ELKINS – A man is suing the Lewis County Commission after he claims he was assaulted by an officer while in the courthouse.
Lewis County Sheriff’s Department and James H. McAtee were also named as defendants in the suit.
On July 19, 2014, John R. Zsigray went into the Lewis County Magistrate Court building in order to inquire on a matter of public knowledge and interest that he was involved in, according to a complaint filed July 22 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia
Zsigray claims he went through the metal detectors, where he was searched by McAtee and a small pocket knife was removed from his person, which he was lawfully entitled to carry.
The plaintiff then went into the area of the courthouse containing the Magistrate Clerk’s office and inquired about the case, according to the suit. It was near lunchtime and the plaintiff could tell that the court officials were attempting to close up for lunch.
Zsigray claims he was exiting the courthouse and was discussing the matter with court officials and, despite statements to the contrary by several court employees and the video tape of the incident, which revealed he appeared to make no threats to the officials nor did he make any threatening remarks, McAtee grabbed and shoved him against the wall.
The plaintiff was derated by McAtee and was physically escorted out of the building in front of numerous court officials and persons in the public and the incident was caught on video tape, according to the suit.
Zsigray claims after making inquiries about why the matter happened, he was later arrested for obstruction, which was later dismissed on April 1, 2015.
Thereafter, Zsigray was arrested for assault on an officer and the case was dismissed on April 6, according to the suit. Zsigray never plead guilty, nor was he ever convicted of anything as a result of the matter.
Zsigray claims he has undergone psychological treatment because of the trauma of the matter and had to post bond twice and had to hire two different lawyers at considerable expense as a result of the matter.
Zsigray is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. He is being represented by William B. Summers of Summers & Associates.
The case is assigned to District Judge John Preston Bailey.
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia case number: 2:16-cv-00064