WHYTSELL BRINGING SUIT AGAINST STATE POLICE - Krack's File Complaint Against Trooper Starcher

(05/23/2001)

A civil suit is being filed against the West Virginia State Police by Grantsville resident Richard Whytsell, whose misconduct complaint was sustained against Calhoun Trooper Doug Starcher last year. Trooper Starcher threw a MagLite through Whytsell's rear window in December, 1999 during a traffic stop.

Grantsville attorney F. John Oshoway said he expects to file a suit for "damages and emotional distress" within ten days.

The State Police's Professional Standards Division ruled against Trooper Starcher, stating the officer did not act professionally, knocking out Whytsell's rear window. Starcher then filed multiple charges against Whytsell.

Whytsell auto shows rear window damage

Richard Whytsell

Whytsell, accompanied by a witness, had been getting gasoline when Trooper Starcher reportedly mistook him for someone else. "I didn't do anything wrong. A bit earlier I had my kids in the back seat," he said.

Whytsell said Trooper Starcher told him there had been a problem with gunshots being fired, but the police report did not indicate such an incident. There was no documentation that a MagLite was thrown.

The trooper's misdemeanor charges against Whytsell were dropped in March, 2000 "without prejudice," which meant the charges could have been re-filed within one year.

Whytsell and other Calhoun residents were summoned to a hearing in Charleston late last year, where Trooper Starcher was attempting to have the "sustained" charges removed from his file. Results of such grievances are not made public.

Whytsell said the police had declined to replace his rear window.

A professional misconduct complaint has been filed against Trooper Starcher by Reed and Dara Krack, parents of Calhoun's well-known 16-year-old fiddler Jake Krack of Nicut. The Krack's have given a deposition to Sgt. John Bonazzo of the Grantsville detachment, claiming the trooper's behavior was unprofessional and outrageous toward them. The complaint will be processed with the Professional Standards Division in Charleston.

Reed Krack said he is seeking help from Gov. Bob Wise's office and Congresswoman Shelly Moore Capito. Krack said "We feel we do not deserve this kind of treatment. It has been damaging to our family."

Other charges have been lodged against former Calhoun and Roane County Trooper Tom Yanero. A one million dollar civil suit has filed in Kanawha County by Dale Stotler, claiming Yanero and another officer beat on him in Roane County.

A battery charge was dropped against Trooper Yanero in a case involving 17-year-old Jason Stump of Grantsville, because of a statute of limitations. The State Police sustained that Yanero acted unprofessionally during a traffic stop, pulling the youth from his vehicle and allegedly smashing his head into his car trunk.

Attorney Oscar Hines of Spencer, who is representing Stotler, said in both cases the video camera in Yanero's police cruiser had problems. In the Stotler case "Much of the tape contains static and then there is an ominous silence," Hines said. In the Stump case, the tape could not be produced.

The State Police declined to respond to a Freedom of Information request by The Hur Herald last year. The request asked for the number and types of complaints filed against Calhoun troopers. "Our department has no records responsive to this request," they said.


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