Video footage was released Thursday showing a November 19, 2018 incident in which a then-West Virginia State Police trooper is accused of using excessive force while arresting a 16-year-old boy.
The entire encounter was caught on video by a Berkeley County Sheriff’s Department dash camera. The state trooper that beat the teenager has been fired and has been criminally charged.
A federal grand jury on Wednesday charged Michael Kennedy, 29, of Morgantown, W.Va., the former state trooper, with deprivation of rights under color of law stemming from allegations of use of excessive force in the high-speed pursuit and arrest.
Berkeley County Prosecuting Attorney Catie Wilkes Delligatti released the video footage on Thursday saying:
“I applaud U.S. Attorney Bill Powell’s dedication to protecting the constitutional rights of members of our community. I am also grateful that the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Department, supported by the Berkeley County IT Department, has top-of-the-line cameras in their cruisers that assist in prosecuting violations of criminal law.”
Kennedy is due to make an initial court appearance April 8 before U.S. Magistrate Robert W. Trumble, ABC News reports.
Kennedy is accused of assaulting the boy and causing injuries to the teen during his arrest, according to an indictment.
Kennedy and Trooper 1st Class Derek Walker were terminated from West Virginia State Police in January 2019 as a result of an internal investigation of the incident.
The termination came after Berkeley County Sheriff Curtis Keller moved to terminate Deputies Austin Ennis and Chris Merson in connection with the incident.
The pursuit took place on November 19, 2018 when the 16-year-old victim rear ended a police cruiser, the teen then led cops on a high speed pursuit topping over 100 mph. The teen’s car struck a utility pole and overturned.
The troopers yanked the teenager out of the wrecked vehicle and roughly handled him. It was then that Kennedy punched the teenager several times. Kennedy also lifted the teenager to his feet after he was handcuffed and threw him to the side of the road.
The teen driver was taken to a hospital for observation, then released.
In addition to the FBI’s investigation, the incident has been the subject of an internal probe by the county sheriff’s department; an outside investigation by the Jefferson County (W.Va.) Sheriff’s Department and a review by an investigator with the Berkeley County Prosecutors Office.
The excessive-force allegations surfaced after dash-cam footage from the sheriff’s department was provided to state police, which announced Nov. 29 that the troopers were placed on administrative leave without pay.