CHARLESTON - A man is suing the Kanawha County Sheriff's Department for injuries he allegedly sustained from a deputy sheriff.

Deputy Sheriff J.S. Shackelford and Kanawha County Commission were also named as defendants in the suit.

On April 18, Sterman Douglas Ratliff, who is an ex-Marine and veteran of the Vietnam War, called the Huntington VA Medical Center and complained about prior medical treatment he received, according to a complaint filed Nov. 25 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

Ratliff, who is permanently and totally blind as a result of his service in the Vietnam War and suffered from PTSD, claims at approximately 10 p.m., Shackelford arrived at the plaintiff's residence and confronted him while he was sitting in the yard of his residence.

Shackelford asked the plaintiff if he was "Ratliff" and he responded that he was, according to the suit. Next, Shackelford told the plaintiff that the plaintiff was drunk, at which point the plaintiff stood up and told Shackelford that he was not drunk and that he was totally blind.

Ratliff claims he asked Shackelford if he had a warrant, and Shackelford responded that he did not.

When Ratliff asked if Shackelford was pressing charges against him, Shackelford responded that he was not and Ratliff asked him to leave the premises, according to the suit.

Ratliff claims Shackelford did not leave and instead went to the front door of the home and knocked on the door, which Ratliff's wife answered, and Shackelford entered the home to speak with her.

Shackelford told Ratliff's wife that the plaintiff was "off his meds... out of control... and drunk," according to the suit.

Ratliff claims when he left the yard and came inside his residence, he asked if Shackelford was inside. Shackelford did not respond to the question until Ratliff's wife told him that he should respond to Ratliff, he says.

Ratliff asked Shackelford again to leave his residence and instead, he handcuffed him and tackled him to the ground, according to the suit.

Ratliff claims he suffered injuries, and Shackelford called for an EMT to provide medical attention, refused to tell Ratliff's wife where he was taking him, transported him to South Central Regional Jail and arrested him for public intoxication and obstructing an officer.

While escorting the plaintiff from the vehicle, Shackelford tripped Ratliff and was unnecessarily rough with him, according to the suit.

Ratliff claims he was released the next day and the charges were later dismissed.

The defendants caused Ratliff to sustain physical pain and suffering; mental pain and suffering; injuries resulting from the defendants' conduct; indignity, embarrassment, humiliation, annoyance, inconvenience and degradation; and all other injuries, according to the suit.

Ratliff is seeking compensatory damages with pre-judgment interest. He is being represented by Mark A. Atkinson and John-Mark Atkinson of Atkinson & Polak PLLC.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Carrie Webster.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 13-C-2209

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