PARKERSBURG - Parkersburg police are again accused of excessive force when arresting a suspect.
Officers Jay Hart and Michael Bosley are named as co-defendants in a civil rights lawsuit filed Nov. 20 by John Sadler. In his complaint filed in U.S. District Court, Sadler, 24 and a Parkersburg resident, alleges Hart, Bosley, and another officer brutalized him this summer following his arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence.
The suit alleges that officers using excessive force when arresting suspects is part of a “pattern and practice” within PPD that is condoned by the chain of command, including the current police chief and the mayor, a former police chief, and has resulted in the city settling three similar suits for more than $300,000.
According to his complaint, Sadler was arrested on Aug. 13 for DUI. Other than being charged by Hart and Bosley, no details of what led to the arrest are provided.
In the course of booking him, Sadler alleges Hart “suddenly and violently” began “choking him” and “punching him in the stomach.” After choking him almost to the point of unconsciousness, Sadler alleges Hart lifted him up onto a bench and began choking him again.
Though he did not choke or strike him, Sadler says Bosley aided Hart by “placing his hands on [him].” Also, he says, though they could have, neither Bosley nor another unidentified officer in the room intervened to stop Hart’s actions.
Sometime later, Sadler says he was taken to the emergency room, treated, released and incarcerated. A charge of obstructing an officer was also filed against him but later dismissed.
In his complaint, Sadler avers he showed no aggression toward Hart. However, he alleges reports Hart filed following the report indicated he did.
Hart’s excessive use of force is a common occurrence by PPD, Sadler alleges. In his complaint, he makes reference to a June 2, 2011, letter sent by John Triplett, an attorney representing Patrolman Nathan Deuley in a civil suit he has against the City, in which Newell, during a meeting on an unspecified date with most PPD officers, reportedly said it was okay to “beat their ass and send their ass to the hospital” if they ever got into a scuffle with a suspect.
Also, Newell allegedly told the officers not to worry about any resulting lawsuits as he knew how to “handle” insurance companies.
In his complaint, Sadler makes reference to at least three other lawsuits filed in the last four years against the City accusing officers of civil rights violations. The suits have ended with the City, via its insurance carrier, paying Timothy Mazza, Terry Ratliff and Jerry Seabolt, respectively, $100,000, $70,000 and $135,000.
Because of a “policy, custom and practice” of using excessive force of police making arrests of suspects, Sadler’s suit names Newell and Police Chief Joe Martin as co-defendants. Along with unspecified damages, attorneys fees and court costs, Sadler seeks a court order finding that Hart’s, Bosley’s, Newell’s and Martin’s actions violated his constitutional rights, and they, and all PPD officers, take the necessary training to alleviate further complaints excessive force.
He is represented by John H. Bryan and Martha J. Fleshman of Union and Paul V. Morrison II of Harrisville. The case is assigned to Judge Joseph R. Goodwin., Jr.
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia case number 13-cv-11111