West Virginia police civil suit sent back to federal court

AP News
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Posted: Jul 07, 2016 12:58 PM

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (AP) — A civil case filed by the estate of a Virginia man who was fatally shot by Martinsburg police has been sent back to federal court in West Virginia.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, voted 2-1 Wednesday to return the case filed by Wayne Jones' estate to U.S. District Court in Martinsburg.

In March, U.S. District Judge Gina Groh dismissed the lawsuit against the city of Martinsburg and five police officers. Groh ruled the use of deadly force was reasonable and justified.

The appeals court noted its brief ruling was on technical matters and not on the merits of Groh's decision.

Jones, who was black, was shot 23 times in 2013 after Martinsburg police said the 50-year-old Stephens City, Virginia, resident shrugged off two jolts from a stun gun, fought with officers and stabbed one of them. The officers are white.

Martinsburg City Attorney Kin Sayre said he was disappointed in the appeals court's ruling, according to The Journal (http://bit.ly/29kudHI ).

In October 2013 a Berkeley County grand jury declined to indict the officers.

In April the U.S. Justice Department said there was insufficient evidence to pursue criminal civil rights charges against police. Civil rights leaders had pressed for the investigation.