CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- During an Oct. 9 news conference, Charleston police released the video from the night Patrolman Jerry Jones and Brian Good were killed.
The video details a dark, tragic scene where two young men die. One of the deaths, police say, was a justified killing, and the other, an accident.
When asked at the news conference if there was any concern about the sheriff's department investigating the Charleston Police, with whom they work very closely, Charleston Mayor Danny Jones said "no."
"The FBI could come in to investigate any time they want to," he said.
The investigation was impartial and fair, and there was no need for anyone else to investigate the matter, he said.
"We're not going to have a citizen review board," Jones said.
"The Jump Out Boys"
For a brief period, Charleston did have a civilian review board, according to a report by the West Virginia Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights titled "Coping with Police Misconduct."
In August 1998, Charleston Mayor Kemp Melton started an unofficial five-member civilian review board. Melton said he was creating the board as an advisory body in response to several allegations that city police were insensitive to racial issues.
In the first 11 months of 1998, there were 24 allegations of the use of excessive force by Charleston police officers, according to the report. Of those, seven resulted in investigations, and charges were sustained in three of the cases.
In one of the incidents, Officer Darrell Lambert eventually pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges for beating two prisoners outside City Hall. He also agreed to resign from the Police Department.
In December 1998, Prosecutor Bill Forbes asked the U.S. Attorney's Office to conduct an independent investigation of the city's Street Crimes Unit. Known as "The Jump Out Boys" and "The Four Horsemen," the unit illegally searched houses and cars, Forbes alleged, arresting people on trumped-up charges, among other things. The unit was headed by Sgt. Brad Rinehart, who is now chief of police in South Charleston.
At the time, Charleston was one of only 10 cities nationally being investigated by the special litigation section of the Justice Department's civil-rights division. Forbes compared tactics of the street crimes unit with "Hitler's Gestapo or Stalin's KGB."
In 2000, the American Civil Liberties Union sued the city, requesting information on the number of misconduct cases and information regarding the civilian review board's membership and function. The city provided the list, but after a legal battle to release the information to the public, the Charleston City Council dissolved the board in August of that year.
"To protect our citizens"
Only one city in West Virginia has a civilian review board - Bluefield.
In September 1998, Robert Ellison, a 20-year-old black man, was beaten and dragged by two white Bluefield police officers outside a nightclub, leaving him paralyzed below the neck, according to the report by the West Virginia Advisory Committee, "Coping with Police Misconduct."
Ellison settled a suit against the city in June 2000. The city agreed to pay him $1 million, increase its efforts to hire more minority police and establish a civilian review panel to review police misconduct investigations.
According to the advisory committee report from 2004, the commission meets quarterly and prepares annual reports, but doesn't make specific disciplinary recommendations. From 2000 to 2004, no instances of misconduct were reported to the commission, according to the report.