CHARLESTON – A Smithers man is suing the West Virginia State Police after he claims he was beaten by a state trooper for no reason.
The Roane County Commission, West Virginia State Police Trooper J.M. Bragg and Roane County Sheriff’s Deputies Bo Williams and Jeff Smith were also named as defendants in the suit.
On Dec. 28, 2011, at approximately 8:30 p.m., Edward A. Fields went “mudding” with a friend by a golf course in Roane County and at approximately 9:30 p.m., he was pulled over by Bragg and another trooper, according to a complaint filed Oct. 29 in Kanawha Circuit Court.
Fields claims Williams and Smith were also with Bragg and the other trooper when he was pulled over.
After Fields was pulled over, Bragg and Williams approached his vehicle and when he rolled down the window of the vehicle, Williams hit him “in the face with a Maglite flashlight without warning or explanation,” according to the suit, and Bragg then pulled Fields out of the vehicle and “proceeded to beat and kick him.”
Fields claims following the beating, he was handcuffed while face-down on the ground and beaten again until he lost consciousness, and when he regained consciousness, Williams “placed his foot on the back of Plaintiff’s neck, forcing Plaintiff’s face into the ground and instructed Plaintiff to ‘eat dirt.’”
William began to beat Fields on the back of the head with an object believed to be a Maglite flashlight until he lost consciousness again, according to the suit.
Fields claims after the beating he was placed in a cruiser, transported to Roane General Hospital Emergency Room and was treated for his injuries.
After Fields was treated at the hospital, he was arrested and transported to the State Police Detachment in Roane County, according to the suit, and forced to sign a statement that said he had fled the scene on foot.
Fields claims he cannot read or write, but was told that if he did not sign the statement, the beating would continue, so out of fear for his life and wellbeing, he signed the statement.
As a result of the beating he sustained Fields suffered a broken right orbital bone, a broken nose, several broken teeth and injuries to his abdomen and genitals, according to the suit, and he has had to undergo serious facial surgery and incurred considerable medical bills.
Fields claims the defendants violated his constitutional rights of the West Virginia Constitution.
The defendants’ actions were reprehensible; willful and wanton; malicious; and in blatant and intentional disregard of Fields’ rights, according to the suit, and were negligent and an abuse of process.
Fields is seeking compensatory and punitive damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. He is being represented by Matthew S. Criswell, Mark L. French and Steven M. Condaras.
The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Carrie Webster.
Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 12-C-2180