Two inmates accuse jailers of excessive force

By Annie Cosby | Dec 9, 2014

CHARLESTON – Two inmates are suing over claims they were victims of excessive force in Southern Regional Jail.

Vercell Curry and Michael T. Harshaw Jr. filed lawsuits Oct. 15 in Kanawha Circuit Court against West Virginia Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority and John Doe correctional officers or special response team members, citing assault and battery.

According to the complaints, Curry and Harshaw were inmates at Southern Regional Jail in spring 2014 when they were harassed, assaulted and battered by the special response team that the jail sends in to search inmates' cells for contraband. The complaint states the jail was conducting a raid or training session when members of the team used excessive force against the inmates, unnecessarily shooting the plaintiffs with bean bags, shocking Harshaw with a Taser, using threats of violence and using flash grenades to disorient and frighten inmates.

The defendants are accused of assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress/outrageous conduct, violating the United States Constitution, the constitution of West Virginia and state regulations, violating 42 USC, negligent supervision/training/testing, and negligence.

Curry and Harshaw seek compensatory and general damages, attorney fees and related costs. Both plaintiffs are represented by attorney Paul M. Stroebel of Stroebel & Johnson in Charleston.

Curry's case has been assigned to Circuit Judge James C. Stucky, and Harshaw's case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Paul Zakaib Jr.

Kanawha Circuit Court case numbers: 14-C-1863 and 14-C-1864

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