Two Mcdowell County deputies face federal lawsuit

Published: Aug. 12, 2022 at 6:14 PM EDT
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VALLS CREEK, W.Va. (WVVA) - Two Mcdowell County deputies are facing a federal lawsuit for allegations of racial profiling.

The plaintiff’s suit spells out multiple civil rights violations that allegedly occurred on August 7th, 2020.

According to the criminal complaint, deputies Jordan Horn and Dalton Martin were investigating a reported “marijuana growth” near Baptist Drive in Valls Creek, West Virginia.

The criminal complaint states, that the deputies found marijuana growth by a nearby church located just off the property of Donnie and Ventriss Hairston.

The lawsuit states that the officers accused the Hairstons of growing marijuana. In the body camera footage, Ventriss Hairston refutes the claim that they were involved in growing marijuana.

Neighbor and owner of the land, Jason Tartt, was made aware of the situation by the Hairstons. He then went to check on the situation. He says he was immediately harassed by officers.

In the body camera footage, the officers ask Tartt for his name and date of birth. Tartt declined to give the officers his information. In the footage, you can hear Deputies Horn and Martin threaten Tartt with arrest.

Soon after, Donnie Hairston pulls out his cell phone to record the incident. One of the officers then is seen walking up Hairston’s porch and pushing him inside the door.

Tartt was arrested shortly after and charged with Obstruction. That charge was later dismissed in Magistrate Court. Tartt says the incident is a glaring example of the rift between law enforcement and people of color living in McDowell County.

If you would like to watch the full body camera footage, you can click the link below.

Link to full body camera footage.

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