After receiving a call about alleged drug activity, Newport News Police Officer Katie Thyne, 24, and her partner responded to the scene. The pair first removed the passenger from a suspicious vehicle in order to focus their attention on the driver, who was identified as Vernon Green, Police Tribune reported.
Officer Thyne was standing inside the open driver’s door when Green unexpectedly stomped on the accelerator. Unable to back away in time, Thyne was caught in the door and dragged for approximately one block before Green slammed the car into a tree, pinning the officer’s body.
Green fled the scene on foot but was soon captured. Officer Thyne was rushed to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital but succumbed to her injuries. Green was charged with felony murder as well as federal drug and gun charges, WTKR reported. However, he wasn’t willing to take the blame. In fact, he pointed the finger at his deceased victim.
Adding insult to injury, Green filed a $1.1-million lawsuit, claiming that Officer Katie Thyne used excessive force against him. The lawsuit maintains that Chief Drew is legally responsible for the alleged abuse because he didn’t ensure that Thyne was properly trained.
In his bizarre lawsuit, Green claimed that Officer Thyne never activated her emergency lights when she stopped him and failed to identify herself when she approached his vehicle. He alleged that he only drove off because she refused to give him a reason for stopping him.
Additionally, the lawsuit blames Thyne for her own death, claiming that she leaped into the driver’s door and choked Green when he started driving away, causing him to wreck. Both Chief Drew and Thyne’s family members have reviewed bodycam footage of the incident and say that it proves that Green’s accusations are false.
“It has been two years now without Katie. It doesn’t get any easier for any of us,” said Tim Thyne, Katie’s brother. “He made the decision to do what he did and flee the scene, and the result of his action killed my sister. He made that decision, and it’s a very clear outcome of the decision he made. He should be held accountable for that.”
Disturbingly, Green shouldn’t have been free to kill Officer Thyne in the first place. In 2004, Green was connected to a bank robbery in North Carolina. Nearly two years after the robbery, the FBI arrested and charged him. However, he was quickly released on a $250,000 bond, and the case sat in state court for over a decade until attorneys could agree on a plea deal.
Just months before Katie Thyne’s death, federal prosecutors considered filing charges against Green but backed out. If federal authorities had prosecuted Green, he could have been sitting in jail until his trial, never coming into contact with Officer Thyne.
“We follow the principles of federal prosecution in determining whether to accept or decline every matter presented to our office for prosecution and did so in this matter,” Don Connelly, the U.S. Attorney’s Office spokesperson in Raleigh told the Daily Press.
If prosecutors had brought their case against Green, Officer Katie Thyne might still be alive today. Disturbingly, this is becoming more commonplace as legislators continue to push for policies that allow dangerous criminals to go free, thanks to things like bail reform.
A man with a record of drug and weapons convictions and a pending armed robbery case was free to take the life of a young woman. Now, that same man is going to milk the system and taxpayers for everything he can in an attempt to once again evade justice.