HUNTINGTON – An arrest has yielded a lawsuit against a Wayne County deputy sheriff.
Stafford Poff is named as a co-defendant in a five-count civil rights suit filed by Dwayne Ferguson. According to his complaint filed March 14 in U.S. District Court, Ferguson, 51 and of East Lynn, alleges Poff lacked a reason to arrest him for domestic violence-related charges in June.
According to the complaint, Poff at an unspecified time on June 22 was dispatched to an unspecified location regarding a “domestic incident not in progress.” Sometime after arriving, Poff allegedly received a dispatch at an unspecified time about an incident at the Ferguson residence.
After arriving at his home without a warrant at an unspecified time, Ferguson says Poff “banged on the door and demanded [he] come to the door.” Though his daughter informed him he was in bed, Poff still demanded to speak with Ferguson, he says.
According to the suit, Poff informed the daughter that if Ferguson did not come to the door he was going to kick it in. When he received no response, the suit alleges “Poff was true to his word and kicked the locked door in and forced entry into the residence.”
After entering his home, Ferguson says Poff encountered both he and his mentally handicapped wife in their bedroom. Shortly thereafter, Ferguson alleges Poff threw him “on the bed and jumped on top of him with his knee positioned in his back.”
Despite informing him he was disabled in his shoulder, Ferguson alleges in the course of arresting him, Poff “began manipulating his shoulder in a manner to cause him pain and discomfort.”
According to the suit, following his arrest Poff took Ferguson to Wayne Magistrate Court and charged him with domestic assault, domestic battery and obstructing.
According to the Clerk’s Office, following his arrest, Ferguson was taken to the Western Regional Jail and later released on $4,000 bond. The charges were dismissed on Aug. 8 on a motion by Ferguson’s court-appointed attorney, Darren Queen, when Mrs. Ferguson failed to show for the hearing.
In addition to those against Poff for invasion of privacy, false arrest and imprisonment and assault and battery, Ferguson makes claims against the Wayne County Commission for negligent hiring, retention and supervision. In West Virginia, the county commissions and sheriffs are co-employers of deputies.
Along with unspecified damages, attorneys fees and court costs, Ferguson seeks a court order compelling the commission to instruct deputies to obtain a warrant for alleged crimes not committed in their presence and setting forth the elements by which they can properly charge a suspect for obstructing. He is represented by Huntington attorneys Richard W. Weston, and Courtenay Craig.
The case is assigned to Judge Robert C. “Chuck” Chambers.
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, case number 13-cv-5111