Former Martinsburg police officer indicted on battery charge

May 21, 2004|by CANDICE BOSELY

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A former Martinsburg Police Department officer was indicted Thursday on a misdemeanor charge of battery, stemming from allegations that he entered a holding cell and slapped a man's face last summer, police and the county prosecutor said.

Jason D. Fornwalt, 30, of 12 Quintetree St., Martinsburg, is charged with slapping 22-year-old Andre Juste on July 19, 2003, according to a news release issued by Martinsburg Police Department Chief Ted Anderson.

Fornwalt began working at the police department in the year 2000 and ceased working there last year, Anderson said.

Berkeley County Prosecutor Pamela Games-Neely said she believes other officers witnessed Fornwalt's behavior before the alleged abuse, but she was not sure whether any of them saw the alleged slap. Games-Neely said the incident was caught on camera.


Games-Neely said she did not know why Juste, who was not injured, was in police custody.

After learning of the allegations, Anderson ordered Lt. Tim Catlett to conduct an internal affairs investigation and Lt. John McMillen to conduct a criminal investigation. The indictment was a direct result of McMillen's report, Anderson said.

Anderson said conduct such as that alleged was unacceptable.

"As police chief I expect a lot better," he said. "We have an obligation to uphold a professional standard."

The indictment against Fornwalt was what is known as a "direct" indictment, meaning he has not previously been charged in Municipal Court or Magistrate Court.

Fornwalt must now appear before a Circuit Court judge to be formally arraigned on the charge and enter a plea of either guilty or innocent.

Fornwalt has an unlisted phone number and could not be reached for comment Thursday.

The Herald-Mail Articles