By Bob Weaver|
A Wirt County woman has reportedly been awarded a significant out-of-court settlement in a case against the West Virginia State Police, a condition of the settlement is that the amount not be disclosed.
The suit said as a reward for being a good neighbor and returning stolen money to which she was not linked, Glenna Conley of Elizabeth was paid a late-night visit by the State Police, issued multiple charges and hauled off to jail.
The suit said that Sgt. A. D. Nichols did an unlawful nighttime warrant-less arrest, committed unlawful sexually intrusive detention with invasion of privacy, made a false arrest with imprisonment, followed by malicious prosecution.
The suit maintains Sgt. Nichols declared; "You're going to jail!" whereupon he "put a handcuff on her wrist and dragged her through the partially open door," wearing only a bathrobe.
Conley, in the presence of her boyfriend, maintains Sgt. Nichols ignored her repeated pleas to allow her to get dressed and after being put in the cruiser with her wrists handcuffed behind her back, the woman asked the officer to close her robe.
According to the suit, he refused by telling her "to shut the f--k up."
The ACLU of West Virginia Foundation announced the settlement of Conley vs. Nichols, a case that charged West Virginia Police with conducting a sexually intrusive arrest of an innocent woman in her home, without a warrant or probable cause.
Sgt. Nichols, who has since been transferred from the Wirt Detachment, was the object of other complaints in high profile community cases.
The ACLU's complaint stated that on June 28, 2010, around 11 pm, police arrived at Conley's home under suspicion that she had witnessed a petty crime.
"The conduct of the West Virginia police toward our client was inexcusable," said Brenda Lee Green, ACLU of West Virginia Executive Director.
"The treatment she endured was not only unnecessary but also degrading. While this settlement will not make up for the humiliation she suffered, our hope is that it may prevent other West Virginians from experiencing similar shameful and unconstitutional treatment at the hands of law enforcement."
"This is not the first time that West Virginia Police have been criticized for excessive use of force," Green said.
"It's unfortunate that the actions of a few bad officers can undermine the effectiveness of the police force. Officers on the force should know better."
"This settlement should send the message that the people of West Virginia expect, and are entitled to, police who act within the law to protect people. When officers break the law by arresting innocent people without cause, we expect them to be held accountable," Green concluded.
Details of the case: See wvrecord.com By Lawrence Smith - Wood Bureau
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