CHARLESTON – A woman is suing the City of Charleston and its police department after she claims unknown officers illegally arrested her son and caused him injury.
On Feb. 3, two unnamed Charleston police officers were traveling on Main Street when their unmarked gray vehicle passed X’Zane Watts and his cousin, Fenix Watts, were they were standing in the alley, peacefully near their home, according to a complaint filed June 7 in Kanawha Circuit Court.
Charissa Watts claims the officers made an abrupt stop and reversed the vehicle back in front of X’Zane Watts and Fenix Watts, who are both minors.
The defendants then exited their vehicles with their guns aggressively directed and aimed at the minor children while charging them without verbally identifying themselves and without wearing any identifying information and shouting profanities, according to the suit.
Charissa Watts claims X’Zane Watts immediately picked up his younger and defenseless cousin and began to run toward his home with Fenix Watts in his arms.
When the innocent minor children attempted to return to the safety of their home, the unknown officers escalated their aggressive behavior and continued screaming and raising their weapons at the children while chasing them at gun point, according to the suit.
Charissa Watts claims X’Zane Watts was startled by the deadly weapons and screaming and, in fear for his life, he could no longer hold onto his cousin and, while attempting to run into his home, one of the officers tripped him, causing him to sustain severe lacerations to his arm and an injury to his head.
The defendants then followed and barged into the home of Charissa Watts and X’Zane Watts, according to the suit.
Charissa Watts claims with the firearm out, one of the officers forcefully tackled X’Zane Watts to the ground and held the firearm to his head while screaming expletives at the minor child.
During the forceful takedown, X’Zane Watts was struck in the head by the firearm, according to the suit.
Charissa Watts claims she ran from the kitchen into the living room and witnessed the officer holding her only child and gunpoint.
Ultimately, the defendants realized that they had mistakenly identified X’Zane Watts and that he was the accidental target of an intense, aggressive and illegal arrest, according to the suit.
Charissa Watts claims the defendants’ conduct violated the West Virginia Constitution and the United States Constitution.
Charissa Watts is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. She is being represented by Michael M. Cary of Cary Law Office.
The case is assigned to Circuit Judge Jennifer Bailey.
Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 17-C-795