CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The FBI is investigating a West Virginia state trooper who is accused of handcuffing a man to the floor of the Princeton detachment and beating him. The incident is alleged to have occurred because the man was sleeping with the trooper's wife.
On July 10, 2008, Trooper C.N. Workman arrested Travis W. Barker after pulling him over in a traffic stop, according to a lawsuit filed by Barker's lawyer John Bryan.
Workman asked if there were any weapons in the car. Barker, a federal corrections officer, told him that he had a handgun in the center console. The trooper confiscated the weapon and arrested Barker for carrying a concealed weapon, according to the lawsuit. Barker was also later charged with assault on a law enforcement officer. Both charges are still pending.
Workman took Barker to the Princeton detachment and cuffed his left hand to a steel anchor imbedded in concrete next to a bench, according to the lawsuit. The two men were alone in the building and the surveillance camera was inoperable when the beating occurred, according to the lawsuit.
Bryan said he took the case to the FBI only after taking it to the Mercer County prosecutor's office and to the State Police, which conducted an internal investigation.
"If you have a situation where a sworn law enforcement officer abuses his position as is alleged here and you have an agency such as the West Virginia State Police who refuse to investigate or hold officers accountable for misconduct, then what other choice do you have but to go by the FBI," Bryan said.
Barker has since been interviewed by the FBI, Bryan said.
Officials with the FBI did not return phone calls seeking comment for this story.
"We take all -- all incidents of alleged abuse of power on any level -- seriously," said Joe Thornton, secretary for the state Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety. "Honestly, I think that folks should understand that the State Police reputation is on the line when folks always think there is a cover-up.
"The fact is that they take this situation seriously and we take this situation seriously. ... It's a matter of public safety, period."
Sgt. Michael Baylous, State Police spokesman, said they were not at liberty to comment on any cases with pending civil litigation.
"And in this case, there are also pending criminal charges [against Barker] so we can't discuss it at this time," Baylous said.
Workman is still employed as a State Trooper and is not suspended, Baylous said.