WV Civil Rights Lawyer

Police Misconduct, Civil Rights Law

Police Officer Out of Control in East Bank, West Virginia

There was an article in the Charleston Daily Mail this morning about a police officer in East Bank, West Virginia, who was “horseplaying” with his taser, tasering a pregnant 18 year old, and a town firefighter. This same guy filed criminal charges against the town recorder/ police commissioner for “retaliating against a police officer.”

This guy – Sgt. Steve Smith – is absolutely out of control. Where are the authorities here? Somebody has got to reign this guy in, take away his gun and put him on administrative leave. He is cited in the article as describing the taser as a “tool” rather than a weapon. I’m not sure how many tools have a trigger and shoot electrically charged barbs that penetrate your skin to send electric volts through your body… but hey, I guess that is just semantics.

The fact is that this guy is dangerous and has no business with a badge or any kind of weapon. Period. If he does this as “horseplay,” can you imagine what he would do to you if he was arresting you, or even pulling you over for a traffic violation.

It’s very scary that some of these smaller-town police departments in West Virginia have absolutely no oversight, and many of the officers have little experience. If they wanted to, they could pull you over, plant some cocaine, put you in handcuffs and take you to jail. Then it’s your word versus theirs. It has happened… The only thing you can do about it is refuse to live in a community that does not responsibly oversee their police department.

– John H. Bryan, West Virginia Attorney.

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September 12, 2008 - Posted by | Police, Police Misconduct

2 Comments »

  1. The problem here, obviously besides Smith’s incompetence, is that no one knew about this until Smith arrested Samantha White’s mother, Dee White who spoke last night.

    Smith deserves to be fired and never allowed to be a law enforcement officer again, but if his supervisors did not know until after White’s arrest, it’s not fair to hold them accountable.

    Comment by Jay | September 12, 2008 | Reply

  2. If the allegations are true, this officer deserves to be fired. The question will also involve appropriate civil damages. Some may argue that his superiors did not have notice of this officer’s bad behavior. Others will argue that they had a duty to appropriately train this officer and that they share some responsibility for inadequate training and/or inadequate supervision. Most likely the claim will be settled.
    Sincerely,
    Glen R. Graham, Tulsa Criminal Attorney, http://www.glenrgraham.com

    Comment by Glen R. Graham | September 13, 2008 | Reply


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