(12/24/2001)
A civil suit was filed in Kanawha County Circuit Court on December 21 against Calhoun Trooper Doug Starcher and the the West Virginia State Police for damages done to Grantsville resident Richard Whytsell. The suit was filed by Grantsville attorney John Oshoway.

Starcher was described as being in an out-of-control rage when he threw a MagLite through the rear window of Whytsell's vehicle, shattering it. Whytsell was returning home after gassing his car at a Grantsville convenience store.

The internal affairs division of the State Police sustained charges of wrongdoing against the trooper, who reportedly told the occupants that a gunshot had been fired from a white car while he was parked one mile away at Bethlehem Baptist Church, implying it was a case of mistaken identity.

Police refused to apologize to Whytsell or replace his rear window, and continued bringing charges against him in Calhoun Magistrate Court.

Starcher did not radio 911 or his agency about the alleged gunshot or ask for back-up, nor did he make note of the MagLite incident in his police report. He did bring multiple charges against Whytsell, who said "I did nothing wrong. A few minutes earlier I had my kids in the back seat."

Trooper Starcher and other local troopers have been the subject of other professional misconduct incidents and suits, including a recent case involving Starcher and Sgt. John Bonazzo in the year-long prosecution of a Chloe, Calhoun woman on drug charges. The case was based on the State Police's possession of common garden sulfur, not an illegal drug. "There was not a shred of evidence, and I do not understand why they did this to me," said Kelley Mace, who is bringing the suit.


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