CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- UDPATE 12/4/18
One of two West Virginia state troopers suspended after a teen suspect allegedly was beaten during a traffic stop last month faces an excessive-force lawsuit from an earlier incident.
Charles Town attorney Braun Hamstead filed the lawsuit earlier this year against Martinsburg Trooper 1st Class Derek Walker, who had arrested Hamstead's wife in 2016.
The lawsuit says Walker dragged Julie Ann Hamstead in a parking lot and slammed her to the ground before placing her in handcuffs.
Walker and Trooper 1st Class Michael Kennedy, who worked at the Martinsburg detachment, were suspended after dashcam video showed them allegedly beating a teen suspect after a pursuit on Nov. 19.
A federal judge in August ruled Walker was acting in his official capacity, was entitled to qualified immunity and removed both him and the state police from the lawsuit.
The judge has not ruled on an amended complaint filed in September that attempted to add Walker and state police back into the lawsuit.
A state police spokesman did not immediately comment on the lawsuit Monday.
Meanwhile, Berkeley County sheriff's deputy has been suspended without pay over the traffic stop.
Sheriff Curtis Keller said Deputy Austin Ennis was present during the incident. He was suspended on Friday.
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A spokesman for West Virginia State Police has released information about two suspended troopers and allegations of the officers beating a teenager.
Governor Jim Justice released a statement Thursday, sternly calling for an investigation, and criminal charges if warranted. He said dashcam video shows two troopers from the Martisburg detachment beating a 16-year-old suspect after a pursuit.
Not long after Justice's statement was released, WVSP Chief of Staff Services Major Reggie Patterson released more details. He says the troopers were "immediately" placed on administrative leave without pay.
The alleged incident happened Monday, Nov. 19 in Martinsburg. Patterson says the suspect was involved in a crash with a sheriff's department cruiser. That led to a pursuit, he says, and the suspect ended up crashing.
In his statement, Patterson refers to the teenager as the "suspect/victim." He continued, "The suspect/victim was found to be a 16 year old, white male, which was transported to a hospital and subsequently released."
He says it was the "apprehension process" where the troopers' actions came into question, leading to the suspensions.
"The West Virginia State Police has initiated a criminal and internal investigation, upon reviewing an in-car camera video," Patterson said.
In Gov. Justice's statement, he said dashcam video shows the troopers beating the teenager. "While I proudly support the brave efforts of our law enforcement agencies every day it must be perfectly clear that I will NOT tolerate this kind of behavior in any way, shape, form, or fashion. I have instructed Col. Cahill to begin an investigation immediately and to pursue criminal charges if warranted to prevent behavior like this from ever happening again.”
Patterson continued to say that WVSP cannot make any additional statements until a thorough investigation is completed. In the meantime, they are also not releasing the name of the victim because he is a minor.
Two West Virginia State Police troopers are currently suspended without pay. Governor Jim Justice released a statement Wednesday afternoon, saying a 16-year-old was allegedly beaten by the officers.
The alleged incident happened in Martinsburg, involving troopers from the Martinsburg detachment of WVSP.
“I was notified last night of an incident in Martinsburg, WV involving two troopers from the Martinsburg Detachment and a 16-year-old male suspect," the press release from the governor states. "The suspect was stopped by troopers after a pursuit and dashcam video taken at the scene shows the suspect being beaten by the two troopers. While I proudly support the brave efforts of our law enforcement agencies every day it must be perfectly clear that I will NOT tolerate this kind of behavior in any way, shape, form, or fashion. I have instructed Col. Cahill to begin an investigation immediately and to pursue criminal charges if warranted to prevent behavior like this from ever happening again.”
The governor's press release states WVSP will be sending out a separate release with additional details.
“We have so many brave and respected men and women of law enforcement across West Virginia; all this does is cast a dark shadow on them. If this is the case, it will NOT be tolerated.”