MARTINSBURG – The estate of a man shot and killed by Martinsburg police officers is seeking $200 million in a recently filed lawsuit.
The Estate of Wayne A. Jones filed the lawsuit June 13 against the City of Martinsburg and its police department, as well as several John Does involved in the shooting.
Jones was killed March 13 in downtown Martinsburg after police say he stabbed an officer with a knife that caused a minor wound.
The complaint says Jones was on medication for schizophrenia.
“At no point in the course of his unlawful detention did decedent Jones fail to comply with orders or commands of officers of the MPD, neither was decedent Jones disobedient or combative with officers, and officers of the MPD did not react toward him with a good faith concern,” the complaint says.
“Plaintiffs are informed and believe that shortly after decedent Jones was stopped and detained by officers of the MPD, the officers, without legal cause or excuse, fired electric bards from their Tasers into his body and stunned him with electrical shocks, pointed their guns at him, screamed confusing and contradictory instructions and escalated the volatility in the situation they created.”
The complaint says Jones attempted to run, fell and was beaten by officers. As he laid on the ground, officers shot between 15 to 25 rounds into him, killing him.
Jones lay in the same spot for four hours before being removed to the morgue, the complaint says.
“Defendants contend that during a scuffle while decedent Jones was on the ground, decedent Jones pulled out a pocket knife and stabbed one of the officers in the torso,” the complaint says.
“Then, MPD officers backed off and (shot) decedent Jones multiple times as he attempted to get to his feet. With proper training and protocol, MPD officers would have used reasonable tactics and restraining measures.”
Jones had committed no crime and did not present a threat of harm to anyone when he was approached by police, the complaint says.
Attorney Sherman L. Lambert of Shepherdstown also alleges in the complaint that other complaints against MPD allege excessive force and failure to respond appropriately to persons in mental health crisis.
The complaint seeks $100 million in compensatory damages and $100 million in punitive damages.
From the West Virginia Record: Reach John O’Brien at firstname.lastname@example.org.