Settlement reached in Summers man's civil rights suit


BECKLEY – Three months after it was filed, a settlement has been reached in a Summers County man's lawsuit alleging he was unlawfully detained, and subjected to racial taunts by a state trooper.

U.S. District Judge Irene C. Berger on Sept. 24 dismissed Jonluc A. McCrae's civil rights suit against Trooper Gregg Reed and the West Virginia State Police when the sides informed her they mediated a settlement. The terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

Repeated telephone calls left for R. Edison Hill, Michael Mullins and Gary Pullin, attorneys for McCrae, Reed and WVSP, respectively, concerning the settlement were not returned by press time.

In his complaint filed June 8, McCrae, now 19, was walking to his home in Hinton following a basketball game on June 17, 2010. At a time not specified, McCrae stopped on 3rd Ave. and observed Reed talking with Charlie Sea, and his father, Edward.

According to the suit, Edward approached Reed after he engaged in a "physical confrontation" with Charlie. However, Edward immediately left when Reed told him to.

Shortly thereafter, Reed crossed the street, approached McCrae and told him "'to get the fuck out of here.'" Despite saying "alright" and turning to walk away, McCrae alleged Reed "from behind, by the neck and threw him against the wall, chocking him."

Next, McCrae, who was 16 at the time, says Reed dragged him across the street, and slammed him against the hood of his cruiser. After that, Reed "removed his badge and gun and placed them on the hood of his cruiser."

During their encounter, McCrae alleged Reed's eyes "were bloodshot," and he "smelled of alcohol."

According to the suit, Reed warned McCrae that if he took his arms off the cruiser "'he would fucking break them,'" and if lifted his chest off the cruiser "'he would fucking stomp him.'" After placing him in handcuffs, Reed asked McCrae if he'd ever been arrested. When he answered "no," McCrae alleged Reed said "good," then slapped him on the head four times.

His detention, McCrae alleged, was witnessed by several people including an unspecified number of Hinton Police officers. During his detention, McCrae says Reed "repeatedly referred to all African-Americans in the area as 'niggers.'"

Shortly after he was detained, McCrae says Reed then stopped Tasha Fotopoulos According to the suit, Fotopoulos was "known to date African-American males whom Trooper Reed disliked, and he confronted [her] about this."

McCrae says his detention lasted about 45 minutes. During that time, McCrae avers Reed told witnesses he arrested him not for anything he said or did, but because Reed "did not like the way he looked at him."

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia case number 12-cv-1930

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