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Battery charge dismissed in police officer's fight

September 25, 2007|By DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - A domestic battery charge was dismissed Monday against a Ranson Police Department officer who allegedly choked his brother - a Jefferson County Sheriff's Department officer - during an argument in August.

The charge against Capt. Perry M. "Mickey" Ballenger of Millville, W.Va., was dropped after his attorney, David Camilletti, made a motion before Berkeley County Magistrate Harry Snow, who was assigned to hear the case.

Camilletti said the charge should be dismissed because the investigating officer in the case worked for the sheriff's department.

"It was a direct conflict of interest," Camilletti said after the hearing Monday morning in Jefferson County Magistrate Court.

Camilletti said the case should have been investigated by an independent police agency like the West Virginia State Police.

Snow agreed to drop the charge, according to a signed motion filed Monday in magistrate court.

Morgan County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Dan James, who was assigned to prosecute the case, could not be reached for comment Monday.

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Ballenger's brother, Jefferson County Sheriff's Deputy Cpl. Earl Ballenger, told investigating Sheriff's Deputy P.G. Smith that he wanted to press charges against his sibling after the fight at 57 TJ Longerbeam Drive in Millville on Aug. 13.

Smith said she was dispatched to investigate the altercation at 3:45 p.m.

The deputy said in her complaint that when she arrived just before 4 p.m., she was told by a witness that the brothers began to argue and then fought.

"...Perry Ballenger had Earl Ballenger over the hood of his vehicle choking him," Smith was told, she said in the complaint.

The argument apparently ensued after a dispute over family property, according to Smith's complaint.

The investigating deputy also noted in the complaint she saw red marks on the accused.

Earl Ballenger had a small cut by his right ear, Smith said.

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