As previously reported, private investigator Donald Stephens was hired by Crystal Wilkerson to investigate an incident in which citizens claim law enforcement officials from three agencies beat her son and allowed a police dog to attack him outside the Williamson State Police barracks. Police escorted him there after arresting him when he allegedly became disorderly at the attorney’s office where he and his mother attended a mental hygiene hearing. Crystal Wilkerson told a Daily News reporter she feared for her son’s safety due to his mental state and was seeking help for him.
A man contacted the Wilkerson family, claiming he saw officers with the West Virginia State Police, the Mingo County Sheriff’s Department, and the Williamson City Police Department trip Calvin Wilkerson when he got out of a police cruiser on Third Street. He told the Wilkersons and later Stephens that officers allowed the police dog to attack Calvin Wilkerson while they kicked him and shouted at him with racially-charged language.
Wilkerson was taken to Williamson Memorial Hospital that night and treated for four different lacerations, including two dog bites.
There has been a total of eight people to give Stephens statements about seeing an altercation outside the police barracks, he said, adding, ‘After questioning all the witnesses, I found that they are credible.’
However, as Stephens pointed out, allegations are just that until an investigation is complete.
Asserting he believes there are other witnesses, as police waved people through on the street the night of the incident, Stephens said, ‘It’s crucial that people come forward and tell me what they know so we can get to the bottom of this issue.’
He has requested the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to assist in the case, taking what evidence he has to the Williamson agent, who will formulate a preliminary report for Washington officials, who will decide whether or not the incident warrants a probe.
‘I’m sure the people of Mingo County want to know what happened,’ Stephens said. ‘Also, I’m sure its in the best interest of the city, the county and the state to find out what the truth is regarding the case.’
The National Association for the Advancement for Colored People (NAACP) has been involved in the investigation since a day or so after the incident occurred in January 2009, but is leaving the probe in Stephens’ hands, he said.
Taking the case of Calvin and Crystal Wilkerson this week, Wayne County attorney Gary L. Michaels said he does not know what the status is for the federal investigation, but will be working with the NAACP and Stephens in finding the truth.
‘I want to make sure the facts are clear, and at this time it is unclear as to what the facts are,’ Michaels said. ‘There are several witnesses and I’m resolved to help the Wilkerson’s to fully develop the facts in this case and, if necessary, to file any appropriate civil action.’
Although unsure what the NAACP’s role is in the case at this point, Michaels said they are involved.
Stephens urges anyone with information about the case in question to call him at (304) 234-3355.
Having received numerous reports alleging past abuse from the officers named in the Wilkerson case, Stephens said there is nothing he can do about those occasions, and people sometimes say stuff out of anger.
This is why is so important not to point fingers or make statements that could be harmful to anyone, he said adding, ‘We are just looking for the truth.’