Putnam woman files civil suit after police incident

By Lawrence Smith | Oct 5, 2012

HUNTINGTON – A Putnam County woman is accusing a Hurricane police officer of falsely arresting her.

Officer L.M. Angell is named as a defendant in a civil rights suit filed by Lena Qualls in U.S. District Court. In her complaint filed Sept. 26, Qualls, 55, of Hurricane, alleges following a verbal altercation two years ago, Angell arrested her on what is commonly called a contempt-of-cop charge.

According to the suit, Angell came to Qualls’ house on Sept. 29, 2010 “without probable cause and without a warrant of entry or arrest.” Shortly after arrival, Angell “had physical contact with [Qualls] and pushed and knocked [her] to the ground, all because she was expressing her opinions of his actions and other matters and all of which was without probable cause or provocation, and without any resistance whatsoever.”

Afterward, Angell arrested Qualls, and charged her with obstructing, and battery on a police officer, both misdemeanors. Though Magistrate Kylene Dunlap Brown found her guilty at a Feb. 25, 2011 bench trial, Judge O.C. “Hobby” Spaulding found her not guilty three months later following her appeal to circuit court.

Along with excessive force, Qualls makes claims against Angell for battery and outrageous conduct. As a result of Angell’s actions, Qualls alleges she’s suffered “embarrassment, humiliation, annoyance, inconvenience [and] deprivation of liberty.”

In her suit, Qualls seeks unspecified damages, court costs and attorneys fees. She is represented by Charleston attorneys Michael T. Clifford and Rachael Garlow.

The case is assigned to Judge Robert C. “Chuck” Chambers.

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia case number: 12-cv-5917

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