Ronceverte Police Chief cleared of using inappropriate force

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RONCEVERTE, WV (WVNS) — The Chief of Police in Ronceverte, J.R. Byer, Jr., has been fully reinstated to his position following an internal investigation over claims he used inappropriate force. Byer was placed on administrative leave back in July after surveillance video turned up regarding an arrest in April 2018.

Independent investigator, retired West Virginia State Trooper Mike Spradlin, looked into the claims. He interviewed multiple witnesses from the day the suspect was arrested. Those included civilians and law enforcement officials. The findings were supported by an investigator for the Greenbrier County Prosecutor’s Office who spent part of his previous career as a state trooper conducting use of force investigations.

According to a release from the City of Ronceverte, Chief Byers requested medical services on April 18, 2018 over an intoxicated suspect. Several hours later, Greenbrier County Deputies were called to assist medical personnel after the suspect became “unruly and threatening” at their facility.

The investigation shows Chief Byer’s actions saved three Ronceverte residents from harm and from the ramifications of using deadly force after one of the people armed themselves and their family when the suspect tried to force himself into their home.

During the 15 months between the incident and when the surveillance video surfaced, the suspect never claimed he was abused. He was represented by a lawyer throughout the court process.

“The City of Ronceverte is proud of the exemplary, eighteen-year career in law enforcement of our Chief of Police, J.R. Byer, Jr.,” said City Adminstration Reba Mohler. “We look forward to his continued leadership of the City of Ronceverte Police Department. “

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