Kanawha County Deputy Resigns; Another Demoted

From today’s Charleston Daily Mail:

Kanawha deputy demoted; another resigns

An internal police investigation has led to the resignation of one Kanawha County Sheriff’s deputy and the demotion of another, Sheriff Mike Rutherford said.

Sgt. Matthew Cummings has been demoted to the rank of corporal and placed on a 30-day suspension without pay, Rutherford said. Deputy James Young resigned Tuesday in the midst of an internal investigation, the sheriff said.

Rutherford said he could not talk about why the deputies were being disciplined. “As a result of previous court decisions, I can’t get into details about what the specifics of the investigation were,” Rutherford said.

However, sources familiar with the investigation said Cummings was originally charged with unauthorized use of county equipment and failure to report an accident after an incident in September.

Investigators believe Cummings, a county K-9 officer, took a county cruiser without permission and drove to his home, where his wife was staying. The couple had been having family problems and was temporarily separated.

Deputies found a visibly upset Cummings sitting in the cruiser outside the house. During his drive, Cummings apparently failed to report hitting a chain that caused minor damage to a parked trailer.

Rutherford said Cummings had never been in trouble in his 12 years in the sheriff’s department. “He has an exemplary previous record, and has never had a complaint filed against him,” the sheriff said.

Sources said Young resigned before county officials could complete an internal investigation. Investigators believe Young repeatedly lied to them about whether he knew about alleged illegal activity going on inside his home near St. Albans.

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