Raid of wrong home results in suit against State Police

By Lawrence Smith | Nov 4, 2011

CHARLESTON – A Logan County man alleges he was falsely arrested by the West Virginia State Police following a mistaken raid of his home.

The State Police and three of its troopers are named as co-defendants in a civil rights suit filed Nov. 1 by Anthony Baisden in U.S. District Court. In his complaint, Baisden, of Logan, alleges he was first brutalized and then detained by Troopers in the course of serving an arrest warrant last year on another man, only to be later charged with obstructing an officer.

The three Troopers are only identified as John Does 1, 2 and 3.

According to his suit, Troopers along with federal agents from unspecified agencies were preparing to serve an arrest warrant on James Vance the morning of Nov. 1, 2010. The suit is unclear why Vance was wanted by police.

Shortly after obtaining the warrant, Troopers, along with the federal agents, went to what they believed was Vance's home. Upon entering the home at a time not specified, they encountered Baisden who was asleep on a couch on the house's first floor.

One of the Troopers, Baisden alleges, struck him "in the face with the butt or another portion of a rifle while screaming at [him], and calling him James Vance." After he was struck, Baisden says he was rendered unconscious.

Baisden alleges he awoke to find the Trooper's foot on his neck still thinking he was Vance. Despite attempts to convince the Trooper he wasn't Vance, Baisden says he was handcuffed, and taken to the State Police's detachment in Logan.

After arriving, Baisden says he pleaded with Troopers to take him to the hospital. Eventually, they wiped the blood off his face, and took him first to Logan Area Medical Center, then to Charleston Area Medical Center's General Division.

While at both hospitals, Baisden maintains he attempted to prove he was not Vance by providing identification. However, he says they refused to take it.

Also, Baisden says he was informed by the Troopers who accompanied him to the hospitals that he was being "detained." Sometime later, and prior to his discharge from CAMC, Baisden says one Trooper told him that upon completion of his examination he was free to go.

However, several days later, Baisden was served with a warrant for obstructing an officer. The charge was later dismissed at the request of the prosecutor's office.

In his suit, Baisden avers that no time did he "ever obstruct or interfere with the officers who maliciously, wantonly, violently, intentionally, recklessly and negligently stuck him with such force as to be considered deadly." As a result of the mistaken raid, he says not only were his constitutional rights violated, but he also suffered "physical, mental and emotional pain and suffering"

Baisden seeks unspecified damages, court costs and attorney fees. He is represented by Charleston attorney Henry E. Wood III.

The case is assigned to Judge John T. Copenhaver Jr.

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia case number 11-cv-830

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