Video of Moorefield Traffic Stop Spawns Controversy

SheetzVideo

By Jean A. Flanagan
Moorefield Examiner

A cellphone video which reportedly shows a Moorefield Police Office running over a suspect with a vehicle in the Sheetz parking lot, is not all it’s cracked up to be.

The video, posted to YouTube and sent to numerous media outlets, shows nothing more than a traffic stop, three suspects being detained and one of the three writhing in pain.

“It doesn’t show anything,” said Moorefield Police Chief Steve Reckart. “The video looks like it’s been cut.”

According to Reckart, MPD Officer Melody Burrows was on routine traffic patrol on Sunday, Feb. 2, when she stopped a vehicle suspected of speeding around 9:30 p.m.

The three men in the vehicle were identified as Tyler Jared Riggleman, Jason W. Russell and Richard Turbeville, all of Moorefield.

As Burrows was in the process of detaining the suspects, West Virginia State Police Trooper D. E. Bailey stopped to offer assistance.

Riggleman, the driver, was asked to exit the vehicle and began a physical altercation with Burrows and Bailey. Once he was subdued, the other two suspects were asked to exit the vehicle. The three suspects were instructed to lay on the ground.

Riggleman was found to be in possession of controlled substances, tried to flee the scene. K-9 Officer Ruckus was commanded to pursue and Riggleman was subdued by the dog.

While Burrows was securing Ruckus in the police vehicle, Riggleman fled the scene.

In an attempt to give chase with the police vehicle, Burrows ran over Russell’s arm. He was treated for a broken right index finger and released.

Riggleman, who is charged with possession with intent to deliver meth amphetamine, possession with intent to deliver marijuana, battery on a police officer and fleeing the custody of a police officer, as well as speeding and failure to change his address on his driver’s license. He is also charged with battery on the State Police officer and fleeing State Police custody.

“Officer Burrows is absolutely crushed,” Reckart said. “It was obviously an accident that happened in the performance of her duties.”

Kelly Kipp, who recorded the video, posted it on You Tube and sent it to various media outlets, said this is an example of small town cops infringing on the rights of citizens. “I want her to get some kind of disciplinary action,” he said of Off. Burrows.

Kipp would not speak to Moorefield Police when they tried to take his statement.

“We attempted to take his statement just like we always do with a witness in an investigation,” Reckart said. “He said he couldn’t talk to the police until he talked with his lawyer.”

Reckart would not comment if any disciplinary action against Off. Burrows was taken, saying it was a personnel matter. Personnel issues, in any governmental agency, are excluded by the West Virginia Open Governmental Proceedings statute, Section 6-9A.

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