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Jury deliberates fate of Henrico officer who shot female passenger

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HENRICO, Va. -- The jury adjourned Thursday evening without a verdict in the trial for Henrico Police Officer Joel Greenway, who  is charged with malicious wounding, shooting into an occupied vehicle, and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.

Passenger Kimberly McNeil was hit by four bullets when Officer Greenway fired seven shots into a car on the evening of December 2015. He had been with the department since 2013.

In court Wednesday, Greenway testified that he approached a vehicle in an Exxon parking lot on Nine Mile Road. Robert Davis was in the driver's seat when Greenway approached and asked “What are we doing tonight?”

He used a flashlight to see where their hands were and said that he saw several lottery tickets in Mr. Davis’ lap, folded into small rectangles, which Greenway said is an indication of drugs, and he has seen it before at that location.  After seeing the folded lottery tickets he found probable cause to detain Davis and McNeil.

Davis dropped lottery tickets immediately when Greenway approached the car, Greenway testified.  He also said that when he asked to see their hands, McNeil complied, but Davis put his hands in waistband.

Greenway was alarmed, he said, and  with his flashlight in his left hand, he reached back to his firearm with his right hand.  The officer did not turn on his body camera.

He testified that after he repeated for Davis to show his hands, Davis drove the car forward.

Exxon where the shots were fired

Exxon where the shots were fired

Greenway said his knee began to buckle from the  car, so he leaned forward onto the car with his “weak” hand (left hand). He said his face was on the hood, and with his strong hand he fired -- to neutralize the situation.  As he fired, he rolled off the hood.

Greenway said he perceived Davis as a threat because Davis was never compliant, but he did not see a weapon.  He said he didn't fire until Davis hit the gas.

Greenway's first contact with communications was to report that shots had been fired and he was in need of medical assistance.

The prosecution said Greenway had the opportunity to call for back up when he saw two people in the car.  The prosecutors also noted that in his training, he was taught to never step in front of or behind a vehicle unless it was absolutely necessary.

Henrico Police Officer Joel Greenway

Henrico Police Officer Joel Greenway

Greenway agreed that approaching the car, and coming to the Exxon at all was self-initiated, there was no call telling him to come there. He also noted that he hasn’t come across a folded lottery ticket, in the way that it was in Davis’ car, with no drugs. Both McNeil and Davis admitted under oath that they used drugs -- like heroin and cocaine -- the day in question.

The prosecutors said that the requirement is to turn on the body camera when approaching a suspicious vehicle, which Greenway had the opportunity to do, but did not. The prosecutors added that Greenway never announced himself as a police officer.

The VCU Medical nurse who treated McNeil the night in question said she heard McNeil tell her daughter that Davis, her boyfriend, had tried to run over a police officer.

A second witness, Henrico County Police Officer Parker Smith, said he heard McNeil tell Davis in the hospital that she told him there was a police officer approaching the car.

Before the Commonwealth rested its case Wednesday,  two experts testified about chemicals and fingerprints found on and in the car.

Those experts said they did not find evidence that the car actually struck Officer Greenway, but added that that did not mean it did not happen.

Greenway's lawyers presented evidence to make the case that the officer did not act “maliciously” or “with intent.”

The jury will resume on Friday morning.