Kinney

CHARLESTON - A Logan County man alleges he was tortured by state troopers following two separate arrests for DUI last year.

On Jan. 26, Kinney, 36, of Stollings, filed suit against West Virginia State Troopers Wellman, Simmons, Williams and John Doe, in both their individual and official capacities.

Also named in the suit is Col. Timothy S. Pack, head of the State Police, and its parent agency the state Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety.

In his complaint and suit, filed with the assistance of Mark L. French with the Charleston law firm of Criswell and French, Kinney alleges he was brutalized by troopers following his arrests for DUI in February and June. At no time while he was in custody did Kinney do anything to evoke hostility toward him.

According to court records, the first instance of brutality took place on Feb. 17, 2008. After he was stopped by two troopers, who are only identified as John Does, Kinney was arrested and taken to the State Police barracks in Logan.

While at the Barracks, Kinney was questioned by the troopers which he refused to answer saying he should first confer with an attorney. An unknown trooper replied to Kinney saying he'd been "watching too much fucking T.V."

After Kinney refused to blow into a breathalyzer, Kinney alleges another unknown trooper slapped him on the right side of the head causing him to fall to the ground. While on the ground, the trooper began to beat and stomp on him.

Records show after Kinney sat up in his chair the trooper called him a "low-life" and said he was "not worth a piece of shit."

According to his suit, Kinney maintains the attack on him was "malicious ... unprovoked and unjustified" as he did nothing to strike or attempt to strike any of the troopers. Later, Kinney was transported to the Southern Regional Jail in Holden "without incident."

The second instance occurred on July 13. After failing a field sobriety test, Kinney was again taken to the barracks and "placed in an unsecured room without supervision."

After being placed in the room, Kinney, fearing for his safety, left the barracks and began walking to a nearby McDonald's. Before he could get there, records show troopers retook Kinney into custody whereupon they "began a course of conduct to severely beat and torture" him.

In his suit, Kinney alleges he was taken out behind the barracks and placed on a paved surface where he was "kicked, beaten and stomped by trooper Defendants." Later, he was sprayed with a water hose "which not only broke the Plaintiff's skin, but also prevented the Plaintiff from breathing."

Furthermore, Kinney alleges one or more of the troopers laced sand in his handcuffs, and pepper spray was directed into his eyes.

As in the first instance, Kinney alleges the troopers actions were "without provocation or justification."

According to court records, both charges of DUI were dismissed and later refiled with another one as a single felony count. Pursuant to an agreement he reached with the Logan County Prosecutor's office on Aug. 11, Kinney pled guilty to a misdemeanor offense whereby he was sentenced to nine months in jail and nine months home confinement.

Also, Kinney was fined $239.53 which was to be paid in 180 days.

As a result of the troopers' actions, Kinney alleges he suffered injuries to his ribs and back, a broken wrist, multiple lacerations and contusions and chemical irritation in his eyes. In addition to pain and suffer, the actions also inflicted on him resulted in "mental anguish and psychological damages which are permanent in nature" thus incurring "past, present and future medical bills."

In his 10-count complaint and suit, Kinney makes claims for, among other things, excessive use of force, assault, battery, negligent supervision and violation of constitutional rights.

In addition to unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, Kinney is asking he be awarded attorney's fees and other costs associated with filing the suit.

A message left with Sgt. M. Baylous, a State Police spokesman, concerning Kinney's allegations was not returned by presstime.

The case has been assigned to Judge Tod J. Kaufman.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number 09-C-133




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