OPINION ISSUED DECEMBER 20, 1985
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY
Claimant appeared in person.
Robert D. Pollitt, Assistant Attorney General, for respondent.
On or about October 14, 1984, the claimant was the owner of a
trailer occupied by a
tenant, Veronica Taft, and her infant daughter, at Mountainview
Court near Morgantown
in Monongalia County. According to his testimony, he had attempted
help her by purchasing
the house trailer and renting it to her. He said that her brothers
a problem; that she had said
that she would be able to get along if she could stay away from
have a place to live.
An officer of the Department of Public Safety, the respondent,
testified that he had three felony
warrants for one of her brothers when he and another officer went
trailer on the previous
evening, after a neighbor had reported that the brother had been
to and from the trailer
and was there at that time. Getting no response to knocking on the
the officers found the
doors unlocked and entered the trailer. They found no one there.
officer witness and two
others returned to the trailer on the following day after another
neighbor reported that the
brother was then in the trailer. They knocked on the door and asked
brother to come out.
There was no response. After several hours, trying to talk him out
the trailer, "We decided to
gas it." Six to eight tear gas canisters were projected through the
windows, and the three officers
then entered the trailer. They found no one there.
The claimant presented an estimate of repairs in the amount of
$1,026.00 for damage he said
had been done to the trailer by the officers. Included on the
were broken windows,
burned sofa, carpet, broken doors, a plate glass mirror, and other
items. He said he had
managed to get the work done for a total of $918.00.
The Court is of the opinion that claimant sustained unprovoked
as a result of action
of members of the Department of Public Safety, the respondent
and makes an award to
the claimant in the amount of $918.00.
Award of $918.00.