By Kyle Lovern
August 14, 2013
CHARLESTON - Two lawsuits were filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, naming two officers for the Town of Gilbert and three West Virginia State Police (WVSP) troopers as defendants.
The suits, filed on August 2, 2013, by Weston Law Office Attorneys Richard W. Weston and Connor Robertson, identifies the plaintiffs as Jimmy West and Bobby Lester, who are both from the Gilbert area. Nathan Glanden and Larry Thomas of the Gilbert Police Department, along with WVSP Troopers Tupper, Douglas and Robinson are listed as defendants, as well as the Town of Gilbert. They are each being sued in both their personal capacity as well as in their official capacity as an officer.
The suit states that in August of 2011, Jimmy West and Bobby Lester returned home after being at the races in Mingo County. After arriving home, defendant Glanden and a few other officers appeared at West’s residence asking where a gun was. The complaint states that apparently, while West and Lester were at the races, a police officer who lives near West’s residence had a gun stolen from his home. West proceeded to inform Officer Glanden that he had no idea about the gun and stated that at this point, Glanden told him he would be back.
The suit reads that true to his word, Glanden and the above named officers kicked in the door of West’s door and severely beat the two men for no reason and without provocation. After the beating, the officers simply left. Neither West nor Lester were arrested or charged with a crime. Before leaving, one officer allegedly informed West that if he should ever mention the incident to anyone, his life would become “a living hell.” Both of the plaintiffs had to be treated at an area hospital for the serious injuries they sustained.
The complaint states that the show of force against West and Lester and the degree of force actually used against them, was objectively unreasonable, excessive and unwarranted and violated the Plaintiff’s clearly established rights, which a reasonable police officer should have known pursuant to the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution and the Constitution of West Virginia. It further states that the officer’s actions were willful, wanton, intentional, malicious and done with callous or reckless disregard for West’s and Lester’s constitutional rights.
The plaintiffs request judgment against the defendants in an amount that will fully and fairly compensate them for his injuries including medical expenses, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, annoyance, aggravation, psychological distress and other compensatory damages that will be proved during the trial. The plaintiffs also request punitive damages against the officer defendants, reasonable attorney fees and costs, and all other damages provided by law and any other relief the court deems to be just and fair.