CHARLESTON – A Kanawha County man is suing several West Virginia agencies over claims their correctional staffers used excessive force on him while he was in custody.

Shannon Blankenship filed a lawsuit April 13 in Kanawha Circuit Court against the state of West Virginia; West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety; the West Virginia Regional Jail & Correctional Facility Authority; Southern Regional Jail and its administrator, Michael Francis; and Austin G. Burke.

According to the complaint, Blankenship was an inmate in the Southern Regional Jail on May 22, 2014 when a special response team searched his cell for homemade weapons. The suit says while the plaintiff was lying on the floor at the officers’ orders, they allegedly shot him at a range of 2 feet with a gun that fires bean bags. Blankenship says the munition injured his left leg and hand, leaving his hand with limited functionality.

The plaintiff seeks a jury trial and compensatory damages, as well as interest and litigation expenses. He is represented by Charleston attorney Charles M. Love IV of The Love Law Firm PLLC, M. Timothy Koontz of Williamson and Sidney H. Bell of Beaver.

Judge Carrie L. Webster is assigned to the case.

Kanawha Circuit Court Case number 16-C-561

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