CHARLESTON – A couple publicly accused of kidnapping their grandchild claim they did nothing wrong and are now accusing police of beating the man, unlawfully arresting them and holding them in jail without providing them needed medication.
Paul DeWayne Fields and Kimberly Ann Fields claim they were sleeping in their home at about 7:30 a.m. on June 14, 2008, when one of their grown children woke them up to tell them state police officers were outside their house.
"When Kimberly Fields looked outside, she observed that her son, Paul Fields Jr., was lying face down on the ground in handcuffs and was surrounded by several state troopers who were armed with guns," the suit states. "Mrs. Fields became even more alarmed when she saw her infant grandson on the nearby sidewalk in his baby carrier. The tiny infant had been left alone, unsupervised, and unattended, and was exposed to the cold rain that had begun to fall."
Shocked and confused, Kimberly Fields opened the door to ask police what was going on, according to the complaint.
What Fields claims she did not know at the time was that police had arrived at her home because Tabitha Baldwin had accused Glen Hughes and Melissa Perelli of kidnapping her son.
"Upon information and belief, Baldwin had left her son with Hughes and Perelli while she attended a party the night before," the suit states.
"When she failed to return, Hughes and Perelli decided to take the child to his father, Paul Fields Jr., who had been staying with his parents and/or other relatives and friends on Charleston's West Side."
However, Baldwin never accused or suggested that Paul DeWayne Fields and Kimberly Ann Fields had kidnapped her son, according to the complaint.
That didn't stop police from arresting Kimberly Fields and placing her in a cruiser after she asked police about the incidents occurring in her front yard, the complaint says.
Paul DeWayne Fields, who was still sleeping at the time of Kimberly Fields's arrest, claims he was suddenly awakened by his son, who told him of the multiple family members that were being arrested at his home.
After seeing the scene unfold before his eyes, Paul DeWayne Fields opened the door to ask state troopers why they were arresting his wife, according to the complaint.
Officers yelled at him and told him he was under arrest, so Paul DeWayne Fields returned to his bedroom to get fully clothed, the suit states.
Meanwhile, troopers kicked down the Fields' front door to enter their home, even though the door was not locked, and pulled their guns on family inside the house, the complaint says.
"At one point, one of the troopers even pointed the gun directly at the Plaintiffs' two-year-old grandson," the suit states.
One police officer remained in the living room while two others searched the Fields' home for Paul DeWayne Fields, the plaintiffs claim.
After finding Paul DeWayne Fields in his bedroom, officers began to attack him, according to the complaint.
"As Fields Sr.'s children and grandchildren watched in horror, John Doe II grabbed Fields Sr. and held him up while John Doe I, after placing gloves on his hands, continuously beat Fields Sr. upon his face and torso area, causing him extreme physical pain and mental anguish," the suit states. "Despite his repeated requests, Fields Sr. was not taken to a hospital nor did he receive medical attention or treatment when he was taken to South Central Regional Jail."
Upon their arrival at South Central Regional Jail, the Fields were charged with conspiracy to conceal a child and were held in the jail for 10 days, despite Baldwin's reported protests that the Fields had nothing to do with the incident, the complaint says.
While in jail, the Fields claim they were not given appropriate medical care.
"Specifically, Mrs. Fields, who suffers from multiple medical problems, was denied her diabetic medication for more than half her incarceration by John Does VI and VII, employees at SCRJ, and by Jane Doe VII, an employee for Prime Medical, the jail's medical provider," the suit states.
In addition to her physical ailments, Kimberly Field claims she suffered emotional trauma after receiving messages from another inmate and convicted sex offender.
"Specifically, the inmate, Danny Dawson, a convicted sex offender, repeatedly taunted Mrs. Fields by sending messages to her about what he had heard from others about sexual acts he purportedly had with DB, the young girl who the Fields have legal custody of and who is a named Plaintiff in this case," the suit states.
D.B. is a six-year-old girl who the Fields say now suffers from emotional trauma because of their arrests.
"As someone was already emotionally fragile, D.B. constantly looks to the Fields for parental love, guidance and emotional support," the complaint says. "D.B. now constantly wonders if the police are going to come and take her parents away again. She suffered continued psychological harm due to this traumatic experience. She witnessed much of this horrific ordeal, including her father's physical beating by these state troopers. Then, they were suddenly gone, without explanation, leaving her to wonder whether they would return."
Eventually, the charges against the Fields were dropped, but they say their problems continued. For example, they were evicted from the home where they had lived for several years, according to the complaint.
The couple was forced to move away from the community where they had resided for years because landlords knew of them through various news reports and thought of them as the grandparents who kidnapped their grandchild, the suit states.
Originally named as defendants in the suit were the West Virginia State Police, West Virginia State Police Cpl. D.L. Lemmon, West Virginia State Trooper D.H. Moore, unidentified West Virginia state troopers John Does I-V, South Central Regional Jail, South Central Regional Jail Administrator John C. McKay, unidentified South Central Regional Jail employees John Does VI and VII, Primecare Medical of West Virginia and Primecare Medical employee Jane Doe VIII.
However, the Fields voluntarily dropped South Central Regional Jail, McKay, John Does VI and VII, Primecare Medical of West Virginia and Jane Doe VIII as defendants.
In the 26-count complaint, the Fields and DB are seeking compensatory, punitive and various other damages, plus other relief the court deems just.
But the defendants claim the Fields should receive no money and are asking the court to dismiss the case.
They are denying the Fields' allegations against them.
"These defendants deny that the Plaintiffs were incarcerated without cause for ten days," the suit states. "These defendants respectfully request that they be dismissed from the action and that they be awarded their costs, including any attorneys' fess expended herein."
Because the Fields and D.B. are asking for more than $75,000 worth of damages, the West Virginia State Police and Moore removed the case to U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.
The plaintiffs will be represented by Timothy C. Bailey and Carrie L. Webster of Bucci, Bailey and Javins in Charleston and by Christopher T. Pritt of Pritt and Pritt in Charleston.
The defendants will be represented by Michael D. Mullins of Steptoe and Johnson in Charleston.
U.S. District Court case number: 1:09-754