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Family of man shot to death in Martinsburg plan to sue for $250 million

Wayne Arnold Jones died on March 13 after being shot multiple times by police officers

April 24, 2013|From Staff Reports

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The family of a man shot to death by police last month has filed a claim with the City of Martinsburg, notifying them of their intent to sue for $250 million.

Wayne Arnold Jones, 50, of Stephens City, Va., died on March 13 after being shot multiple times by Martinsburg police officers.

Martinsburg attorney Sherman L. Lambert, who is representing Jones’ estate, filed a notice of claim with the city earlier this month seeking monetary damages of $250 million as well as funeral and other related expenses.

In the notice of claim, Lambert writes, “... said damages are based upon Taser shocks and multiple bullet wounds to the decedent’s body resulting in his death, by result of the willful, malicious, oppressive, and in reckless disregard for the constitutional rights of Wayne A. Jones, deceased; and thus justifying punitive damages against the City of Martinsburg Police Department.

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According to police, the officers involved struck Jones twice with stun guns after he became angry and refused to follow orders. The shocks had “little” effect on Jones, who pulled a knife and stabbed one of the officers when they tried to restrain him on the ground, police said. The stab wound was minor and did not require medical attention, police said.

Jones was ordered to drop the knife while he still was on the ground. When he did not comply and tried to get up, the officers backed away and fired multiple rounds at him “to neutralize the threat,” according to the police report.

The officers involved were placed on administrative leave.

At a news conference March 27, family members questioned the police officers’ action, calling the incident “a use of deadly force, a frenzy, a situation out of control.”

Lambert said in an email Wednesday that his office has not received the autopsy report. He also said state law prohibits filing the lawsuit until 60 days after the notice of claim has been sent to the defendents.

The co-administrators of the estate are listed as Robert L. Jones and Bruce A. Jones, both of Winchester, Va. They are brothers of Wayne Arnold Jones.

Listed in the claim are city attorney Floyd McKinley Sayre, Mayor George Karos and Police Chief Kevin Miller.

Multiple attempts to reach city officials were unsuccessful Wednesday afternoon.

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