CHARLSESTON, W.Va. -- Shawn Hutchinson just wants to get through college and get out of West Virginia.
And he needs a job to help pay his way and avoid the debt that hounds so many college kids.
So he signed up as a police officer in Chesapeake, even though his last job as a police officer ended shortly after he and Matthew Leavitt pulled over Twan and Lauren Reynolds at a 7-Eleven in Montgomery.
Leavitt now sits in a federal prison after pleading guilty to two civil-rights violations for beating Twan Reynolds and illegally charging Lauren Reynolds with driving under the influence. Leavitt, Hutchinson and Lauren Reynolds are white. Twan Reynolds is black.
Hutchinson was never charged with a crime in the incident, but his life certainly changed after that night.
"It's been really hard," he said last week. "If I get out of a car people harass me. Fifty yards down the street they're screaming at me. It's made it really hard to go to school."
And now there's been another incident - the first, he says, where he has arrested a black person since Twan Reynolds. He says believes the actions he took in the Reynolds case and the most recent incident were proper.
"It's been miserable trying to go to school at the same time and to have to be in class," he said. "All these articles makes it harder. My professors are asking me what's going on. Life has been rough."
Hutchinson said he's not racist. He said he grew up in Montgomery and has black friends there. Now he just wants to finish college at West Virginia Tech and get into law school so he can leave West Virginia.
He said after the Reynolds incident he got a job as a police officer in Glasgow. He said he was there two weeks when he went to his regular barber in Montgomery. When he walked outside, there were more than 10 black men waiting for him, ready to fight him. He says he had arrested most of them.
"So they start coming at me and I show them my duty weapon. I don't pull it out, nothing illegal," he said.
Hutchinson believes that by showing them he was armed, he kept himself from getting beaten.
"I went back to the chief in Glasgow and told him, and they ended up firing me over that issue," Hutchinson said. "So from then on, I was unemployed until Jack Ice hired me," he said.
Ice, the Chesapeake police chief, said he hired Hutchinson in April after talking to lawyers on all sides of the Reynolds case.
Mike Clifford, the former Kanawha County prosecutor who represented Twan and Lauren Reynolds, recommended Hutchinson for the Chesapeake job, Clifford told Hutchinson during Hutchinson's deposition in the Reynolds case. That deposition was taken later on the day that his partner, Leavitt, was sentenced for civil-rights violations.
"All of the attorneys involved in this thing in Montgomery assured me he was not going to be charged with anything criminally and that they would recommend him for an officer," Ice said. "I judged him on his interview here and I took it for gospel what all the attorneys involved said. ... I contacted everyone and nobody had any problems."
'You've both obviously been fighting'
On Jan. 24, Hutchinson and another Chesapeake officer, Patrolman A.J. Roop, arrested Jessica Barnette.
Barnette, 24, said a white teenager came into an apartment where she was visiting a friend and punched her. She said the teenager ripped off her shirt in the ensuing fight. A juvenile petition was later filed on the teen in the attack.
Hutchinson and Ice say multiple witnesses gave different stories.
Barnette and two witnesses that were with her said the 17-year-old started the fight. The 17-year-old and his parents say Barnette started the fight, police say.
On a recording of the incident provided by Hutchinson to the Sunday Gazette-Mail, he can be heard explaining to both sides that Barnette would be arrested and that a juvenile petition would be filed on the 17-year-old.
"Here's the thing, she's got some marks on her, too, and you got some marks on you," Hutchinson said to the 17-year-old. "You've both obviously been fighting. I'm going to charge you both with battery."
Later he explains the situation to Barnette.
"Jessica, I'm going to tell you the same thing I told him. I don't like to play these games. You both got marks. Somebody wants to fight you ... run the other way and call the police," he said on the audio file.