ASSAULT-OBSTRUCTION CHARGES DISMISSED AGAINST EDITOR WEAVER

(04/29/2006)

Charges brought by Cpl. Doug Starcher of the WV State Police against Hur Herald Editor, Bob Weaver were dismissed in a hearing yesterday in Calhoun Magistrate Court.

Weaver's attorney, Loren Howley, said the case should be dismissed because evidence in the criminal complaint was not sufficient, and Weaver was clearly acting within his constitutional rights.

Magistrate Denver Gandee, who was appointed to hear the case after Magistrate Postalwait recused himself, dismissed the case, indicating Starcher's charges of assault and obstruction did not cross a threshold of being criminal acts.

Gandee said he could find no evidence of obstruction.

In the assault charge, Gandee stated that Weaver had no instrument, weapon or object that could cause the officer bodily injury, nor did the arrest warrant indicate any bodily gesturing that could be considered intimidating, although the arrest warrant said words were exchanged.

"He (Weaver) even extended his hands to be cuffed," said Gandee, after the confrontation.

Starcher claimed in the arrest warrant that Weaver said he was going to "stick something up the officers a--" and "he hated this officer (Starcher)."

Special prosecutor, William C. Martin of Braxton County prosecuted the case after Calhoun Prosecutor Matt Minney was recused.

Cpl. Starcher did not appear at the hearing.

Weaver was arrested in February after he was told to cease taking pictures at the scene of a fatal auto accident on Pleasant Hill. Weaver's arrest was the only arrest Cpl. Starcher made that month.

Weaver then complied with the officers request, taking no further pictures and was leaving the scene for his vehicle, Starcher followed Weaver to his car, yelling for him to stop.

Weaver was attempting to get in his car when Starcher arrested him on the two charges.

Starcher, in the arrest warrant and in statements to the media, claimed Weaver was taking photos of a woman's "exposed breasts."

Original photos were provided to the court, clearly showing no such pictures were taken.

Emergency personnel at the scene sustained the woman was not in a state of undress when Weaver was taking photos.

Additionally, Calhoun EMS advised Starcher at the scene that Weaver has an agreement with their agency to photograph emergency situations for training purposes.

Weaver filed a professional misconduct complaint against Starcher, the State Police found no wrongdoing by the officer.

See   Editor Weaver Arrested


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