CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The police chief who witnesses say dragged an 80-year-old man off his ATV and slammed him to the concrete has been accused of abusing his authority as an officer before.
Cedar Grove Police Chief Johnny Walls was sued for his actions as an officer in Chesapeake in the summer of 2006, according to current Chesapeake Police Chief Jack Ice and William Pullen, who won a $36,000 settlement against the city.
On Aug. 16, Robert McComb was riding ATVs with two friends and was heading back to his house in Cedar Grove after coming out of the woods when he was stopped by Walls.
Witness Carrie Balser said she watched in horror as McComb was pulled off the side of the ATV by Walls and slammed to the concrete face-first.
McComb was hospitalized for three days after the incident. On Saturday, Cedar Grove residents held a candlelight vigil for McComb, who attended.
On Monday, Cedar Grove Mayor James Hudnall said the incident remains under investigation. He said Walls was still employed as of Monday with Cedar Grove, but that he was on leave.
The Kanawha County Sheriff's Department will be investigating the incident, Kanawha County prosecutor Mark Plants said Tuesday.
Plants said once the investigation is complete, he would look at it and forward it to Booth Goodwin, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia, to look for possible civil rights violations.
"We'll wait until they complete the investigation and then take a look at it and see if there's anything there," Plants said.
William Pullen was getting gas at a station in Chesapeake in the summer of 2006 when Walls and another Chesapeake officer knocked on the door of his home in nearby Winifrede and asked his wife where he was.