Mingo County Sheriff Lonnie Hannah told the Daily News his office is investigating the claims made by several witnesses that some of his deputies were among the group that allegedly kicked and beat 19-year-old Calvin Wilkerson while he was being attacked by the state police trained dog.
More witnesses have come forward claiming to have witnessed the scene that took place Jan. 12 after Wilkerson was committed via a mental competency hearing requested by his mother, Crystal Wilkerson.
“I just want to get to the truth of the matter,” Hannah said. “I have interviewed the officers at the scene. I am ready to stand by our actions.”
When contacted by WDN, Williamson City Police Chief Roby Pope refused to comment.
Williamson Mayor Darrin McCormick addressed the situation during a celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. held at Williamson First Baptist Church.
“We read newspaper headlines that tell us a member of this community may have been brutalized and subjected to racial slurs by men in uniform whose duty it is to uphold the law and represent justice,” he said. “As a city leader, I’m here to tell you it is our duty, mine, the city council’s and anyone who may be witness to these events, to bring forward all the facts and all the truths. Ugly, or as regretful as they may be, so everyone will know the truth.”
The mayor continued, “I am my brother’s keeper.”
West Virginia State Police public relations representative Sgt. Mike Baylous said he had not heard if any investigation is taking place concerning allegations against several troopers.
Witnesses place officers from all three law enforcement agencies at the Williamson State Police detachment during the alleged beatings.
Wilkerson remains a patient at Mildred Mitchell-Bateman Hospital, a state DHHR-supported psychiatric hospital located in Huntington.
Williamson private investigator Donald Stevens, hired by Crystal Wilkerson to look into the matter, will meet with a number of witnesses who allege they seen Wilkerson beaten as he was attacked by the trained dog.