MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Berkeley County Sheriff Curtis Keller announced Friday two deputies involved in a controversial arrest last year would be back on the job Monday.
Keller tried to fire deputies Austin Ennis and Chris Merson in January after a November 2018 alleged excessive force arrest of a 16-year-old boy that came after a pursuit in Berkeley County. The arrest was recorded on a cruiser dashcam.
Ennis and Merson fought the attempt to fire them and two review boards sided with the deputies.
Keller could have appealed to the deputy sheriff’s civil service commission but instead Friday announced Ennis and Merson were coming back to work. Keller’s news release said disciplinary action had been imposed and accepted by all parties.
The Herald Mail reported Keller’s announcement came a day after the Berkeley County Council voted to hire an attorney to help Keller with the appeal. The paper also reported the discipline for deputies was believed to be 10 days without pay.
Former state police trooper Michael Kennedy, who was fired after the incident, appeared before a federal magistrate judge this week after being indicted by a grand jury. He’s charged with deprivation of rights. A trial date has been scheduled for June 4.
The video shows police trying to handcuff the suspect. At one point, Trooper Kennedy begins kicking the suspect. Eventually they subdue him, but then Kennedy approaches the suspect and repeatedly strikes him in the face. Later, after the suspect is on his feet, Kennedy tosses him to the ground.
The pursuit began after the driver rear-ended Merson’s cruiser on U.S. 11.