Bluefield man accuses State Police of brutality

By The West Virginia Record | Sep 23, 2010

CHARLESTON -– A Mercer County man has filed suit against the West Virginia State Police alleging he was brutalized by one of its officers following an arrest earlier this year.

John G. Wilson named the State Police and Col. Timothy Pack, the State Police superintendant, in a two-count civil rights suit in Kanawha Circuit Court. In his complaint filed on Sept. 3, Wilson, a Bluefield resident, alleges he was beaten by a trooper in May to the point where he was hospitalized for almost two weeks, and had surgery to remove a ruptured organ.

According to this suit, Wilson was arrested by Trooper J.H. Young on May 2. Though the suit does not specify the charges, the criminal complaint Young filed with the Mercer Magistrate Clerk's Office states it was for providing false information, shoplifting and obstructing.

Following his arrest, Wilson alleges Young transported him to the State Police Detachment in Princeton. After he was escorted in a room handcuffed, Wilson says Young, without provocation, struck him in the head.

After being knocked to the ground, Wilson alleges Young picked him up and struck him in the head again causing him to fall onto the top of a nearby desk. After picking him off the desk, Wilson says Young then threw him to the ground where he "began kicking and stomping [him] in the chest, abdomen and groin."

After he finished kicking him, Wilson alleges Young then picked him up and "repeatedly punched him in the ribs and stomach." All the while, Wilson says Young swore at and berated him.

In the midst of this, Wilson alleges he heard another Trooper say to Young "'he's really small, you're going to hurt him.'"

It is unclear if the unidentified trooper's warning had any effect, but Young shortly thereafter cased beating Wilson. After he finished, Wilson alleges Young told him that " 'nothing happened,' " and if he reported the incident he would " 'wake up in intensive care.'"

At an unspecified time, Young then transported Wilson to the Bluefield city jail where he was held overnight. On at least one occasion, Wilson asked for medical assistance, but later declined when, fearing Young would make good on his word to " 'finish you off,'" a Bluefield police officer said he would call the State Police to transport him to the hospital.

The next morning, Young picked Wilson up and took him to magistrate court for his arraignment. Records show he was released on a personal recognizance bond.

Following his arraignment, Wilson avers he "stumbled to the bus stop and made his way to a neighbor's apartment." After he was transported by ambulance to Bluefield Regional Medical Center's emergency room, an MRI test revealed he had a ruptured spleen.

Sometime thereafter, Wilson was air-lifted to Charleston Area Medical Center to undergo surgery. Also, Wilson was treated for damage to his testicles, and for multiple lacerations and abrasions.

In his suit, Wilson alleges he spent a total of 11 days in CAMC following the injuries he received, and is still undergoing treatment for them. Also, he maintains that as a consequence of Young's beating he's incurred pain and suffering, emotional and mental anguish and humiliation and embarrassment.

Wilson accuses the State Police, and Young, who is named as a co-defendant in the suit, of violating his civil rights in not only Young's excessive use of force, but also for filing false criminal charges. According to court records, the charges against Wilson were dismissed Sept. 10, a week after the suit was filed.

Wilson seeks unspecified damages, attorney fees and court costs. He is represented by Charleston attorneys Matthew S. Criswell and Mark L. French.

The case is assigned to Judge Carrie Webster.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number 10-C-1607

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