CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) – West Virginia State Delegate Mike Caputo (D-Marion) has been charged with battery after an incident that happened on March 1, 2019, at the West Virginia State Capitol, according to court documents. The criminal complaint was filed on Friday, September 6, 2019.
According to the complaint, on March 1, Delegate Caputo walked towards the steps leading to the main doors of the West Virginia House of Delegates chambers, “making a commotion, talking loud, and saying nasty things.” The complaint says Delegate Caputo then walked up to the door of the chamber and according to witnesses, “raised his hands, and either pushed, hit or kicked the door and stated open the ‘GD’ door and nobody keeps me out.”
The complaint says Capito then pushed the door into and struck House of Delegates doorman, Logan Casterline, as Delegate Caputo entered the chamber. After the incident, Casterline complained of pain and sought medical attention, on-site and at a local hospital.
Delegate Sharon Malcolm was interviewed after the incident and stated that while she was in the chamber, as the session was starting, Caputo stepped around her and advised her to get the “F” out of his way. She stated he then took his elbow and pushed her out of his way. She stated that she was out of his way and that he had to come up behind her in order to hit her with his elbow. She stated that he was already around her and had to turn to strike her. Delegate Malcolm stated that she wasn’t initially hurt, but she was sore, and later advised the Capitol Police that she had sought medical attention for pain that she had been experiencing on the right side of her chest and shoulder, which is the area the defendant struck her. Delegate Malcolm has further advised that she has continued to experience pain, and is still under physician’s care for this injury.
Delegate Mike Caputo said in a statement to 13 News, “I was very surprised and disappointed to learn today that I have been charged criminally regarding my action back on March 1, 2019 at the West Virginia House of Delegates. I have already apologized for losing my temper that day, but I certainly didn’t intend to physically hurt anyone, and don’t believe I committed a crime.”
House of Delegate Communication Director Jared Hunt issued the following statement, “This is a law enforcement matter that, based on our understanding, is being handled by the Capitol Police and Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. House leadership has not been involved in this matter since the date the incident occurred and was referred to Capitol Police, therefore we would refer any comment on the investigation or decision to pursue a criminal charge to the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety and the Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.”
West Virginia Democratic Party Chairwoman Belinda Biafore said in a statement today, “While Republicans have done all they can to protect the criminals in their caucus, they’ve gone out of their way to try and defame Democratic Delegate Mike Caputo…”