Man says neighbor, a State Trooper, to blame for false arrest

CHARLESTON - A St. Albans man says his neighbor, a trooper with the West Virginia State Police, had him falsely arrested because the two had an ongoing dispute.

John Slater filed a lawsuit Aug. 21 in Kanawha Circuit Court against Adam Scott, the state police and 35 unknown troopers.

He charges them with civil battery, civil assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence, failure to protect, false arrest and illegal detention, intentional outrageous conduct and a violation of civil rights.

Slater says he purchased a four-wheeler on Feb. 2, 2004, and Scott screamed "rude, vulgar and intimidating words about the ATV and the noise."

Twenty days later, Slater says he was loading the four-wheeler onto a trailer when Scott charged at him and threatened to arrest him.

"The defendant lunged at the plaintiff attempting to strike. Plaintiff backed away in a defensive manner and continued to load his four-wheeler and drove away," the complaint says.

It adds that an hour later, Slater's wife called him to inform him there was a warrant for his arrest.

Slater says he went to the South Charleston State Police Headquarters to turn himself in so his family would not have to witness his arrest, but the troopers responded by saying they would arrest him whenever they wanted to. He says they did at 10 p.m. that night in front of his wife and child.

After a night in jail, Slater says he paid his bail and returned home, where he found a video camera placed in Scott's car pointed at his house. Two days later, he put up a fence.

Slater was then taken in for violating his bond, he says. While imprisoned, he says he was denied his medication. Two days after Magistrate Janie Moore ordered his release, he was taken to Thomas Memorial Emergency Room. He claims to have lost 26 pounds during that week.

At his May 6 trial, the charges were dismissed because Scott was not an active member of the State Police force because he was working with the U.S. Coast Guard at the time and lacked the authority to arrest Slater, the complaint says.

It adds that Scott had another trooper draw up an arrest warrant, but the charges were dismissed.

Slater is represented by Williamson attorney M. Timothy Koontz and is seeking compensatory damages.

Judge Jennifer Bailey Walker has been assigned the case.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number 06-C-1661

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