Richmond, Virginia Police Officer Charged With Murder Out On Bond

Paterson Brown Jr. and David L. Cobb
Paterson Brown Jr. and David L. Cobb

A judge set bond Friday at $25,000 for a Richmond police officer charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of a teen during an off-duty confrontation at a Chesterfield County car wash in October.
Officer David L. Cobb, 47, was later released after posting the sum. 

Defense attorney K. Scott Miles told the court that the facts in the case are largely undisputed but the issue at trial will be whether Cobb, a man described by Richmond’s police chief as an outstanding officer, was legally justified in using deadly force.

Chesterfield prosecutor John Childrey, who argued against bond, said the victim, Paterson Brown Jr., 18, posed no perceived or actual threat to the officer at the time Cobb fired a shot that killed the teen.

After Brown on Oct. 17 suddenly got into the officer’s girlfriend’s car at the Better Vision car wash at 7759 Midlothian Turnpike and drove it out of a wash bay, Cobb told the teen to exit the vehicle, which led to a confrontation and struggle, police said.

In his argument for Cobb to be released on bond, Miles said Brown, who was not an employee of the car wash, was trying to steal the car that morning and acted incoherent and hostile during the encounter. Brown had arrived at the car wash in a vehicle occupied by two other people, and they drove away after the shooting.

“Cobb was in a difficult situation, and we’re very interested in seeing whether the toxicology report from the medical examiner sheds any light on why Brown was behaving as he was,” Miles said in a statement after the proceeding.

Childrey told the court that the only physical part of the encounter was when Brown was trying to close the car’s door and the officer was trying to prevent that.

The prosecutor said Cobb had his gun drawn and pointed it at Brown for at least three minutes, possibly as long as four, before firing a single shot that struck the teen, who was unarmed.

Brown, a graduate of James River High School, died of a gunshot wound to his pelvis.

A witness told a reporter on the day of the shooting that Brown was inside the car when the struggle ensued, and that he moved suddenly as if reaching for a weapon.

Miles said Cobb surrendered all his firearms to police in the aftermath of the shooting and moved immediately to turn himself in after learning he would be indicted by a Chesterfield grand jury on Wednesday.

After setting bond at $25,000, Chesterfield Circuit Judge Frederick G. Rockwell III scheduled Cobb’s next hearing for Feb. 25.

Richmond Police Chief Alfred Durham issued a statement Friday calling the incident an “unfortunate and tragic situation for all involved.”

“Officer Cobb is an outstanding police officer and has served the department and the community well. He worked well with youth on a daily basis in his assignment as a school resource officer. We have to now allow the judicial process to take its course,” Durham said.

Cobb joined the department in November 2006. Richmond police said he was on administrative leave without pay and that an internal investigation would begin after the case is completed in court.

Brown’s fatal shooting occurred just more than a year after authorities said he robbed at gunpoint a fellow James River High School student of some cash and a cellphone in the back seat of a car.

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Source: Richmond Times-Dispatch | MARK BOWES