Cops and Courts, Latest News

Westover officers sign letter accusing one of their own

The contents of a letter signed by most of Westover’s police officers are “disturbing.”

That’s according to Westover City Councilman Ralph Mullins, who first saw the contents of the letter when it was reported by media Wednesday night.

Council was aware of the letter, and the “general gist” of its contents, but did not know all the details, Mullins said.

In the letter, multiple Westover officers accuse one of their own, who is not named, of violating civil rights, lying on official paperwork, destroying evidence, threatening to kill other officers, using racial profanity, targeting and harassing citizens, disregarding direct orders and more.

“It appears as if basically the entire police force joined together and wrote that letter and signed it and I couldn’t be prouder of what they did,” Mullins said. “That took a lot of courage on their part.”

In a statement to WBOY, Westover Mayor Dave Johnson said the city was cooperating with the prosecuting attorney “regarding investigations of allegations of criminal misconduct included in the petition.”

Monongalia County Prosecutor Perri DeChristopher told The Dominion Post her office is not an investigatory agency and is not conducting an investigation itself.

“However, I will confirm that many weeks ago I requested that law enforcement outside of our county conduct an investigation into current matters that exist in the City of Westover,” DeChristopher said.

Johnson could not be reached by The Dominion Post in time for this report.

Westover Police Chief Joe Adams said he can’t comment on the situation.

“I can’t really comment on it right now. It’s under investigation,” Adams said. “Not to try and deflect, I just really can’t comment right now. I’ve been here four days.”

Mullins said he’s hopeful Adams, can fix not just the internal problems of Westover, but the city’s problem with drugs, too.

“This is something I not only have [as] a responsibility to the citizens of Westover, but it is personal to me,” Mullins said.

The city has experienced five overdose deaths recently — not including Mullins’ niece because she used and died on July 9 after driving back across the river, he said.

“She died immediately,” Mullins said. “There was no heroin. There was two types of fentanyl.”

Mullins said he hopes Westover assigns an officer to the Mon Metro Drug Task Force because Westover’s police department is the only agency in the county that is not represented.

“I feel confident as long as he’s allowed to do his job, he will be a great asset in resolving these issues,” Mullins said of Adams.

Former police chief Rick Panico resigned in mid-September. John Morgan was named interim chief and Adams was recently named the new chief.