Photo Credit: Dave Connor Image License

The Norfolk Police Department (NPD) has a long history of misconduct toward citizens of Norfolk, Virginia. A police department cannot acquire a bad reputation on its own. Claims of misconduct begins with the actions of police officers who are sworn by oath to protect and serve. Many (not all) of these Norfolk officers lack compassion and experience.

According to an article in Pilotonline.com, ”the data shows that in 2005, the average experience level of the officer for each complaint was 9.8 years; by 2008, that level had dropped almost in half, to 5.3 years.” This number is still steadily declining while the number of complaints are continuing to rise.

Thousands of complaints have been filed against Norfolk police officers and employees for matters, including ethnic slurs, rudeness, perjury, harassment, making false statements, conduct unbecoming of a police officer, abusive language, violating citizens’ civil rights and acting in biased ways. Citizens feel betrayed and threatened.

All complaints made against Norfolk police officers are kept confidential and handled internally by the Office of Professional Standards in the department. In so many words, another police officer has the final word concerning other police officers. However, some information can be obtained using the Virginia Freedom of Information Act.

With such an extensive list of complaints and allegations that are hidden from the public, who is the Norfolk Police Department protecting and serving, other than themselves?

If complaints against police officers are highly-publicized, it forces the department to take action and reprimand the offending officer. In some of these incidents, police officers are suspended or fired. However, many of them are sometimes transferred to other precincts or other positions. If incidents are ignored or left unreported, nothing happens and nothing changes. They continue with the same negligent behavior and misconduct.

Personal Experience

In some cases, after explaining situations involving these officers to their superior, the superior will make excuses for the officers and claim they were following their training. By the end of the conversation, the officer is made to look like an innocent, misunderstood individual being verbally attacked by you.

In other cases, when speaking with an officer’s superior and trying to get information like badge number or names, they will refuse to give you the information in order to protect the officer.

The following recent stories are true encounters from Norfolk citizens, personal experience or directly ripped from headline news.

Car Theft (Date Unknown)

Title: Project 365 #102: 120414 Breaking Glass Photo By: Pete; View Image License

A Norfolk woman’s car was stolen from in front of her apartment and she called the police.

The officer showed up and did not even get out of his car. Instead, he peered out of his driver’s side window at the empty parking space and implied that the woman was lying in order to commit insurance fraud.

Perjury (Date Unknown)

A rookie cop told police that he was in high-pursuit of two bad guys firing guns. He claimed that while he was chasing behind and firing at these bad guys a bullet from his gun went through the dashboard of the police car. However, the camera inside the car told a completely different story. The hyper, inexperienced rookie had taken his handgun out of his holster while speeding to answer a call. The police car hit a bump in the road and his gun went off.

Story from Officer McKenna

Officer Tasers Unarmed Mentally Ill Woman (10/08)

Photo By: Virginian Pilot; Pamela Brown exercising with hula hoop in 2006.

Pamela Brown, a mentally-ill woman that is known for hula hooping and listening to her radio on a median on Granby Street was tasered by a Norfolk police officer.

The officer was responding to a noise complaint call. He felt threatened because she was reaching for her medical alert ID bracelet to show him. Then, he arrests her.

Hit & Run Victim Treated Like Criminal (5/12)

Donna Lea was a victim of a hit and run accident and was taken to the hospital .in 2012, The suspect left his information behind, but refused to wait around for police. When an officer arrived, Lea claims he was rude to her. He refused to file a police report for her and to get his point across he put his fingers in her face. Lea contacted the officer superior to file a complaint and he never returned her call or followed up about the accident.

Officer Says to Stop Calling Police (9/12)

NPD was anonymously called at 4 AM to an apartment complex because of strange noises coming from the bathroom area of an upstairs apartment. Ignoring the anonymous complaint, the officer knocked on the door of the person who called and told her to stop calling the police. In 2013, the same man in the upstairs apartment was indicted and arrested for manufacturing, distributing and possession of cocaine in his apartment.

NPD Deceived by Drug Dealer (11/12)

On the day before Thanksgiving, the Norfolk Police Department received two calls from tenants at Sunrise Apartments on East Little Creek Road. One of the calls was from a disabled senior and the other call was a local drug dealer the senior had been reporting.

Two officers from the Norfolk Police Department chose to answer the call of the drug dealer who was making a false complaint against the senior. When the senior answered the door, the two officers treated her like a criminal. She tried to tell them she had called 911 because the drug dealer and his accomplices were standing outside her door trying to break in.

The officers asked her to prove she had made a 911 call and she did, which did not make any difference. One of the officers even admitted the drug dealer that called them was under investigation by Narcotics. However, that did not stop them from taking the woman’s personal information and handing it to the drug dealer and his accomplices because they asked them for it.

Harassment and Civil Rights Violation (01/13)

Complainants Merle T. Rutledge Jr. and Vernon C. Evans-El were illegally stopped and harassed by two Norfolk officers. The two officers who pulled over Rutledge and passenger Evans-El claimed they were pulled over because the registration sticker on the car was peeled.

Theofficers called the City of Norfolk impound to see if the car was stolen. However, Rutledge said, “ I had new registration stickers, inspection sticker and decals put on the car which was paid for at the Virginia DMV office in Norfolk, VA. on November 14, 2012. ”

All checks performed by the officers proved that Rutledge was the actual owner of the car. The two officers still continued to ask for identifications, social security numbers and so on. Even threatening to take them into custody if they did not give them their information.

Officer Deceived by Criminal Tenants (02/14)

Tenants in a downstairs apartment owned by Gifford Management Group (GMG) was harassing a disabled woman and her daughter by repeatedly banging on their ceiling which was also their floor – as an act of intimidation for reporting their drug activities.

The police dispatch heard the banging over the phone while the daughter was trying to get assistance. Eventually, one of the downstairs tenants ran out the back way and came up to the front of the building to meet police to make it appear as if he was just coming back from work.

An older police officer and a rookie arrives, cordially speaks to the same suspect that ran out of the apartment earlier, passes by the suspects two vehicles parked outside and knocks on their door, but gets no response. So, they go upstairs to the victim’s apartment and say that they knocked on the door but no one was home.

The daughter starts to explain to them about the drug smells that were choking her and her mother and the constant noises that were coming from their apartment. The older officer laughs in her face and continued back downstairs.

The resident manager was waiting downstairs to tell them that the suspect was there the entire time, but according to the manager, the older cop still insisted on believing that the victim was lying. This is why some rookies stay inexperienced.

Officer is a Cellphone Addict (04/14)

Two managers at an apartment complex in Ocean View contacts police about a tenant. The police officer pulls up in the parking lot talking on his cellphone and continues to talk on a cellphone while getting out of the police car to handle a serious issue.

Officer Running Stop Sign (05/14)

A Norfolk police officer was caught on camera breaking the law by running a Stop sign while patrolling Norfolk’s West Freemason neighborhood, honored in 2013 by Urban Planners as one of America’s best neighborhoods.

Why was he patrolling a low-to-no crime area, instead of patrolling one of the many areas in Norfolk that needed him? This is one of the many issues that is frustrating Norfolk citizens.

David Latham; Photo By: The Latham Family                                                               

A mother contacts police about her mentally ill son, David Latham, 35, who was holding a knife. She told Norfolk police on the phone that her son had a mental illness.

When NPD arrived, a group of cops shot him nine times, claiming they felt threatened. Police Chief Goldsmith says his officers shot him repeatedly because he was standing in the entrance of an occupied residence holding a knife.

However, the residents say police chased Latham into the residence, continuing to gun him down regardless if they were inside the building or not. 

Some of these Norfolk police officers need more training and compassion. While compassion cannot be taught, training and etiquette can. Rookie should have a certain level of experience before they are permitted to handle serious incidents.

As for older officers, action should have been taken a long time ago. There is no reason why any officer should be annoyed with responding to police calls or receiving tips from concerned citizens.

A police department’s duty is to produce officers who are willing to keep citizens safe rather than their law enforcement career and retirement.



Short Stories of Misconduct by Norfolk Police Department

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10 thoughts on “Short Stories of Misconduct by Norfolk Police Department

  1. Hi Jenny,

    I had a Medic Alert and I wear an insulin pump. The EMT told the cop “He’s diabetic, he’s wearing an insulin pump”. The cop broke my brand new watch and then had the EMT tell me it broke when he was checking my pulse. The cop was trying to cover his tracks. When he found out I was a retired Sergeant from NY, he all of a sudden had a great disposition. NPD could care less what happens. I reported it to the PD and never heard anything. I reported it to the Mayors office and then heard from a couple of PD superiors. They just kept back peddling to cover their asses. I felt I had no recourse and didn’t have the time or the energy to pursue it. I was caring for my Mother who had Alzheimer’s. That was my priority at the time.

    1. Wow! Their actions are ridiculous. I can understand why you couldn’t pursue it though, but at least you put it out there so the Mayor knew what was going on. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Anytime there is a warm day the police come to my neighborhood on bicycles riding into everyone’s yards and harassing them. The first occasion my 27 year old mentally ill son was sitting in my back yard and they rode up to him asking him if he has any warrants or is wanted. Asked for Id and practically interrogated him right on our own property. My son has severe paranoia and any contact with the police is terrifying to him. They finally left and after he went into a severe psychosis and I couldn’t find him for two weeks. When I tried to get help from the force to find him they said he was an adult and couldn’t help me!!! They have come into my yard on multiple occasions after that harassing my youngest son who is also mentally ill. I intervened in that altercation and they laughed at me and told me to go inside! Which I did not and continued to ask them why they keep coming onto peoples property and harassing them. I’m from NY and am used to police acting unethical but this city is worst EVER. I want to make a complaint but do not know where to start!!!

    1. Hello Tara,

      I am so sorry to hear this happening to you and your family. The first thing you need to do is get the camera rolling so that these police officers can be exposed because police will claim that it’s your word against theirs. Additionally, make sure each of your children has a medical alert bracelet or necklace explaining their mental health conditions. This is extremely helpful in case something happens (God forbids) so that the police can’t claim they were unaware of their conditions.

      Contact the precinct in your area to find out who is the Street Sargent for your area. Street Sargents know exactly which officers are patrolling their area. Contact the Street Sargent and calmly discuss with him/or her what the officers have been doing to your children. Try not to lose your temper because they may try to use it against you.

      If this doesn’t work, try contacting the Norfolk Police Chief, Larry D. Boone at 664- 3277 early in the morning. If he is unavailable leave him a calm message explaining what’s going on.

      Another option is filing a complaint with PoliceAbuse.com. They record these complaints and make them public. Also, they usually contact the NPD with your complaint.

      You can also contact Norfolk Mayor, Kenneth Cooper Alexander (757-664-4679) and tell him what’s going on.

      Please let me know if this helped.

      1. “When I tried to get help from the force to find him they said he was an adult and couldn’t help me!!!”

        If you have power of attorney over your son and are solely responsible for his affairs because of his severe paranoia, then yes you can ask questions on his behalf. However, the Norfolk Police refuses to give information about officers to anyone because they are protecting the officers. Even though they are required by law to give the officer badge number and information to whomever asks, they still do not. This has happened to me so I went to the Chief of Police and filed a complaint at PoliceAbuse.com. Keep doing it until someone takes notice. Just remember act as civil as possible and please get a camera. NPD will no longer be able to hide the officer if he’s caught on camera.

      2. Hi Jenny,

        The Norfolk Police could care less about medic alerts or medical conditions. I’m a diabetic and had hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). First off the Norfolk cops automatically jump to conclusions and assumed I was drunk so the placed me in a submission hold and buried my face in the pavement. No questions asked, no “are you ok?”
        If you call the moron standards and training they’re just as ignorant. They’ll defend their dirty cops. They should give them some basic medical training, who to look for with certain medical conditions etc….
        Norfolk PD has a history of being corrupt. It starts at the top and trickles down. If the higher ups sweep it under the rug, nothing will ever change.
        They’re pathetic.

        1. Hello Greg,

          Oh my goodness, I’m sorry to hear about what happened to you. However, it sounds like you should have contacted an attorney, especially if you were wearing a medical alert bracelet.

          Those medical IDs will help you out if the paramedics are called and it may be able to help you file a lawsuit if you’re wearing it at the time. It’s also good for if you pass out somewhere.

          You’re absolutely right. Norfolk Police Department needs more training, especially with people with disabilities and medical conditions. However, you still have to report them so that you can leave a paper trail. I signed a petition about two years requesting that Norfolk Police get more training. It was delivered to the City Council, but I don’t know what happened after that.

          I’m glad you’re alright, Greg. My sister has diabetes and I don’t know what I’ll do if something like that happened to her.

          One way to get a police badge number is to request the Freedom of Information Act then get a copy of the police call on that particular day. They usually will send you a CD and a log of events as it happened that day, and it will have the officers badge numbers who responded, but you will have to look well.

          I think I need to make a video and interview as many people as I can about their encounters with Norfolk Police Department and send it to the Mayor and City Council.

  3. Here’s a video of my experience with Norfolk Police department caught on video. #‎bluekluxklan‬ ‪#‎filmingcops‬ ‪#‎copwatch‬ ‪#‎neonazis‬ ‪#‎policestate‬ ‪#‎norfolkpolice‬ ‪#‎nazisnorfolkcops‬ ‪#‎norfolkneonazispolice‬ ‪#‎norfolkpolicedepartment‬ ‪#‎sicksince‬ ‪#‎copblock‬


  4. I wish I could say I shocked but I’m not. I am a walker, used to be a runner. I walk in my neighborhood when I moved from Alabama. I was harassed as though I was a prostitute. I have done no wrong so I don’t fear them which is what they want but I will not give them that pleasure I turned the frustration on them. I continue to walk for health.

  5. Norfolk PD turns it’s head when their officers act unethically. Take this situation: An individual with a medical condition who carries identification and a card advising of their condition with them. Yet, when they became lethargic (hypoglycemic), two Norfolk officers dragged the individual to the ground and buried their face in the ground, also breaking a brand new $375.00 watch in the process.
    The individual did nothing wrong but was having a reaction to their condition. So the thug Norfolk officers assumed the individual was intoxicated. This isn’t the first time Norfolk officers have conducted them self in such a manner so, they can’t say it was a mistake. It’s simply poor training and ignorance.
    Of course, when it’s brought to the attention of the “standards and training” unit, they defend the poorly trained officers. They have to defend them because they’re the ones who failed to train them properly and don’t want to end up with egg on their face.
    The person they did this to was a retired police officer and a Sergeant. Again, they did nothing wrong. Simply had a reaction to their condition. Nothing was done to those officers. They’re probably still beating on people and treating people with blatant disrespect. There wasn’t even a confrontation that would’ve justified them even touching this individual. That what happens when you give a group of people with a high school diploma (at best) and give them badges and guns. That’s why Norfolk PD is the bottom of the barrel when it comes to law enforcement agencies. There’s absolutely NO justification for their actions in this scenario.
    That’s right carriers of the gold shields, close your eyes and turn a cheek. Make believe the issues don’t exist. It’s just a matter of time before of your boobs in blue really screw up. You can only sweep things under the rug for so long. Why don’t you stop playing “make believe”.

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