West Virginia

Former Berkeley County sheriff candidate sues state police

Orem says he's looking for a fair and impartial trial to clear his name

MARTINSBURG, W. Va. - "I would have never gone this far if I thought in any way I was wrong in this matter," said John Orem, a Martinsburg businessman and former candidate for Berkeley County sheriff. Orem, along with his wife Sher have filed a lawsuit against the West Virginia State Police.

"There was no other way for me to get a true and impartial investigation into the matter," explained Orem.

In August 2016, medics responded to Orem's house along with state police after his wife found him unconscious. He was revived with Narcan but later charged with possession of heroin.

The case was dismissed in 2017, but Orem says he never got the chance to share his side of the story.

"It was August 2, actually August 1 it started...I was real sick at the time. I was taking all sorts of medication that I was prescribed, plus flu medication," said Orem.

Orem explained that the combination of medicine caused him to pass out and that's when the ordeal began.

Now with the lawsuit, Orem hopes to make three points: The first being that he was falsely arrested by Trooper Matthew Gillmore.

The other two points of his lawsuit are that he was illegally searched by state police and also that the privacy of Orem and his family was violated.

Orem says he and his family have lived a nightmare, facing scrutiny and ridicule from many.

"There [were] people on there telling me to die, talking to my kids at school about me, saying things to my wife," recalled Orem.

Although he's seeking a monetary restitution, what Orem says he's really looking for is vindication.

"Should I be compensated? Absolutely I should," said Orem. "But that's really second to what I want. I want a fair and impartial finding so that I can have people look at me in the right light. Or if they find that I'm wrong they come at me and do whatever they need to do to me."

The suit was filed in U.S. District court. A trial date has yet to be set.


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