MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — One of two West Virginia State Police troopers fired in January following an alleged excessive force arrest in Berkeley County last year was indicted Wednesday by a federal grand jury.
The panel named Michael Kennedy, 29, of Morgantown, in a single count indictment of “Deprivation of Rights under Color of Law” in connection with his arrest of a 16-year-old boy.
A news release from the office of U.S. Attorney Bill Powell said Kennedy is accused of using excessive force resulting in bodily injury in the Nov. 19. 2019 arrest.
The FBI became part of the investigation a few weeks after initial information surfaced about the arrest.
Kennedy and Trooper First Class Derek Walker were fired by state police on Jan. 18. They had previously been suspended without pay.
State Police Superintendent Jan Cahill previously described what he saw in a dashcam video during a Dec. 3, 2018 appearance on MetroNews “Talkline.”
“Five officers come onto the video. The juvenile is taken out from the vehicle. At that point, it almost looks like the vehicle is on fire; it’s smoking. He’s placed on the road. At that point, he’s trying to be handcuffed. It goes on for probably a minute, and that’s when you see a series of blows and resistance.”
Cahill continued, “At one point near the end you’ll see a body toss, where a person is picked up and thrown. I worry about gaining control of people, not throwing them away from us.”
Two Berkeley County deputies, C.S. Merson and Austin Ennis, were fired by Sheriff Curtis Keller in January but Ennis was reinstated earlier this week.
Kennedy will make an initial appearance before a federal magistrate in the near future followed by a preliminary hearing and the setting of a trial date.
The U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division is taking part in the investigation.