BRYAN CLARK Spirit Staff
MARTINSBURG – The attorney representing convicted bank robber Mark Daniel Haines in a civil suit against former Sheriff Robert “Bobby” Shirley and seven other area law enforcement officers says the two sides have reached a settlement agreement through mediation.
Lawyers for the defendants declined to comment on the case, and have not confirmed the details of the settlement.
The suit arises from the 2010 police beating of Haines following a Ranson bank robbery and a two-county high-speed chase.
If approved by Northern District Judge John Preston Bailey, the settlement would involve dismissal of the suit against Shirley and six of the other officers, $90,000 in damages for Haines, and no admission of wrongdoing by the officers, according to Waddell.
The $90,000 settlement would be paid by the West Virginia Counties Self-Insurance Risk Pool, which provides liability insurance for counties across the state.
“Mr. Haines participated in the negotiations over the settlement by phone, and he is pleased with the result,” said Waddell. “I think the settlement demonstrates that no one is above the law, including the police.”
State Trooper Joseph Bush was not a part of the settlement, according to Waddell.
Shirley plead guilty to federal charges stemming from the incident in January, and was subsequently sentenced to a year and a day in federal prison. In his plea, Shirley admitted that he had kicked and beat Haines while he was being restrained by several other officers, resulting in severe injuries. Shirley remains incarcerated in Northern Regional Jail while he awaits transfer to a federal facility.
The case remains set for trial in November, though now with only Bush as a defendant, Waddell said.
A pending motion would add two former Shepherdstown police officers – James Cumings and Timothy Johnson – to the case, if approved by Bailey.
Waddell says he filed to have the two officers, who have since moved to positions with other departments, added to the case after receiving an anonymous letter. The letter, which Waddell submitted along with his request to add the defendants, indicates that neither Deputies Terry Palmer nor Joseph Foreman participated in the beating.