MARTINSBURG – A man who was recently sentenced to prison for bank robbery has filed a civil complaint against Jefferson County Sheriff Robert “Bobby” Shirley and 14 other unidentified law enforcement officers, alleging they used excessive force during his arrest.
The lawsuit alleges that law enforcement officers violated the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and state law by using excessive force, committing assault and battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress in their arrest of Mark Daniel Haines, 42, who was sentenced May 14 to 225 months in prison, three years probation and a payment of $7,628 in fines and restitution after pleading guilty to one count of bank robbery. An additional count of attempted bank robbery was dropped as part of a plea bargain.
Two videos played at Haines’ sentencing hearing – in a failed attempt to gain leniency from Judge John Preston Bailey – show his treatment at the hands of several law enforcement officers, including Shirley, on the evening of Dec. 27, 2010. He was arrested that night after leading officers on a high-speed chase from Jefferson County into Berkeley County.
Shirley could not be reached for comment before press time, according to a department official.
In one video, recorded after the chase ended, Haines is initially obscured behind a police SUV when a deputy appears to strike him several times. In his complaint, Haines alleges he was being punched with closed fists. It is unclear from the video if Haines was actively resisting, compliant or restrained during this time. Haines’ complaint alleges that he surrendered immediately after leaving his vehicle and was handcuffed throughout the course of the incident.
In the video, Shirley can be seen jumping into the bed of the pickup truck against which Haines was restrained and delivers at least three rapid kicks, though it is unclear where the kicks land. Haines alleges he was being kicked in the head.
As Haines falls to the ground, restrained by several officers, Shirley is seen stomping once on his head.
Haines’ complaint alleges that he was then repeatedly punched and tasered while on the ground.
A second video – taken from the dashboard of the cruiser in which he was placed after being arrested – shows Haines being led back to the cruiser handcuffed and bleeding from somewhere on his face or head before being tasered again.
After Haines was taken into custody, he underwent a medical examination at the City Hospital’s emergency room in Martinsburg, including a CT scan of his head.
Medical records show that he had sustained multiple abrasions, multiple facial contusions and multiple facial fractures.
He had a broken nose, a broken sinus cavity and a broken eye socket.
He was also had a subconjunctival hemorrhage in his right eye, abrasions on his upper back and thoracic spine tenderness.
Haines is seeking as-yet undetermined compensatory and punitive damages, as well as court costs.