MONTGOMERY, W.Va. -- Lakisha White doesn't understand why, after her husband called Montgomery police to their house because of a disagreement with some neighbors, it was he who was Maced.
Joey Carr knows he broke the law when he knocked over a pop machine, but he doesn't believe that gave Montgomery police the right to repeatedly spray him with Mace and leave him with eight stitches in his hairline and three staples in the back of his head.
Cheryl Terrell and her 17-year-old daughter say the teenager was walking down the street when a Montgomery officer pulled up in a police car and stopped her. Somehow, both women say the incident ended with the officer sticking his hands down her pants to get a ringing cell phone.
All three incidents have at least one thing in common, according to those involved: suspended Montgomery police Officer Matthew Leavitt.
Leavitt was suspended after being accused of beating Twan Reynolds on Sept. 26.
The Fayette County Sheriff's Department is investigating the incident. The FBI is also assisting in the investigation, said Jay Bartholomew, supervisory special agent with the FBI in Charleston.
Twan Reynolds and his wife, Lauren, accuse Patrolman Leavitt and Patrolman Shawn Hutchinson and of repeatedly hitting Twan Reynolds over the head with a blackjack, kicking him in the back and spraying his eyes with Mace at close range.
They filed a lawsuit in Kanawha County Circuit Court last week.
They also say Leavitt repeatedly used a racial epithet against Twan Reynolds, who is black, and Lauren Reynolds accused Leavitt of licking her on the neck during an interrogation and saying, "Little whore, you like it like that."
The streets of Montgomery
On Sept. 29, 2007, Leavitt was called to the White home to break up a fight between Roderick White and another man, according to a criminal complaint filed on Lakisha White in Kanawha County Magistrate Court.
In the complaint, Leavitt writes that Lakisha White was holding her husband back from attacking another man. Leavitt said he told Roderick White to calm down and stepped toward him.
"When I did so, [Lakisha White] stepped in front of me in an attempt to physically stop me from approaching her husband," Leavitt wrote in the complaint. "At that time [Roderick White] grew more violent, because I was forced to push the defendant out of my way."
Lakisha White said Leavitt jumped on her husband's back and Maced him when her husband turned his back on the officer. Lakisha White said she was Maced too, and that Leavitt grabbed her by the back of the neck, injuring her spine.
"He threatened to 'blow my fat black ass away,'" White said. "He said, 'Bitch, I own you. I own the streets of Montgomery.'"
When the two officers tried to take White into custody, Lakisha White grabbed Leavitt's Mace and used it on both officers, according to the complaint.
White says she never used the Mace.
Lakisha White was charged with two counts of assault on a police officer. Roderick White was charged with two counts of battery, obstructing an officer and disorderly conduct. His case has a hearing in front of Kanawha County Magistrate Tim Halloran on Oct. 30.
Leavitt said he was under the impression that Roderick White was under the influence of crack cocaine during the incident. A house near where the incident occurred is a known crack house, Leavitt said.
"The minimum force was applied to control the situation," he said.
White said there have been other incidents involving Leavitt. She said he again Maced her husband on March 3.
"We are not even allowed to stand on the sidewalk and talk. They don't let us," she said. "They never give a reason. It's a disruption, they say."
'I just want to get home'
Joey Carr got drunk at a party and asked for a ride home. When the West Virginia University Tech student couldn't find one, he decided to walk home from somewhere near David Hall (he didn't want to give the exact location).
Both Carr and police agree he ran into a pop machine and knocked it over.
"My friends were behind me and I got up the road a little bit," Carr said. "I get close to the Go Mart and go around the corner and a cop car stops me. He gets out and says, 'Did you knock over that pop machine?'"
According to a criminal complaint filed by Leavitt in Fayette County Magistrate Court, Carr knocked over a newspaper vending machine and a flower pot as well as a Pepsi vending machine. When approached by Leavitt, Carr was belligerent and profane, according to the complaint.
When Leavitt and another officer asked Carr to accompany them to the police car, he "became combative and physically attempted to pull away from officers," according to the complaint. Carr was eventually taken to the police station, where he was "sprayed in the facial area with an approved chemical aerosol agent" after he spit at the officers, according to the complaint.
He was charged with obstructing an officer, destruction of property, battery on an officer and underage consumption.
Carr said when Leavitt stopped him, he asked for a ride home. The officer told him he was going to be given tickets for public intoxication and underage consumption.
"I said, 'Well that's fine. I just want to get home. I'm pretty drunk,'" Carr said. "He goes to get out the tickets and instead he pulls out Mace and Maces me at close range. ... His knuckles were touching my forehead."