Violence filled the streets of Williamson several times while police attempted to regain control of Calvin Wilkerson, who had been committed via a mental competency hearing requested by his mother, Crystal Wilkerson. She had taken out a mental hygiene warrant against him in his best interest, Wilkerson said, as her son was out of the medication he has been on since the age of 16 and was starting to hallucinate and hear voices. Although aware Calvin Wilk-erson should never go without the daily medication, she said the prescription cost around $600 a month and as a single mom with two other children, she was trying to wait until Calvin’s medical card arrived to fill his prescription.
The hearing was held at a Williamson attorney’s office, where Crystal and Calvin Wilk-erson were offered a meal afterwards. The lone deputy Chris Haynes released the restraints so Calvin could eat comfortably. When he finished eating, Crystal Wilkerson said Calvin decided he was going to leave with her.
Haynes called for backup, Crystal Wilkerson said, and Williamson Police Department patrolman John Hall arrived to particpate in a struggle leaving large holes along one wall of the downtown office, causing an estimated $2,500 in damages..
Witnesses say the fight continued into the street on Second Avenue close to Starter’s Restaurant. Calvin continued to struggle as the officers attempted to place him in handcuffs. One witness, who asked to remain anonymous, said the officers eventually placed Wilkerson’s mother in handcuffs while she was screaming for help.
“I was screaming, ‘Somebody call the Williamson Daily News this is police brutality,’” Crystal Wilkerson said.
At that time, West Virginia State Police Trooper B.R. Moore, Sr. Trooper C.D. Kuhn and Cpl. Harper arrived on the scene. Harper told the Daily News they had no idea the young man had just been declared mentally incompetent.
“All we were told was officers needed our assistance,” he said.
The officers say they began giving verbal commands to Wilkerson, which they say he ignored. After a brief struggle, Wilkerson was handcuffed and transported to the West Virginia State Police Williamson detachment, as Harper said Haynes needed help filling out a criminal complaint.
Crystal Wilkerson was taken to the Williamson Police Department where she said Chief Roby Pope refused to pursue any charges against her. She said Hall left the building shortly after. Harper said rumors that Hall traveled to the state police building were false.
However, a man who claims he saw Hall at the detachment came forward Wednesday, telling the WDN that Hall, along with two officers from the sheriff’s department and three troopers, arrived at the Williamson detachment with Calvin Wilkerson.
The witness, who wishes to remain anonymous for now, said that when the officers pulled Wilkerson from the trooper’s cruiser, one of the officers tripped him. He said at that time, officers let the police dog loose on Wilkerson and all the law enforcement with the exception of one trooper kicked and beat him while the dog was biting him.
The troopers deny participating in the beating and say that accusations that Hall was at the scene were also false.
Wilkerson was taken to an interview room in the detachment, handcuffed and placed in hobble restraints, which Harper said are made of nylon and an athletic person would be able to slip them off. Harper said Moore watched Wilkerson remove the restraints via monitor and alerted other officers, while Wilkerson allegedly assaulted Harper and Kuhn while exiting the back of the building and fled on foot. Officers then released the trained police dog, which they say Wilkerson dragged with him while being attacked. Police say he struggled the entire time he was being restrained.
The alleged witness had a different story regarding the scene. He said he watched Calvin hobble out of the back door, but was unable to run because of injuries to his leg. He said he watched as close to eight officers from all three law enforcement agencies in Mingo County allegedly beat and kicked the young man while the dog was let loose on him once again.
“They kept yelling, ‘Why don’t you run now, you black SOB?” the witness said he heard.
Another witness, who also asked to remain anonymous, said he drove upon the scene and saw something completely different than described in the criminal complaint. The witness said when he first saw the commotion he thought it was a training session – until he heard the screams. When he heard the man writhing on the ground and screaming while officers kicked him and the dog bit him, he realized it was real, but said he still found it hard to believe it was happening.
“This only happens in movies,” he said. “Not here at my home.”
The troopers deny the accusations. One officer said the accused was combative the entire time and assaulted several officers. Harper said the dog was used for the safety of the accused and the officers. He said it had gotten to the point where we would have kept on fighting and it could have hurt him.
“There is minimal damage using the dog,” he said.
Calvin was taken to Williamson Memorial Hospital (WMH) where he received stitches for the dog bites. His mother released hospital reports to the Daily News, revealing that Calvin Wilkerson received eight sutures to his left foot, 14 sutures to another part of his left foot, three sutures to his left ear and one suture to his left leg.
Crystal Wilkerson said she was not allowed to see her son or to know the extent of his injuries. She said she was told by a member of the hospital staff that police had told them to not take any pictures of the wounds. The Daily News could not confirm these allegations, but a WMH staff member told Crystal Wilkerson that no photos of the injuries had been taken.
Members of the MCSD transported Calvin to Southwestern Regional Jail in Holden. Wilkerson was detained at the jail from 10:54 p.m. Monday night until 3 p.m. Tuesday.
Calvin was charged with obstructing, five counts of assault on a police officer, fleeing (other than a vehicle), escape and battery on a police officer.
Prosecutor Michael Sparks submitted a motion Tuesday to dismiss all charges and Mingo County Chief Magistrate Eugene Crum accepted the motion.
Crystal said Calvin was escorted by the deputies to Mildred Mitchell-Bateman Hospital, a state DHHR supported psychiatric hospital located in Huntington.
Another worry Crystal now has is the impression she says her younger son now has of law enforcement.
“This has made him so angry,” she cried. “He always wanted to become a lawyer when he grows up.”
With tears rolling down her cheeks, Crystal said, “I just wanted to do the right thing for my son and everything went wrong.”