CHARLESTON - For choosing to remain silent about a suspected stolen gun, two Mingo County men allege they later received a visit and beating by police.

The city of Gilbert and the West Virginia State Police are named as co-defendants in separate but identical civil rights lawsuits filed by Bobby Lester and Jimmy West. In their suits, Lester and West allege two Gilbert police officers and three state troopers beat them without provocation two years ago when they didn’t satisfactorily answers questions about a gun possibly stolen from a neighbor’s home.

According to the suits, on an unspecified date in August 2011, the men returned to West’s house after attending an unspecified race. Sometime after arriving, they were allegedly approached by GPD Officer Nathan Glanden, who inquired “where the gun was.”

The suits maintain while at the races an unidentified police officer, who lived near West, said a gun of an unspecified model and caliber was stolen. When Lester and Gilbert said they had no knowledge of a stolen gun, Glanden said he would be back, the suit claims.

According to the suits, at an unspecified time, Glanden along with GPD Officer Thomas, whose first name is unknown, and troopers J.R. Tupper and Douglas and Robinson, whose first names are unknown, returned to West’s home, kicked in the front door and proceeded to beat he and Lester “without reason or provocation.” After an unspecified time, the officers left West’s home but not before telling him and Lester their lives would be “a living hell” if they ever told anyone what happened, the suit claims.

In their suits, Lester and West aver they were never arrested or charged with any crime. After the officers left, they say they later sought treatment for their injuries.

As a result of Glanden’s, Thomas’, Tupper’s, Douglas’ and Robinson’s actions, Lester and West allege they incurred, among other things, “medical expenses, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, annoyance, aggravation [and] psychological distress.” Along with ones for assault an battery against Glanden, Thomas, Tupper, Douglas and Robinson, Lester and West make claims against the city and the State Police for negligent hiring, retention and supervision.

Both seek unspecified damages, attorneys fees and court costs. They are represented by Robert W. Weston and Connor D. Robertson with the Weston Law Office in Huntington.

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, case numbers 13-cv-21447 & 21448

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