NORFOLK, Va. - The family of Keith Richardson have filed a lawsuit against the City of Norfolk, and multiple supervisors and officers with the Norfolk Police Department.
Richardson died in January 2016 after he was shot following a domestic dispute with his wife turned into a barricade situation at his Land Street home. According to Norfolk Police, negotiators were called to the scene and after several hours of unsuccessful negotiations with Richardson, he exited his home armed with a gun.
After several verbal warnings to Richardson to drop the gun and surrender, Richardson opened fire and shot and killed a police dog, a member of the force named Krijger. Police say after killing K-9 Krijger, a member of the Special Operations Team shot Richardson.
The lawsuit tells a different story, claiming that Richardson was never a threat to Norfolk Police. According to the lawsuit, Richardson was armed with a gun, but never raised it towards officers until after he was shot and after K9 Krijger was released. The lawsuit also says that Richardson walked out of his home several times over the course of the night, and tried to speak face-to-face with the negotiator.
The lawsuit says that Norfolk Police did not follow protocol when deploying their K9's, claiming that police never gave Richardson adequate warning that force would be used.
A major component of the family's lawsuit has to do with a video taken by one of Richardson's neighbors. The video, which was given to News 3, shows Richardson on the ground. You can see officers surrounding him while another K9 bites at his arm. A loud pop is also heard on the video, according to the lawsuit, that is another shot being fired at Richardson. The family claims Richardson was already shot by police. Since he was on the ground, and being bit by a K9 they say the shot was unnecessary and only fired in retaliation because Richardson killed K9 Krijger.
The family is seeking $12,000,000 for wrongful death and assault and battery. They are additionally seeking $350,000 for punitive damages.