MARTINSBURG – Convicted bank robber Mark Daniel Haines has named several police officers in a lawsuit that alleges he was severely beaten during his 2010 arrest after leading officers on a high-speed chase through Jefferson County.
Haines, 42, had originally named only Sheriff Robert “Bobby” Shirley in his lawsuit. Shirley, who is scheduled to be tried on federal charges for his conduct during the incident, could face 30 years in prison if convicted on all counts.
Haines now has filed an amended complaint that names nine police officers from the Jefferson and Berkeley sheriff’s departments, Charles Town and Ranson police departments and the West Virginia State Police.
It charges them with use of excessive force, assault, battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Prosecutors previously said they expect to present eyewitness testimony at Shirley’s trial, so some of the newly named officers may be called to testify then.
Video of the arrest has been made public and can be seen on YouTube.
In the video, three officers can be seen holding Haines against the side of his pickup truck while he receives multiple fist and/or elbow blows. Shirley’s response claims that Haines was resisting arrest, though Haines’ claims he exited the car with his hands up and offered no resistance. No video has yet surfaced showing the initial apprehension of Haines.
The suit identifies these three officers as Jefferson County sheriff’s deputies Terry Palmer and Joseph Forman, and State Police Trooper Joseph Bush. It claims they were punching him with closed fists.
The video then shows Shirley climbing into the back of the pickup truck, where he appears to deliver several swift kicks in Haines’ direction, though it is not clear where the kicks land. Haines’ complaint alleges he was being kicked in the face. As Haines is brought to the ground, Shirley appears to stomp once on his head.
Haines claims some of the defendants continued to punch and tase him while he was on the ground.
A second video, also available on YouTube, shows Haines being led back to his car in handcuffs. In the video, Haines being repeatedly tased can be heard. The suit identifies the individual who led Haines back to the car as Berkeley County Sheriff’s Deputy Corey Welcome.
According to the filing, Haines suffered severe physical injuries during the arrest, including a broken eye socket, broken sinus cavity, broken nose, broken rib, a subconjunctival hemorrhage of the eye, and multiple abrasions and contusions.
The suit alleges that the five other officers named in the suit “were in a position to and had the ability to stop the excessive force by their fellow officers did nothing to prevent it.” It names these officers as Ranson Police Officer Charles Lynch, Charles Town Police Officer W.M. Spessert, and Berkeley County sheriff’s deputies J.H. Jenkins, C. Merson, and T.A. Sherman.
Harry Waddell, Haines’ attorney, argues that it is the legal responsibility of officers who were at the scene to stop the use of excessive force. “The case law on that is that if you’re a position as a police officer where you see another police officer violating someone’s rights, and you’re in a position to stop it, then you have a legal obligation to do so or you are violating the law as well.”
None of the officers could be reached by press time.
Waddell says the list of officers named in the lawsuit could potentially be expanded once he obtains more information about the incident. He said he expects to begin deposing witnesses in the case soon, but added that he may wait until Shirley’s criminal trail concludes.