HAMPTON, Va. (AP) – Hampton Police Officer Bryan Wilson and the City of Hampton are facing a federal lawsuit regarding the shooting of Christopher Rice two years ago. On January 4, 2022, Officer Wilson shot Rice multiple times outside a car dealership on Mercury Blvd after Rice allegedly hit a police sergeant in the head with a bat.
During a court hearing in June 2022, the police sergeant who was assaulted detailed the events leading up to the shooting. The sergeant explained that officers were called to the car dealership due to a trespassing incident involving Rice, who was carrying an aluminum bat. The sergeant approached Rice, who then swung the bat at her head, causing injury. She recalled feeling disoriented and hearing gunshots while she was on the ground. Rice was subsequently charged with malicious wounding against a police officer and trespassing, but was found not guilty by reason of insanity.
The lawsuit, filed exactly two years after the incident, asserts that Rice suffers from paranoid schizophrenia and was in the midst of a mental health crisis at the time. However, the suit claims that no medical professionals were called to the scene. Rice’s attorneys from the Strom Law Firm argue that Rice was shot multiple times and survived, suggesting that Wilson’s use of force was unnecessary and excessive. The lawsuit also holds the City of Hampton accountable for not adequately training its officers on the use of force, de-escalation techniques, and mental health intervention.
The lawsuit seeks $20 million in compensatory damages.