MARTINSBURG – A Grant County woman is alleging a Mineral County deputy sheriff used excessive force when arresting her for driving under the influence.
The Mineral County Sheriff's Department, and Deputy Ronald Anderson are named as co-defendants in a civil rights suit filed by Charlotte Carter. In her complaint filed Aug. 20 in U.S. District Court, Carter alleges Anderson acted with deliberate indifference two years ago when attempted to restrain her when, when preparing to transport her to jail, one of her hands came loose from the handcuffs.
According to the suit, Carter was involved in a motor vehicle accident on Aug. 20, 2010 at the intersection of U.S. 220 and Stony Run Road near Keyser. Little details of the accident are provided except Carter was treated by paramedics following it.
At a time not specified, Anderson arrived on the scene. After conducting a cursory investigation, he arrested Carter then placed her in handcuffs, and in the backseat of his cruiser. The suit does not specify if Carter's hands were in front or behind her.
Regardless, Carter was able to get her left hand free. Upon noticing it, the suit alleges Anderson then pulled Carter out of the cruiser, shoved her up against it, and then "violently forced [her] to the ground to the extent her upper body and face was slammed to the asphalt with extreme force."
As a result of Anderson's actions, Carter alleges she sustained injuries to both her eyes, her left jaw, hands wrist and knees and legs. Though the suit states she was treated for her injuries, it does not specify if Carter was taken to a hospital immediately following her altercation with Anderson.
According to the Mineral Magistrate Clerk's Office, Carter was charged with DUI causing injury, second offense, obstructing and battery on a police officer. In exchange for a guilty plea, the battery charge was dismissed and the DUI with injury charge was reduced to just DUI.
On April 20, 2011, Magistrate Carolyn Roby gave Carter 30 days in jail on both charges to run concurrently, fined her a total of $250 and assessed her $500.80 in court costs. Roby then suspended all but four days of the sentence allowing Carter to serve them on the weekends.
Also, she was ordered to serve one-year probation on the DUI charge.
The Mineral County Commission is also named as a defendant in the suit. In West Virginia, county commissions have joint responsibility with the sheriffs in the hiring and training of deputies.
Along with interest, court costs and attorneys fees, Carter seeks damages totaling $3 million. She is represented by Romney attorney Lawrence E. Sherman, Jr.
The case is assigned to Judge Gina Groh.
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, case number, 12-cv-80