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Man Claims Deputies' Excessive Force Paralyzed Him


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1/7/2009
Brent Adams
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An Ohio man has filed suit against Hancock County, West Virginia Sheriff Michael White alleging that he suffered crippling personal injuries after Hancock sheriff’s deputies shot him multiple times, including once in his neck.

According to the suit he filed in United States District Court on December 10, Charles M. Penson claims that he was heading to his automobile mechanic’s home in Newell, West Virginia under the belief that he was paying for work Charles Reader performed on his automobile. However, he had been lured there by the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department in order to execute a federal arrest warrant on him.

The suit claims that upon Penson’s arrival, he exited his vehicle and headed toward the rear entrance, all while talking on his cell phone. When he reached the entrance, he opened the door, called out for Reader, and ended the phone call.

At that moment, a deputy, who was not dressed in uniform and had not identified himself as law enforcement, positioned outside the house shot Penson, who was unarmed, at least once in the neck, according to the suit. The suit says that he, being startled and uninjured, began to run for safety.

Penson claims that while fleeing to his vehicle, at least three unnamed sheriff’s deputies shot him multiple times in the back, neck, and elbow, despite the fact that he posed no threat warranting the use of deadly force.

The suit claims that due to his injuries, Penson has become quadriplegic and suffered extreme physical, mental, and emotional pain and suffering. The suit claims the deputies used unnecessary, unreasonable, and excessive force, violating Penson’s Fourth Amendment rights.

The suit also alleges that the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department failed to construct, conceive, or implement a plan to serve the federal arrest warrant in a safe manner. It also claims negligence for failure to properly and adequately train and supervise the deputies responsible for the shooting.



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