DUNBAR, WV (WOWK) – A Kanawha County father says his son was fatally injured and denied medical care during a July arrest by the Dunbar police.
According to a complaint filed Thursday, Michael A. Scott Jr., 34, died two days after a Dunbar officer slammed his head into the pavement.
Scott’s death is also under investigation by the Kanawha County sheriff’s office, officials there confirmed.
The incident happened in the early-morning hours of July 22 at the intersection of Park Drive and 10th Street, according to the lawsuit. Named in the complaint are officers Zachary Winters and Adam Mason, both of whom were attempting to arrest Scott for an outstanding warrant for a misdemeanor trespassing charge.
Dante’ diTrapano, attorney for the family, says he has watched the bodycam video from the incident. According to diTrapano, Winters lifted Scott off the ground and slammed his head into the pavement.
“I’ve dealt with dozens of these cases where police officers have shot people and beat people. The difference in this case is that they power slammed his head to the ground, but then it didn’t end,” diTrapano said. “They just carried him around for several hours while his brain was bleeding and while he was suffering and he started to struggle and he was asking, begging for medical attention.”
The lawsuit claims the maneuver caused an “epidural hematoma and three basilar skull fractures,” resulting in Scott’s eventual death.
Winters later told officials that Scott was trying to run at the time, but diTrapano says the video shows otherwise.
13 News has not seen the video, because the investigation by deputies is ongoing and it is considered evidence.
The lawsuit says that after the body slam–which Winters called a “suplex” wrestling maneuver–Scott’s physical condition began to deteriorate. However, the officers did not take Scott to get medical attention, the complaint says.
Eventually, Scott was taken to the South Central Regional Jail in Charleston, but staffers there refused to take him, the complaint says, because he was not “medically clear or safe to enter the jail.”
Per the request of the guards, Scott received medical treatment and was taken to Charleston Area Medical Center, where he died on July 24.
According to the Dunbar Police Department chief, Winters was placed on administrative leave following the incident but was reinstated pending the outcome of the criminal investigations. Mason was not placed on administrative leave.
The Dunbar Police Department is conducting an internal investigation in addition to the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office investigation.