RICHMOND, Va. -- George Brown, Jr. refused to make a plea deal with prosecutors and instead pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter as his trial began Wednesday in Richmond. Brown, a former security guard at the VCU Medical Ambulatory Pharmacy, is accused of killing a patient at the pharmacy in August 2015.
Phillip Whitaker, 64, died from head injuries he suffered after police said Brown tackled him. Prosecutors said Brown tackled Whitaker after Whitaker walked to the head of the line. Whitaker’s daughters said their dad was walking to the back of the line after his name was called over the loudspeaker when he was tackled.
"We have been advised from day one that he did nothing wrong," Lisa Stanley, Phillip Whitaker’s daughter, said.
Brown’s defense attorney countered that Whitaker was hostile and lost his balance when Brown pulled him back.
Whitaker suffered head trauma and died at the hospital after several surgeries proved unsuccessful.
Whitaker’s family members were emotional as they filled the Richmond courtroom to hear from multiple witnesses and view security footage of the incident.
"I want him to be taken away from his family like he took my dad away from us," Lisa Stanley, Phillip Whitaker’s daughter, said in an earlier interview about Brown Jr.
The trial is expected to last several days. Brown will take the stand in his own defense Thursday morning.