Once again West Virginia has made national headlines. Linked on the Drudge Report is the headline “Man Passes Gas, Gets Charged With Battery.” I obviously had to click on that one. As I was reading the article I was thinking, “c’mon, give me a break.” Then I saw a “wv” somewhere on the page. I looked around and discovered that this happened in Kanawha County, West Virginia – South Charleston to be exact.
Jose Cruz was arrested for DUI by police in South Charleston. According to the article on WSAZ.com, “when police were trying to get fingerprints, police say Cruz moved closer to the officer and passed gas on him. The investigating officer remarked in the criminal complaint that the odor was very strong.” Jose was charged with battery on a police officer.
There are some pretty funny comments under the article on WSAZ.com. One guy said, “battery is the wrong charge – it should have been assault with a silent but deadly weapon.” Another said, “I guarantee they will use this story as the basis for an episode of “Law & Odor.” Yet another said, “Gas I better stay out of that county.” Someone else coined the term “felonious flatulence.”
Seriously though, this is a waste of taxpayer money, and as the comments prove, a joke. I won’t even bother to analyze whether or not this could be a battery. It should be a crime to charge a frivolous criminal charge. But I won’t hold my breath for that to happen.
– John H. Bryan, West Virginia Attorney