If at first you don’t succeed, trial, trial again

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — If at first you don’t succeed, trial, trial again.

That’s what happened to a former Portsmouth police officer who twice was charged with manslaughter and twice was acquitted.

He has now filed multimillion dollar lawsuits against Portsmouth Sheriff Michael Moore and two investigators — Shawna Griffith, an investigator for the Virginia State Police, and Robert Huntington, a former Portsmouth police officer who was deputized in 2018 and assigned to the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office.

A team led by former judge Verbena Askew is asking the court for a total of $16 million for what they say is the malicious prosecution of retired police officer Vincent McClean. Monday, the team filed a $10 million lawsuit against Moore and Huntington. A $6 million lawsuit had already been filed against Griffith. The Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office has immunity.

“Not only did it happen once, it happened twice,” Askew said, “and under the same theory that was said to be incorrect the first time.”

Said McClean attorney Nathan Chapman: “I’ll never forget the day when we sat with Mr. McLean to celebrate his not-guilty verdict, and in that same exact [place], sitting in a witness room, show[ing] him a copy of the new indictment.”

Previously: Defense reacts to former Portsmouth Police officer not guilty of manslaughter

McClean was tried and acquitted twice for manslaughter in two deaths that occurred in 2018. Willie Marable was shot by an officer under McClean’s supervision — a body camera captured the last moments of his life.”

“Willie, can you hear me honey,” said a voice captured on the body camera.

Later that year, a pregnant woman, Carmeita VanGlider, who had a history of chronic substance abuse, died while in custody.

In both cases, the prosecution tried but failed to prove McClean did not provide proper medical care.

Another McClean attorney, Michael Massie, noted that his client lost his job at Newport News Shipbuilding.

“Yes, and he was immediately forced to resign when the first indictment occurred,” Massie said.

Asked what the lesson title would be for this case?

“Do not prosecute someone without probable cause,” Massie said.

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