MOOREFIELD - A Moorefield police officer ran over a man's arm during an arrest in the Sheetz parking lot in Moorefield Sunday night, police said.
The Moorefield Police department issued an official statement Wednesday saying an officer was conducting "a lawful traffic stop" at about 9:30 p.m. when "a question arose involving narcotics possession, which led to the arrest of the driver" and the driver "became combative and non-compliant with the arresting officer."
Moorefield Police Chief S.D. Reckhart told The Inter-Mountain Wednesday that the situation began as a "simple arrest." Three individuals were in the car officers pulled over, and one of the passengers was "detained" on the pavement of the parking lot, Reckhart said.
The Moorefield Police officer, a female, and a West Virginia State Trooper, a male, "were able to regain control of the scene momentarily, but the driver managed to escape custody and flee on foot," the release states.
Reckhart identified the driver as Tyler Riggleman, 26, of Moorefield. Reckhart said that while attempting to pursue Riggleman, the Moorefield Police officer ran over the right arm and hand of the individual detained in the parking lot. The man's index finger was fractured, Reckhart said.
Reckhart declined to identify the Moorefield officer or the suspect who was run over.
According to the statement, there is an on-going internal and criminal investigation "into all aspects" of the matter.
A video recording of the altercation has been posted on various websites, including Facebook and YouTube. The video, which appears to have been taken with a cellular phone, shows two police officers, a male State Police officer and a female officer with the Moorefield Police Department, detaining a man in the Sheetz parking lot. On the video the man can be seen handcuffed and on his knees.
The video later shows that man writhing on the pavement and screaming, and the bystander shooting the video is heard describing how the Moorefield Police officer ran over the man's shoulder in a police cruiser.
Reckhart said that Riggleman is still at large and police have issued an arrest warrant for him on one count of possession with the intent to deliver a controlled substance (methamphetamines), a felony, one count of possession with the intent to deliver a controlled substance (marijuana), a felony, one count of battery on a police officer, a misdemeanor, one count of fleeing an officer on foot, a misdemeanor, one count of obstructing an officer, a misdemeanor, and one count of speeding.
Reckhart called the incident "simply an accident."
"What we have here is a matter of good cops doing a good job and one of them happened to make a mistake," Reckhart said.
"There was nothing malicious about it. She simply misjudged her distance (while in pursuit in her vehicle)."
Reckhart declined to comment on any potential disciplinary action that could result from the situationm but did say that there may be some civil lawsuit ramifications.
Contact Chad Clem by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.