West Virginia Governor Calls Arrest a Police “Beating”

West Virginia

On November 19th, a 16-year old boy was arrested by two state troopers with the Martinsburg Detachment in the Eastern Panhandle. State Police Officers Derek Walker and Michael Kennedy were then suspended, along with a Berkeley County Deputy.

The State Police Colonel says the officers struck and tossed the suspect. The video has still not been released to the press or public. Governor Justice has not seen the video but was told what it depicts.

“In all honesty, you had way beyond necessary force. You had [the] beating of a kid,” said Gov. Jim Justice, (R) West Virginia.

Many lawmakers support releasing the video to the media and public.

“The vast majority of our state troopers and police officers handle their jobs with dignity and they treat people with respect. And that’s why it’s so important that we let the video out there. We act swiftly and we take care of this problem so that one bad apple doesn’t spoil the bunch,” said Del. Mike Pushkin, (D) Kanawha.

The state police superintendent has described the video as showing officers striking blows on a suspect who was not resisting much and then tossing his body to the pavement.

“You’ve got 600 plus great state policemen and this made them look awful. That’s all there is to it. And I’ll promise you, to the lord above, this governor is not going to stand for that crap. That’s all there is to it,” said Gov. Justice,

The Berkeley County prosecutor has indicated she may release the videotape when the investigation is complete.

Cases like this can take two legal paths. If there are criminal charges the case would be heard in state circuit court. If there are claims of civil rights violations, the case would go to federal court.

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