Deliberations begin in civil trial alleging excessive force

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A West Virginia jury is deliberating in a federal civil trial in which a man accused two Logan County police officers of using excessive force during a 2018 encounter.

Jurors began deliberating Thursday at the U.S. Courthouse in Charleston in the case brought by Frank Morgan Jr. against officers Joshua Tincher and Kevin Conley, the Charleston Gazette-Mail reported.

Morgan accused Tincher and Conley of assault, denying him medical attention and intentionally inflicting emotional distress. In a counterclaim, Tincher accused Morgan of battery against a peace officer and obstructing an officer.

Jurors must decide unanimously what charges will stick and whether to award damages.

The claims stem from an incident in April 2018, when Tincher and Conley came across Morgan and his ex-fiancee while investigating a report of a man masturbating on a street.

Morgan and the woman testified that the officers began yelling insults and pepper spraying them. Later, after Morgan was taken into custody, he testified that Tincher beat him and left him with a broken arm, seven staples in the back of his head and more than a dozen contusions and lacerations.

The officers testified that Morgan punched both of them in the face before being arrested. Tincher testified that Morgan injured his head after lunging at the officer and hitting his head on a table.

In closing arguments, the plaintiff’s attorney argued that jurors should send a message and hold “rogue officers” Conley and Tincher accountable for abusing their power and positions.

The defense attorney said jurors should send a different message, “that West Virginia does not tolerate” violence against police.