Man sues Charleston police over alleged beating

CHARLESTON - A Kanawha County man is suing the City of Charleston and the two city police officers he claims beat him while he was suffering from diabetic shock.

Jeffrey Mark Bricker filed the lawsuit May 24 in Kanawha Circuit Court against the City of Charleston, Corporal Pridemore and Officer Edwards.

He says he was driving his truck June 19 on Zable Drive in Charleston when he began suffering from a diabetic episode and ran the truck against a guard rail.

He says Pridemore was dispatched to the scene, where he overreacted.

"Any objectively reasonable police officer would have known that no probable cause, or even reasonable suspicion, existed to believe the plaintiff was impaired from drugs or alcohol," the complaint says.

It adds that Bricker did not have alcohol on his breath or empty alcohol containers, drugs or drug paraphernalia in his car. When he could not grant Pridemore's request to get out of the car, Bricker says he was sprayed with pepper spray at least twice and pulled out by the arm.

"Defendant Pridemore then unleashed a punishing attack on him which included punching the plaintiff in the stomach, kneeing him in the ribs and repeatedly striking him in the back of the head," the complaint says.

When Edwards arrived on the scene, Bricker says he used a Tazer electroshock gun on him.

Bricker adds that he was arrested and charged with driving under the influence, five counts of resisting arrest and five counts of obstructing an officer, all of which were dropped by a Kanawha County magistrate.

Bricker is seeking compensatory damages and an order decreeing city police officers to undergo special training for dealing with diabetics. Bricker's attorney, Jason Huber of Charleston law firm Forman and Huber, says that he believes a previous settlement in a separate case already had established that order, but the training did not occur.

Bricker charges the defendants with state constitutional violations, battery, negligence, outrage, false arrest and imprisonment, a violation of the West Virginia Human Rights Act and a request for punitive damages. He is also seeking compensatory damages.

Judge Jennifer Bailey Walker has been assigned the case.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number 06-C-998

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