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FBI opens investigation into alleged beating of Martinsburg teen

Berkeley County's prosecutor says the FBI has opened a probe into the Nov. 19 alleged beating of a teen in Martinsburg. Photo shows the West Virginia State Police detachment in Martinsburg. (WCHS/WVAH)

The FBI has opened an investigation into the Nov. 19 incident in Martinsburg in which two West Virginia state troopers and a Berkeley County sheriff’s deputy have been suspended over allegations involving the beating of a 16-year-old male.

Berkeley County Prosecutor Catie Wilkes Delligatti announced in news release Thursday that the FBI would look into the case.

Trooper First Class Derek R. Walker and Trooper First Class Michael W. Kennedy and Berkeley County Deputy Austin Ennis have been placed on leave following the incident that was captured on a dashcam video. Gov. Jim Justice has described it as a beating, and State Police Superintendent Jan Cahill said in an interview with MetroNews the video shows an individual being thrown through the air.

The Berkeley County prosecutor said she will coordinate with the U.S. Attorney’s Office on any further action taken.

Delligatti said she will wait to release the dashcam video until the FBI has concluded its interviews and investigation. She said she welcomes the probe by the FBI “to lend yet another level of transparency to the investigations into the incident.”

The prosecutor previously said her office and a deputy in Jefferson County will conduct investigations into the incident.

Justice has condemned the alleged actions of the troopers, saying they were “ridiculous” and “inexcusable.”

“While I proudly support the brave efforts of our law enforcement agencies every day, it must be perfectly clear that I will NOT tolerate this kind of behavior in any way, shape, form, or fashion,” Justice said in a previous statement.



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