NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) - The two men who claim a Newport News police detective threatened them after a road rage incident plan to take legal action according to their attorney, Mike Jenkins. Jenkins identified his clients as Michael White and James Powell.
Police Detective Michael Poole is the man they accuse of showing them his gun during an argument allegedly stemming from Poole's road rage. Investigators tell WAVY.com the 27-year police veteran was driving an unmarked vehicle during the incident and he was not in uniform, but he was on duty.
According to Lou Thurston with the Newport News Police Department, officers received a call about a case of road rage in the area of Jefferson Avenue and HQ Way on Sept. 6 around 1:15 p.m.
One of the victims, a 27-year-old reported to police he was trying to change lanes when another driver "laid on his horn" and gestured with his hands. The driver, identified as 58-year-old Michael D. Poole, reportedly followed the victim into a parking lot in the 12500 block of Jefferson Avenue. There, the pair exchanged words.
According to the victim, Poole displayed a handgun before driving away. Thurston says the handgun was not issued by the police department.
Thurston said the victim then followed Poole and called police, who located Poole in the area of Fort Eustis Boulevard and Jefferson Avenue. Thurston said Poole is employed as a detective with the Newport News Police Department.
Monday, the victim and a passenger obtained criminal summonses for two counts of brandishing a firearm. Both were served on Poole.
As a result, Poole is on administrative suspension with pay, approved by the chief of police.
"If during the course of the internal investigation additional facts reveal the need to, the chief could change it to an unpaid suspension," Thurston said.
WAVY.com wanted to know why it took three weeks for police to release information about this case. Thurston said, "It was the criminal investigation that took awhile. The police needed to get everything together including the victim's statements."
Mike Jenkins released the following statement, Tuesday evening:
On September 6, 2012, my clients, Michael White and James Powell, were the victims of a road rage incident in the City of Newport News. It is suspected that the individual responsible for brandishing a firearm and threatening my clients is a member of the Newport News Police.
We are fortunate to have professional and dedicated men and women serving in law enforcement. However, it saddens me to think that those who have sworn an oath to serve and protect could endanger and threaten a law abiding citizen in such a manner.
Mr. White and Mr. Powell are mindful and respectful of our criminal justice process. Despite the harm they have suffered they are encouraged by the decision of the Newport News Police to temporarily suspend the officer in question. However, rest assured that Mr. White and Mr. Powell are fully prepared to pursue all legal remedies available to them to ensure justice is served in this troubling incident.
Jenkins tells WAVY.com White will be available for an interview Wednesday. Thurston tells WAVY.com Chief Fox agreed to try and make himself available for interviews Wednesday as well.
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