CHARLESTON - Three Mingo County Sheriff’s deputies are accused of brutalizing a man following an altercation he had with one of the deputy’s loved ones.
Kevin E. Ball, Max J. Mounts and Michael J. Miller are named as co-defendants in a seven-count civil rights suit filed by William T. Compton. In his complaint filed June 24 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, Compton, 62 and a Delbarton resident, alleges Ball, Mounts and Miller used excessive force when arresting him two years ago following an argument he had with Ball’s wife.
According to the suit, at an unspecified time, Mounts, Miller and Trooper Jeff D. Matheny were dispatched to a convenience store regarding a disturbance between Compton and Ball’s wife. The name of convenience store and Ball’s wife are not stated.
After arriving, the suit states Mounts, Miller and Matheny placed Compton under arrest and led him out of the store to one of their cruisers. About that time, the suit states Ball arrived on the scene, and, after slamming Compton’s head onto the hood of one of the cruisers proclaimed “If you ever talk to my wife like that again, I’m going to (expletive deleted) kill you.”
Afterwards, Compton says he was placed in one of the cruisers and taken to Delbarton city hall. After arrival, he alleges one of them placed him in chair in which one or all three sprayed him with pepper spray, knocked him to the floor and began to beat and kick him.
In the course of the beating, Compton says either Mounts, Miller or Matheny told him to “shut up or it will get worse.”
At an unspecified time, the suit states Mounts, Miller and Matheny placed Compton again in one of their cruisers and took him to the Southwestern Regional Jail in Holden in Logan County. In the course of the trip, Compton alleges Matheny mockingly sang a version of the 1966 Bobby Fuller Four rock-n-roll classic “I Fought the Law,” saying “You [Compton] fought the law and the law won.”
According to the Mingo Magistrate Clerk’s Office, Compton was charged with one count each of assault, battery, disorderly conduct, battery on an officer and three counts of obstructing an officer. A month following his arrest, the Mingo County Prosecutor’s Office agreed to dismiss all the charges in exchange for Compton pleading guilty to a single obstruction charge.
Along with a sentence of time already served - two days in jail - Compton was assessed $185.80 in court costs.
In his suit, Compton avers at no time did he pose a threat to Mounts, Miller, Matheny or Ball or evade or resist arrest. As a result of the beatings he took from them, Compton alleges he suffered, among other things, “bruising, lacerations, internal injuries, facial fractures, orthopedic injuries, [and] emotional distress requiring past and future medical treatment.”
Along with claims against Ball, Mounts, Miller and Matheny, who is named as a co-defendant in the suit, the suit makes ones of negligent hiring, training and supervision against their respective employers, Interim Mingo County Sheriff Rosie Crum, the Mingo County Commission and the State Police. In West Virginia, the county sheriffs and commissions are co-employers of deputy sheriffs.
In his suit, Compton seeks unspecified damages, court costs, interest and attorneys fees. He is represented by Lewisburg attorney Robert J. Frank.
The case is assigned to Judge Joseph R. Goodwin.
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, case number 13-cv-15340 (Compton civil)
Mingo Magistrate Court, case numbers 11-M-882-888 (Compton criminal)