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More witnesses for prosecution testify in Narrows Police officer’s trial

Published: Dec. 8, 2021 at 10:36 PM EST
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GILES COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) - For the second time during a trial that was supposed to last three days, the officer who initiated the pursuit of 28-year-old Michael Acord, Paul Vincent, took the stand.

Another three hours were spent Wednesday questioning a Virginia state trooper.

A majority of the witnesses special prosecutor Chris Rehak has called so far are members of law enforcement. But jurors have also now heard from a forensic scientist, a medical examiner and two more witnesses of the crash.

Details from the investigation were revealed during testimony from Trooper JC Reynolds, who took measurements from the scene, over 80 pictures, and spoken and written statements from Officer Chad Stilley, charged with involuntary manslaughter.

There were several objections made by the defense attorney throughout testimonies, and Rehak was asked to rephrase many of his questions. The day began with a disagreement between the attorneys over which file to use to play the dash camera video from Vincent’s car.

Tuesday, the focus of the day was policy from the Pearisburg police handbook on the use of deadly force and creation of roadblocks. Wednesday, policy was recited from the town of Narrows police handbook, the one Stilley is required to follow.

”The department stresses that roadblocks constitute a last resort in stopping a fleeing, violent felon,” said the Chief of Police for the Town of Narrows, Bentley Ratcliffe.

Ratcliffe kept his composure during questions from Rehak, but he teared up when he was cross-examined, explaining that he knows the Acord family well, and knew Michael “since he was a young man.”

When Stilley’s attorney, Chris Tuck, was allowed to question Ratcliffe, he also asked about Narrows police policy.

”If Chad Stilley doesn’t put his vehicle out there, has he violated your policy?” asked Tuck. “Yes, I think so. I think he would have violated the 15.5 section, duty to protect and serve,” answered Ratcliffe.

A witness of the crash, the driver of a grey minivan that has been mentioned several times throughout testimonies, also got emotional on the stand, remembering what he saw the night of July 24, 2020.

One of Tuck’s witnesses testified at the end of the day Wednesday, but testimonies only went out of order due to scheduling. Rehak will continue to call witnesses Thursday morning.

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