CHARLESTON — A Calhoun County man is suing a West Virginia State Police trooper, alleging the trooper used excessive force and injured the plaintiff.
Joshua M. Settle filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia-Charleston Division.
Settle was 20 when he was driving a vehicle on Daniel’s Run Road April 19, 2017. The suit says Settle sped off in his vehicle when State Trooper Nathan Scott Step attempted to pull him over for an alleged moving violation.
Shortly after fleeing, Settle crashed his car into a ditch. Stepp approached Settle’s vehicle and Settle says he held his hands up to show that he was unarmed, but that Stepp proceeded to drag him out of the vehicle by his face.
Settle alleges he kept telling Stepp that he was scared and that it wasn’t right the way he was grabbing him. Stepp then put Settle into a choke hold and took him down to the ground with his hands behind his back, the suit says.
Settle says at that point, Step could have easily handcuffed him.
“Instead…Stepp put his knee into plaintiff’s back, as plaintiff yelled out, ‘you’re hurting me, you’re hurting me, officer,’” the complaint states.
Settle says he informed Stepp that he could not breathe but Stepp then threatened to shoot him and twisted his arms behind his back. The suit says Stepp then sprayed Settle with pepper spray and beat him about his head, torso, arms and legs with a nightstick.
Settle alleges he begged Stepp to stop beating him, but that Stepp continued to beat him until he finally stopped and then asked Settle if the plaintiff had any diseases, as he was covered in Settle’s blood.
Stepp finally radioed for an ambulance, according to the suit.
Once Settle arrived at Charleston Area Medical Center, he received nine staples to close his open wounds that he says were caused by the beating.
Stepp told first responders that Settle’s injuries were caused by the car crash, which Settle alleges is false. Settle says the dashcam from Stepp’s cruiser refutes the allegations that the crash caused the injuries.
Settle seeks compensatory and punitive damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. He is represented by attorneys Eric J. Buckner and Russell A. Williams of Katz, Kantor, Stonestreet & Buckner in Princeton.
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia-Charleston Division case number: 2:18-cv-01177