Judge threatens a mistrial in officer-involved shooting civil case in Virginia Beach


VIRGINIA BEACH, Va (WAVY) — A trial in which a family claims the Virginia Beach Police Department acted negligently when their loved one was shot and killed in 2015 will continue into next week. 

Friday was the third day in a civil trial centered on the death of 28-year-old India Kager, who was shot and killed after officers opened fire on a suspect wanted in connection with four local murders.

The suspect police were seeking — 35-year-old Angelo Perry — was also killed in the exchange, which happened at a 7-Eleven on Lynnhaven Parkway in September 2015.

Police say Perry and Kager were sitting in a car outside, when Perry opened fire at officers approaching the car. At the time, Kager was in the driver’s seat and Perry was a passenger.

Kager’s baby was in the back seat of the vehicle, but was unharmed.

The Office of Commonwealth’s Attorney Colin Stolle later ruled out charges for the four officers involved, saying the gunfire exchange was justified. 

Stolle said at time that it was Perry who put Kager in harm’s way by adjusting his location in the car. “All of the officers were aiming their fire at Mr. Perry. None of the officers targeted Ms. Kager,” he said.

Members of Kager’s family later filed a lawsuit for negligence and battery, seeking $30 million in damages. An attorney for the family, Kevin Martingayle, argued in court Wednesday that Kager wasn’t a suspect, and police didn’t consider her life or safety.

The defense said police didn’t know if Kager was or wasn’t a threat, and had no idea there was a baby.

Testimony on Friday made it only roughly an hour before one of the attorneys for India Kager asked one of the officers involved in the original incident a question that did not sit well with the defense or the judge.

During cross examination of the officer on the stand, the officer stated that the vehicle takedown operation performed was “the only option” to take in a suspect with a history such as Perry. The attorney then questioned about procedures used now in similar cases. 

The judge then accused the attorneys of the plaintiffs of bringing up a policy change in front of the jury that has taken place since the night of September 5, 2015, when the original incident happened.

The change now gives police another option in apprehending a dangerous suspect like Angelo Perry.

Defense says the jury knowing about the policy change could taint the jury.

The trial is expected to resume Monday morning. 

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