More than $18 million dollars has been paid in claims against the West
Virginia State Police between 1987 and 2001, according to information
obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.|
At least $5 million has been paid to victims within the past five years.
The $18 million in settlements includes general liability claims, accidents,
brutality and other claims.
A McDowell County man just settled a multi-million dollar brutality lawsuit
against eight State Policemen and other law officers for $187,500. Bryant
Jones filed the suit in December 2000.
Jones claimed he was handcuffed to a chair and beaten by five members of
the West Virginia State Police. He also claimed he was assaulted on other
A few of the cases settled:
A secretary for the State Police, Sandra Basham, was awarded $95,000,
charging Capt. Rusty Blankenship made sexual advances toward her.
Blankenship is no longer a policeman.
The family of Melanie Winfrey was awarded $1 million after her boyfriend
Trooper Rodney Robinson shot and killed her and then himself.
A Raleigh County woman was awarded $75,000 after retired Trooper John
Henry Zirkle, who was assigned to the West Virginia Turnpike, reportedly
had sex with her in a parking lot.
The Smailes family in Martinsburg was awarded $775,000 after Amanda
Smailes was killed in a crash after being chased in 1996 by Trooper Kevin
A Berkeley County man, James Minghini, Jr., was awarded $60,000 after he
accused troopers of beating him. Over $454,000 was spent handling the
Neil Rose of Welch was awarded $1 million after Welch troopers broke down
his door and beat him.
Logan resident McCoy Hatcher accused Trooper C. J. White of battering him,
and was awarded $40,000.
James Richardson of Kanawha County was awarded $1 million because of a
false conviction related to State Police Chemist Fred Zain.