CHARLESTON – A federal inmate is suing two West Virginia State Troopers he alleges beat him in their custody until he agreed to confess to robbing two gas stations in Clay County.
Brian Young and Scott Bass were named as defendants in the suit.
On Feb. 13, 2015, Bruce Bird was arrested by the West Virginia State Police, along with his girlfriend, for robbing two gas stations, according to a complaint filed Feb. 9 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.
Bird was compliant at the time of the arrest and was taken to the West Virginia State Police detachment in Big Otter for interrogation.
The plaintiff was walked, handcuffed, into the interrogation room at the detachment in order to be questioned by Young and Bass, according to the suit.
Bird claims as he was escorted near the chair he was supposed to sit in, Bass, who was standing directly behind the plaintiff, told Bird that “you know what we want you to say…the first word that you say that we don’t like, I’m cracking you in the ear.”
As Bird began to talk, both of the defendants began to use violent physical force against him and began to beat him, according to the suit.
Bird claims both the defendants were wearing black leather gloves while they beat him and, as they beat the plaintiff, he curled into a ball and attempted to absorb the blows and protect his head and face.
After awhile, Bird finally said, “alright, alright, I’ll do whatever you want me to do, just quit kicking me,” and Young delivered one final blow that seriously injured Bird by jumping in the air and coming straight down with one knee directly onto Bird’s ribs on the left side of his body, according to the suit.
Bird claims after he told the officers he would say whatever they wanted him to say, the officers turned on a recorder and began to take his statement.
The plaintiff was then transported by a different police officer to jail and, at the jail, he was examined and questioned by a nurse and a correctional officer because he appeared to be suffering from rib pain, according to the suit. Bird told the nurse and the correctional officer that he had been beaten by the defendants.
Bird claims after 24 hours he was taken into the pods and was there for another 24 hours, when he told the other inmates he was having trouble breathing and another inmate called for medical because Bird was having trouble breathing.
The jail’s medical unit took Bird to Braxton Community Hospital and he ended up falling unconscious on the floor and a CAT scan was performed, as well as other tests, according to the suit. Hospital staff then started calling for multiple pints of blood and informed Bird that he had called for the Health Net helicopter for emergency air transport to Charleston Area Medical Center.
Bird claims the doctors informed him that his spleen had ruptured and that he was being rushed to a larger hospital for emergency surgery. He was hospitalized until Feb. 22, 2015.
Young and Bass used excessive force and then withheld medical treatment, according to the suit.
Bird, through his mother and power of attorney, Teresa Bird, is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. He is being represented by John H. Bryan of John H. Bryan-Attorney At Law.
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia case number: 2:17-cv-01232