2 troopers suspended for beating 16-year-old suspect
Two West Virginia State Police troopers have been placed on leave without pay after dashcam video showed them beating a 16-year-old suspect.
West Virginia Governor Jim Justice released a statement Wednesday afternoon saying that he will "NOT tolerate this kind of behavior in any way, shape, form, or fashion."
According to Major Reginald Patterson, a spokesman for the state police, a 16-year-old boy was involved in a crash with a sheriff's department cruiser on Monday and fled, leading to a pursuit that ended with him crashing and being arrested by two troopers from the Martinsburg detachment of West Virginia State Police.
While apprehending the teenager, dashcam video shows the troopers beating the 16-year-old white male.
He was taken to a hospital and subsequently released.
A statement from Patterson labels the beating as "Response to Resistance/Aggression actions" which were found to be questionable. Police have launched a criminal and internal investigation, but cannot make additional statements until that investigation is complete.
The victim will not be named due to his age, and police have not released the names of the two troopers, who have each been suspended without pay.
"While I proudly support the brave efforts of our law enforcement agencies every day, it must be perfectly clear that I will NOT tolerate this kind of behavior in any way, shape, form, or fashion," said Gov. Justice in his official statement. "I have instructed Col. Cahill to begin an investigation immediately and to pursue criminal charges if warranted to prevent behavior like this from ever happening again. We have so many brave and respected men and women of law enforcement across West Virginia; all this does is cast a dark shadow on them. If this is the case, it will NOT be tolerated.”
American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia spokesman Tim Ward said police have a constitutional responsibility to avoid excessive force, no matter the circumstance.
"We are committed to getting to the bottom of this incident to determine if any of the teenager's civil liberties were violated," Ward said in a statement.