Man accuses Huntington, police officers of unlawful arrest

By Kyla Asbury | Mar 31, 2017

HUNTINGTON – A man is suing the city of Huntington after he claims he was unlawfully arrested and a knife he owned was not returned.

Huntington Police Department, Shane Bills and Joseph Ciccarelli were also named as defendants in the suit.

On March 17, 2016, Harry Lawrence Quigley was walking to Kroger on First Street and Seventh Avenue to purchase beverages to share with a friend when Jason David Blankenship called to him from his front lawn, according to a complaint filed March 16 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.

Quigley claims Blankenship held out money and asked him to buy him and his two friends an 18-pack of beer and Quigley told him that he did not have time to do that because he had a date with a friend and needed to run into Kroger quickly.

One of the men claimed Quigley did not have a date and cursed at him, to which he cursed back and turned away, according to the suit.

Quigley claims immediately, all three of the men descended on him and one punched him.

The plaintiff drew a knife after he was punched, but the trio of men stopped as a Cabell County deputy that normally patrolled the area approached, according to the suit.

Quigley claims the deputy told him to drop his knife, which he did, and he was then ordered to stand outside the police cruiser while three Huntington policemen arrived and talked to the other men.

The plaintiff was then put in the back of the police cruiser and taken to the station, where he was fingerprinted and photographed, according to the suit. He was then taken to magistrate court where Magistrate Dan Goheen informed him he was charged with brandishing a weapon and would be put in jail in the meantime.

Quigley claims he was not asked for any statement of facts or mitigating or exculpatory circumstances, such as self defense.

The plaintiff spent ten days in jail before his 89-year-old aunt drove 80 miles to pay his bond, according to the suit.

Quigley claims on March 30, 2016, he appeared before Magistrate Danne Vance for his first hearing on the brandishing charge and, again, appeared before Vance on May 19, 2016, who dismissed the charge.

On June 20, 2016, Quigley visited the Huntington Police Department and requested his Solingen knife that had been seized on March 17, 2016, but was told he needed to obtain a property release form from the magistrate’s office, according to the suit.

Quigley claims the magistrate clerk’s office told him they do not issue property release forms.

On July 25, 2016, Quigley sent a letter to Ciccarelli and Vance, asking them to arrange a date and time for him to retrieve his knife, but neither replied, according to the suit.

Quigley claims the defendants unlawfully arrested him and unlawfully seized his knife.

The defendants also violated Quigley’s 14th Amendment rights, according to the suit.

Quigley is seeking compensatory damages. He is representing himself.

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia case number: 3:17-cv-01906

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