MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- The family of a Virginia man shot to death after a scuffle with police officers in March is suing the city of Martinsburg for $200 million in compensatory and punitive damages.
The Journal says the lawsuit was filed Thursday in U.S. District Court by the brothers of 50-year-old Wayne Arnold Jones of Stephens City, Va. It says police used unreasonable and excessive force, shooting Jones 15-25 times while he was on the ground.
Neither City Manager Mark Baldwin nor Police Chief Kevin Miller immediately returned telephone messages about the case today. The city has not yet filed a response with the court.
Police said at the time they'd stopped Jones while he walking on a city street, but the reason was unclear.
Jones reportedly told police he had a weapon but wouldn't say what it was, then allegedly grew angry and refused subsequent orders. Police said Jones fled, and a scuffle ensued.
The complaint says the officers, "without legal cause or excuse, fired electric bards from their Tasers into his body and stunned him with electrical shocks, pointed their guns at him, screamed confusing and contradictory instructions and escalated the volatility in the situation they created.''
Jones stabbed one officer in the torso -- a wound later determined to be too minor to require treatment.
The officers formed a semicircle 3-4 feet from Jones "with guns raised and pointed directly at his body,'' the lawsuit says, "thus resembling a close-range firing squad.''