W. Virginia Officer Of The Year Settles 4th Excessive Force Claim In 2 Years

West Virginia state trooper Ralph Justus, named 2016 Policeman of the Year by American Legion Post 8, no longer works for the W. Virginia state police after his 4th excessive force complaint has been settled.  A 5th lawsuit for sexual assault is still in progress.

The state has paid approximately $415,000 for the excessive force Justus dished out against people. In the 5th lawsuit, Justus is accused of sexually assaulting a woman while on the job in March 2017, reported The Charleston Gazette-Mail.

In the most recent settled case, Jamie Justice alleged Justus and Trooper Jarod Tupper pulled him over in September 2016, and he was beaten unconscious in the parking lot of the Welch detachment.

The suit says that after he admitted to having narcotics on him, the troopers handcuffed him and then started their assault. Justice’s head was slammed against the side of the car before he was kneed in the ribs and choked until he lost consciousness.

“There, while on the pavement and handcuffed, [Tupper and Justus] repeatedly kicked and stomped Plaintiff and punched him in the back of the head,” the suit states. “Plaintiff begged for them to stop. Trooper Tupper then straddled Plaintiff on the ground and again choked him until he lost consciousness.”

According to the lawsuit, when Justice’s ex-wife and her cousin called the Welch detachment looking for him, an unnamed woman told them, “If he isn’t here, they are probably out beating the crap out of him.”

“Mr. Ralph Justus is no longer employed by the West Virginia State Police,” said State Police spokesman Capt. Reggie Patterson. “The settlement was a compromise of a disputed claim and a measure to save the costs of expensive litigation. The settlement was not an admission of wrongdoing on the part of the Defendants.”

A case was previously settled in March 2018.  Michael Ferguson signed a settlement agreement for $75,000 after Justus treated him similarly to the way he treated Jamie Justice.

The other 2 cases were settled in December 2017 for a combined total of $190,000. Allegedly, Justus beat Aaron Akers and Antonio Tolliver in the hallway of the State Police detachment. This time the beatings where out of range from the building security cameras.

Neither the department nor the officers accepted any accountability or liability for their actions in any of the settlements.