On December 10, 2008, the lawyers at SS&L filed suit in federal court in West Virginia against the Sheriff of Hancock County on behalf of Charles Penson, a 37-year old Ohioan who was shot multiple times in the neck and back rendering him permanently quadriplegic.
On April 18, 2007, Hancock County Sheriff Deputies lured Mr. Penson to a private residence in Newell, West Virginia under the false pretenses of meeting Mr. Penson’s auto mechanic. In reality, the Sheriff’s Deputies intended to serve a federal arrest warrant on Mr. Penson.
As he approached the doorway at the rear of the house, Mr. Penson was shot in the neck. Claiming not to know who had shot him, Mr. Penson attempted to run to his vehicle. He was shot multiple times in his back as he attempted to flee. Charles Penson was unarmed.
As a result of multiple gun shot wounds, Mr. Penson is permanently quadriplegic. He has no use of his arms or legs and requires 24-hour care.
Law enforcement may only use deadly force when faced with the threat of imminent death or serious physical injury to themselves or others, or when the suspect has committed a crime which has caused or threatened death or serious physical injury. Mr. Penson claims the shooting which left him permanently and significantly disabled and disfigured was unlawful. Specifically, he claims the Hancock County Sheriff’s Deputies violated his constitutional rights, including his right to be free from unlawful arrest and seizure and the use of excessive force.