Man says Harrison Co. deputies broke orbital bones, ribs

By John O'Brien | Oct 7, 2013

CLARKSBURG – A Clarksburg man says he was beaten by Harrison County sheriff’s deputies after he fled from a traffic stop.

Joy Pumphrey filed a civil rights lawsuit Oct. 1 against two deputies, the Harrison County Commission, the Town of Nutter Fort and a Nutter Fort police officer. It alleges the beating he received left him with several fractures, including four ribs.

“When the defendants repeatedly struck and punched Joy Pumphrey in the face and ribs, no objectively reasonable officers could have perceived Mr. Pumphrey as posing an immediate threat to the safety of the officers or others,” the complaint says.

“Joy Pumphrey was neither armed nor suspected by the defendants of being armed at the time he was beaten.

“At the time Joy Pumphrey fled from the officers, the only crime for which the defendants had probable cause to suspect Mr. Pumphrey of committing was having loud exhaust.”

The alleged incident took place on Oct. 13, 2011, near Nutter Fort. Pumphrey says he was pulled over for having loud exhaust by a deputy, who was later joined by another deputy and a Nutter Fort patrolman.

The complaint says the officers were seeking consent to search Pumphrey’s vehicle and, after he was searched for weapons, Pumphrey ran.

The officers caught up to him and began punching and kicking him in the face and ribs, leaving him unconscious, the complaint says.

Pumphrey ended up in the emergency room of United Hospital Center in Bridgeport, where a CT scan showed fractures of the anterior and posterior walls of the right maxillary sinus, the right zygomatic arch, the right orbital floor and the lateral wall of the right orbit, the complaint says.

Also, Pumphrey had a broken nose and fractures to the left orbital floor and four ribs, he says. He received permanent injuries to his body and vision, he says.

The complaint makes claims for excessive force and negligence. It also seeks punitive damages.

Union attorney John H. Bryan is representing Pumphrey.

From the West Virginia Record: Reach John O’Brien at

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