MARTINSBURG – A federal judge is allowing a bank robber who accused several police officers – including the former Jefferson County sheriff – to add two new defendants to his civil lawsuit.

On June 18, U.S. District Judge John Preston Bailey, of the Northern District of West Virginia, granted Mark Haines’ motion to amend his complaint. Haines is currently serving a 225-month prison sentence after pleading guilty to robbing a BB&T in Martinsburg.

But it was the police chase after he was suspected of robbing a City National Bank that led to the lawsuit. It also led to a guilty plea by former Jefferson County Sheriff Robert Shirley, who was sentenced to a year in prison.

In his motion to amend, Haines sought to add two former Shepherdstown police officers – James Cummings and Timothy Johnson - as defendants.

Bailey wrote that he never received a response to the May 15 motion to amend.

“(T)his court finds that good cause exists to amend the complaint to add defendants Cummings and Johnson,” Bailey wrote.

“The court further finds this will not cause any prejudice to the non-moving parties, it will not delay or negatively impact these judicial proceedings, and that the movant has acted in good faith.”

Shirley and several of the co-defendants reached a $90,000 settlement in a May 24 mediation conference.

Shirley, accused of kicking Haines in the head, pleaded guilty to deprivation of rights under the color of law earlier this year and on May 13 was sentenced to one year and one day in prison by U.S. District Judge John Preston Bailey.

“The settlement demonstrates that in the United States, no one is above the law, including the police,” said Harry P. Waddell, Haines’ attorney

In June 2012, a federal grand jury indicted Shirley on charges relating to his arrest of Haines 18 months earlier. According to both the indictment and the civil suit Haines filed, Shirley recklessly beat and kicked Haines following a high-speed chase on Dec. 27, 2010.

Shirley and deputies with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department began their chase of Haines after receiving a report he attempted to rob the drive-thru of the City National Bank at the Potomac Marketplace shopping center in Ranson.

Eventually, officers with the Charles Town and Ranson police departments joined in and were later followed by the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Department and the West Virginia State Police.

After Haines stopped his pick-up truck in a field across from Files Cross Road, he stepped out of the vehicle with his hands in the air. After one or more of the officers pushed him against the bed of truck, Shirley “climbed into the bed… and kicked [him] repeatedly in the head with a deliberate and sadistic intention to inflict injury on [him],” it was alleged.

From the West Virginia Record: Reach John O’Brien at jobrienwv@gmail.com.

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