By November 26, 2019 Read More →

W.Va. troopers are cleared by internal reviews, then taxpayers spend millions settling the lawsuits

By Jake Zuckerman, Charleston Gazette-Mail

Editor’s Note: This is the second of a two-part series examining misconduct within the West Virginia State Police, and how the department responds. Click here to read Part 1.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — By the time West Virginia State Police Trooper Derek Walker joined the roadside beating of a teenager in Martinsburg last fall — an incident that would prompt a criminal indictment of his partner and a lawsuit against four officers involved — he’d just emerged from a turbulent summer.

In July 2018, he’d been accused of “highway robbery” after seizing $10,000 in cash from a New Jersey couple without charging them with a crime. He was also tangled in a lawsuit with a 51-year-old woman who accused him of smashing her head into the side of a truck during an arrest.

Apart from that, Walker had used force three times in other incidents, which triggered an alert in the State Police’s Early Identification System. The system is designed to spot officers who use force three times or draw two complaints within 90 days. State Police Superintendent Jan Cahill and his top staff then review the incidents and decide whether supervision, training or employee assistance is warranted. …

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