Cowen police officer accused of excessive force

By Lawrence Smith | Oct 31, 2013


ELKINS - A Webster County man has resurrected his lawsuit against the Town of Cowen and one of its police officers.

U.S. District Judge John Preston Bailey on May 30 dismissed without prejudice Roger Ray’s civil rights suit against the Town and Kevin Cutlip after Ray was unsuccessful in finding a new attorney within 60 days as ordered.

Nine months earlier, Ray’s co-counsel, Joyce Helmick Morton of Webster Springs, withdrew from the case, citing unspecified health problems that were causing her to scale back her workload in order to close her practice.

In February, Ray’s other attorney, Daniel B. Dodson III, cited both his recent appointment to fill a vacancy on the Webster County Commission and his workload as an assistant Clay County prosecutor, as reasons to withdraw from the case.

After again filing it in Webster Circuit Court with the assistance of his new attorneys, John J. Polak, John-Mark Atkinson and Mark Atkinson, on Oct, 1, the case was removed again to U.S. District on Oct. 29 at the request of the Town's and Cutlip’s attorneys, Jonathan Jacob Jacks and Keith C. Gamble, citing federal constitutional issues.

According to the suit, on an unspecified time on Sept. 19, 2010, Ray heard his brother, Craig, who lives next door, shouting with someone else. After he came outside to investigate, he found Craig arguing with Cutlip.

After informing him he was on private property, Roger says Cutlip “became angry and without cause or reason, crossed over onto [his] property, threw [him] onto the ground, and arrested him for public intoxication and obstructing an officer.” Despite the arrest causing a reoccurrence in a “pre-existing osteoarthritic condition,” Ray says Cutlip refused him medical treatment.

According to the suit, Cutlip transported Ray to the Central Regional Jail in Sutton where he was booked and remained overnight until able to post bail the next day.

In his suit, Ray maintains because Cutlip’s actions were “not taken in good faith, and in violation of clearly established law,” they violated his constitutional rights and caused him to suffer, among other things, “[i]ndignity, embarrassment, humiliation, annoyance, inconvenience and degradation.” He seeks unspecified damages, interest and attorneys fees.

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia, case numbers 11-cv-78 (Ray I) and 13-cv-75 (Ray II)

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