West Virginia State Police announced they terminated troopers Michael Kennedy and Derek Walker from an incident in November. The troopers allegedly beat up a 16-year-old male when trying to arrest him. Braun Hamstead, a Jefferson County attorney, says he was pleased to hear the news.
“One important aspect is it wouldn’t have happened had their not been audio/video, a code of silence is so powerful. And I don’t think the public realizes how much it affects the good officers,” said Hamstead.
Hamstead filed a separate lawsuit against West Virginia State Police and Walker for an incident in April of 2016. Hamstead claims Walker used excessive force against his wife, Julie, when she was pleading her case in a traffic accident. Julie suffered some major injuries as a result.
“What happened to my wife is what happened when there’s no video because three officers showed up, all equipped with audio dash cams, two with body audio, but nobody has any recording of what happened,” said Hamstead.
The complaint filed against West Virginia State Police and the other parties involved has been dismissed. But, Hamstead says he will soon file a second amended complaint against Walker and the two other troopers in the case involving his wife.
“The fact that Trooper Walker was allowed to be in the force for so long, with what we now know about his activities, and what hopefully the public can see, that just doesn’t happen one time,” said Hamstead.
WDVM reached for the attorneys who represent the West Virginia State Police for comment, but did not hear back.