Charleston Gazette v. WVSP

The Charleston Gazette filed a FOIA lawsuit against the West Virginia State Police yesterday in Kanawha County Circuit Court, seeking disciplinary information and records.  They also published a story detailing the lawsuit, which contained a shocking paragraph (at least to me):

According to the six-page public report produced by the professional standards section in 2009, 13 troopers were dismissed that year based on sustained allegations, up from 3 the previous year. An additional 19 resigned prior to discipline. There were a total of 112 incidents where action was taken in 2009, according to the report.

Wow.  32 troopers kicked to the curb in one year?  That is bad.  And 19 resigned prior to discipline.  That means that they are now working at a municipal or county law enforcement agency, and that the unwitting citizens of that jurisdiction have no idea of what misconduct their new officer had previously been constructively terminated for.  It’s not easy to get fired as a law enforcement officer.  For instance, look at the Travis Barker case, which was cited in the Gazette article today.  We sued him for allegedly arresting the guy who he thought was having an affair with his wife, for a charge that was not illegal, and then beating him while handcuffed to the floor with no other troopers or witnesses present.  And this is not the first accusation against him.  Yet he still has the authority, as far as I know, to pull people over and shoot them if necessary.

So these 32 individuals must have really misbehaved.

Reporter Gary Harki provided more information on the Gazette’s blog, Sustained Outrage, about the lawsuit and about allegations against the WVSP.  It also includes a copy of the lawsuit filed yesterday.  Harki also provides links to some recent stories detailing the WVSP’s recent issues with disclosure:

These three stories from July do a good job of telling the other recent accusations:

W.Va. State Police stay mum on inquiries

Case closed in trooper rape accusation

Prosecutor not told ex-trooper falsified log

And if this is the WVSP, imagine the statistics on county and municipal departments.

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