MARTINSBURG, W.Va. – A federal lawsuit, filed this week, claims officers with the Martinsburg Police Department used unreasonable and excessive force in the March 14, 2013 shooting death of a Virginia man.

The filing followed the court-ordered release of an autopsy report that showed Wayne Jones, 50, of Stephens City was shot 23 times total with 12 of those shots hitting his back and buttocks.  His death was ruled a homicide, but a Berkeley County grand jury did not indict the officers involved in the shooting last October.

“They could not have heard the evidence,” said Sherman Lambert, the attorney for the Jones’ estate, of the grand jury’s decision on Friday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”  The federal lawsuit he’s now filed on behalf of Jones’ brothers seeks $200 million in compensatory and punitive damages.

Martinsburg Police have said Jones was stopped last year while walking in the middle of South Queen Street.  The officers said the man ran after a Taser was used on him and he was shot when he later stabbed an officer with a pocket knife.  According to the autopsy report, Jones died from injuries to all of his vital organs.

Lambert argued many of the shots fired at Jones came when he was on the ground after attempting and failing to run from police.

“If he’s shot on the back six times, he’s down on his face on his stomach and he’s shot in the back,” said Lambert.  “Where is the threat?”  He disputed claims about the stabbing that, officers said, prompted the shooting.

“Even if the police officer was stabbed, which we don’t believe that happened, we don’t believe that.  Even if he was, he had a scratch on his hand.  We have a picture of the scratch.  The police officers had gotten up and backed up after he’s (Jones) Tasered on the ground,” said Lambert.  “There is no threat.”

Those with the Martinsburg Police Department have not commented on the ongoing legal action.

Five Martinsburg police officers are named in the federal lawsuit along with the City of Martinsburg.  A jury trial is scheduled for Oct. 28.

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Comments

  • Cover Up in Martinsburg

    Cover up, cover up, cover up, cover up, cover up, cover up, cover up, cover up, cover up and cover up. A blind man could see it. The family should be allowed to taser these cops and then be given 23 rounds to fire at point blank range.

  • Avoid the Burg

    If you travel thru or walk downtown in Martinsburg after dark you will either be assaulted by thugs or become a target for the Martinsburg City PD. Avoid this area after dark. They disrespect everyone, no matter who you are whether you are law abiding or not. It's guilty until proven innocent in their eyes.

  • B. Smith

    I would like to know if the contact / arrest attempt was even legitimate. What was the alleged crime or infraction the man committed?
    What an embarrassment for any law enforcement agency. Settle this one and make some dramatic institutional changes right away.

    • Not again!

      He was simply walking the street in downtown Martinsburg late in the evening. It is being reported that he may have had some mental disability issues. They (gang effect) approached him and ordered him to the ground. He either didn't understand or feared for his life, etc. In any event, we he didn't comply, they tasered him twice. Then a scuffle ensued and they say he pulled a pen knife ad scratched the palm of one of the officers hand. They then proceeded to shoot him 23 times. 12 times in the back and buttocks. Three shots struck an apartment doorway and flower pot. So 26 total shots at point blank range. That was finally released in the report. The prosecutor and state police (independent investigation) blocked efforts to release the report citing potential compromise of police response actions. What a crock of crap. It's a cover up pure and simple. Moreover, the Grand Jury either didn't have access to the report or simply put their heads in the sand and didn't indict these out of control cops. I hope the lawsuit reveals more and more and all are prosecuted by the Feds and jailed.

  • Dandy Dave

    It is time for the state legislature to pass a law requiring every policeman in this state to wear a body camera at all times while on duty. You don't see this kind of behavior from the tv shows where cops know they're being filmed. A quick view of the Cato Institute's PoliceMisconduct dot net website shows these kinds of situations happening every day across this country.

  • Lifelong Resident

    I have lived in Martinsburg my entire life. Our City Police dept is comprised mostly of young folks who have no mentors or viable leadership to guide them. One Lieutenant was dismissed or took retirement after he was charged with Domestic Violence, another current Lieutenant had issues when he was younger on the force and the current chief is simply not answering the challenge. Our city or at least the downtown potion is a cesspool of derelicts, drug abusers, thiefs, etc. So I am certain, this department views everyone the same. Everyone is scum and should be treated the same. This used to be a small city. We knew and respected almost all of the city cops. But no more. There is one female cop who has been out of control for years. But nothing is done. It is no longer the same. If you walk downtown after dark, you are risking your life. You can't justify 23 rounds at point blank range unless you are trying to arrest Ironman. Somebody needs to charged and punished for this one.

  • Martinsburg Police Dept

    Oh c'mon, we rarely get to fire our weapons on duty, so we couldn't resist. We are all young and dumb. Please forgive us. Our Chief and our Lieutenants are incompetent as well. But they backed us up as usual. Our Mayor is senile and a pompous ass. Can we just forget this event so we can move on to the next target? It was only 23 rounds at point blank range.

  • Tom

    Let Maryland annex that hole.

  • Jonus Grumby

    Sounds like the Martinsburg PD has a problem with this one. Settle out of court for an undisclosed amount and make this go away. Then find a way to remove these officers from service.

  • cradledem

    Looks like a cover up by the Berkley County Prosecutor, I pray that the United States Prosecutor takes this case over and cleans up Berkley County government.

    • Jonus Grumby

      While I would love nothing more than to see Plea Bargain Pam get the axe, sounds like it was the decision of the grand jury that is under scrutiny.

  • MOCO man

    Guess he should have learned to listen and follow orders. When you stab someone..........good chance bad things may happen.........

    • Excessive Force for Sure

      The report revealed the cop suffered a scratch on the palm of his hand. These five pussies have redefined the term "excessive force". 23 shots into a human body with 12 into his back and buttocks. This wasn't superman. Plus there were 3 additional rounds fired into the adjacent apartment doorway and flower pot. So 26 shots in all at point blank range. All of them need to be prosecuted and jailed.

  • Phil

    I'm sure you would have shot to if you got stabbed.

  • These cops need to he jailed

    Simply incredible. Did they think they were at the firing range? All of them should be in jail. I can't believe the Grand Jury didn't indict them. Cover up, cover up and cover up.

  • Voter

    I don't know why people think that good things are going to happen when you run from law enforcement.

    • Matt

      Agreed Voter +1

    • Cops Above the Law

      So if you run you will be shot in every body part and multiple times in the ass and back in Martinsburg. So whose paying their attorney fees? The taxpayers, of course.

    • Aaron

      23 shots? For running from law enforcement? Seriously?

      This was an execution and the officers should be under the jail.

  • knows

    Hope to hell they win. Police think they are god.

  • David

    Anyone who fired after the first shot should be in jail ...

    Martinsburg is a cesspool that should be raised and reseeded..