Inmate says Princeton officer nearly killed him, filed false charges

By Kelly Holleran | Nov 12, 2008

A Huttonsville Correctional Center inmate has filed a federal suit seeking $15 million against the West Virginia attorney general, the Princeton Police Department and one of its detectives and the city of Princeton, claiming he was nearly killed after his arrest by Princeton police officers and that multiple false charges were brought against him.

Brian Leon Hamlet alleges he was choked from behind by Princeton Det. T.A. Bailey as Bailey shouted at him, "I'm going to kill you," the suit filed Oct. 16 in U.S. District Court states.

Hamlet, who was arrested on Aug. 25, 2005, along with other passengers riding in a car with him, claims the choking incident happened in the Princeton Police Department's fingerprinting room.

Police said they believed Hamlet had hidden a bag of drugs in his anal cavity and were attempting to search him for the drugs when the incident occurred, according to the complaint.

After Bailey and a second Princeton officer, K.T. Comptom, stripped Hamlet, he claims "they both began grabbing me and groping me grabbing my butt," he wrote in the suit.

Bailey then choked Hamlet, and he passed out, the suit states.

Later, Hamlet was taken to Princeton Hospital where he was given a full body scan and search to check for drugs, according to the complaint.

As a result of his arrest, Hamlet was charged with one count of possession with intent to deliver, he claims.

Hamlet claims his due process rights were violated when Comptom later testified in court that Hamlet and his fellow passengers were all charged with simple possession of pills. Judge Mike Flanagan and the Mercer County prosecutor both upheld the charges, the suit states.

In addition, Hamlet's Eighth, Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights were all violated after the prosecution accused him of being charged with two counts of assault on an officer and one count of simple possession, none of which are accurate, Hamlet wrote in his complaint.

Judge John Frazier upheld one of the allegedly false assault charges, Hamlet claims.

"My rights supported by constitutional law were violated and false charges were being held against me that never existed," Hamlet wrote in his suit.

Hamlet is seeking attention be "brought to all the brutality going on in the police department of Princeton," the suit states.

He is also seeking the termination of Bailey, Comptom and another officer and would like to see them be required to take classes to raise their awareness of what has happened to Hamlet.

"I've been emotionally scarred," he wrote. "I do not have faith in the Mercer court system. All they do is violate my rights again, again and let the police do as they please and get away with it."

In addition, Hamlet is seeking $15 million for the violation of his amendment rights.

Hamlet is representing himself.

U.S. District Court case number: 1:08-1194

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