Man refiles excessive force lawsuit against Taylor deputy, Grafton officer

By John O'Brien | Dec 9, 2013

ELKINS – A Randolph County man who attempted to fill forged prescriptions at the Rite Aid in Grafton has refiled an excessive force lawsuit against police in Taylor County.

On Nov. 26, Anthony Silvester III filed a lawsuit against Grafton police officer James I. Davis and Taylor County sheriff’s deputy Keith Haddix. Silvester originally filed his lawsuit in August 2012, but that suit initially named the City of Grafton and the Taylor County Sheriff’s Department as defendants.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia, alleges excessive force was used during Silvester’s arrest in 2010.

His original suit was dismissed without prejudice after Davis and Haddix were substituted as defendants. U.S. District Judge Irene Keeley ruled Silvester failed to plead a violation of his Fourth Amendment rights.

“(W)hen Plaintiff exited his vehicle, Defendant Haddix tackled Plaintiff to the ground and immediately applied a chokehold,” the new lawsuit says.

“The chokehold was applied with such force and duration that it caused the blood vessels in both of Plaintiff’s eyes to burst.

“(W)hile Plaintiff was on the ground, Defendant Davis approached and struck Plaintiff several times about the head and shoulders area.”

On Aug. 27, 2010, Silvester says he was attempting to fill forged prescriptions at Rite Aid, but a pharmacist there alerted authorities. Silvester says he fled in a blue Chevrolet Cobalt and led Davis and Haddix on a high-speed chase.

Silvester says he stopped his car, but drove away when Davis approached the vehicle. Davis shot out one of his tires, the complaint says.

Silvester stopped the car and surrendered, he claimed, when the two officers began assaulting him. He says his Constitutional rights to be free from an unreasonable seizure and to not be deprived of his life or liberty without due process of law were violated.

Silvester says he was hospitalized for four days and incurred approximately $27,000 in medical bills. His alleged injuries include right and left eye contusions, subconjunctival hemorrhage to both eyes, a possibly broken nose, cuts to lips and paralysis of his left eye for approximately 30 days.

Representing Silvester is Scott H. Kaminski of Balgo & Kaminski in Charleston.

According to the state Division of Corrections’ website, Silvester was originally charged in 2010 on two counts of forgery and uttering and later in 2011 on one count of fleeing from an officer in a vehicle. He was sentenced on March 9, 2011, and has since been paroled.

From the West Virginia Record: Reach John O’Brien at

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