell ran his wheel chair into the police car.

Billy, this is America. We can be the judge, jury and hangman in a blog. And we do a pretty damn good job of all three too. We are convicting the officer because we don't need more facts and we don't need to view the video. Under any and all circumstances you stop for a man in a wheelchair in a crosswalk. To do otherwise means you weren't paying attention, and guess what? That's a traffic infraction in Virginia. The cop should have been charged had the police departments not been covering for each other. To help you understand this better -- suppose you're going down 29 North at 55 miles per hour. Suddenly you crest a hill and there's an old man with a cane trying to cross the roadway. Do you keep going and run over the old man because you have the right of way? Well, you do if you're not paying attention and never see him. And Billy, are you one of those people who bake dozens of cookies and take them to the Annual Police Awards? Do you often leave the awards banquet with the autographs of at least 2 dozen cops? Do they pose in pictures with you? Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with worshipping the ground they walk on.

In a situation such as this who cares about any type of gag order. If you are the officer, you are still an american citizen and still hold the right to freedom of speech. TELL THE FLIPPIN TRUTH...don't change the story or let your department cover for you. That's why the city has insurance. You created a mess in front of eye-witnesses and, like a car accident, Gerry should have the right to be "repaired" at the expense of the party at faults' insurance carrier. GIVE ME A BREAK...what is this world coming to where everyone has to tie up the legal system with cut and dry cases. Just my opinion. :o)

This reflects badly as a coverup. To ticket a pedestrian who is struck by a cop and the cop is exoneranted is a slap in the face of justice.

The Virginia law states clearly. Pedestrians have the right of way in a crosswalk. PERIOD! "Corrupt" is what comes to mind as these two law enforcement agencies cover for each other.

Ask yourself if you struck a pedestrian in a crosswalk who would be charged.

WTF_0,
Why is it you failed to provide additional info as requested since you brought this up? Is it because you are full of BS? I think so unless you provide REAL facts not selective tidbits.

Davis admitted he was "looking down" until told to shut up. I don't have to be a detective to connect the dots.

The bottom line is that both police departments are corrupt and this is just one glimpse of some of the stuff that goes on. Be honest and face the facts. Cops and their chiefs abuse the law they are sworn to uphold.