CHARLESTON — A Jackson County man is suing the Jackson County Sheriff's Department and sheriff after he claims a deputy used excessive force and caused him injuries.
The case names Deputy Ross H. Mellinger, Sheriff Tony Boggs, the Jackson County Commission and the Jackson County Sheriff's Department as defendants in the suit.
Cody Ryan Fields claims on Sept. 20, 2017, Mellinger was executing a search warrant at the home of Joseph Farrell near Ripley when he confronted Fields, who was in the detached garage, according to a complaint filed July 2 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.
Fields claims Mellinger ordered him to get on the ground and while Fields was standing with his hands in the air, Mellinger used excessive force and struck him in the face with the butt end of a shotgun, causing several of his teeth to come out.
Mellinger then told Fields that "his teeth needed to come out anyway," according to the suit.
Fields claims he was not under arrest at the time of the attack and had not committed a crime, was not attempting to flee and was not attempting to assault or strike Mellinger, nor was he threatening to do so
After the attack, Mellinger placed Fields under arrest for bogus charges of obstruction and simple possession, according to the suit. A Jackson County magistrate judge dismissed the charges on May 1, 2018.
Fields claims the defendants were negligent and Mellinger's actions constituted battery.
"Upon information and belief, the Sheriff's department adopted a policy of paying lip-service to the Use of Force rules and not enforcing the violation of the same, either by quiet consent or by custom," the complaint states.
Fields is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. He is represented by Michael T. Clifford.
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia Case number: 2:19-cv-00493