The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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March 29, 2014

VIDEO: Beckley police officer charged with domestic battery agrees to plea

BECKLEY — A Beckley police officer, charged in September with domestic battery and unlawful detention after an altercation with his former girlfriend, agreed Friday to a provisional misdemeanor battery plea.

Cpl. Bryan Atterson’s original charges were dropped by way of the agreement with the Wyoming County Prosecutor’s Office.

The misdemeanor battery charge will be dropped with prejudice after Atterson serves one year of probation, pending no new charges are filed in the meantime.

Atterson also agreed to undergo psychological treatment “for behavior issues” for one year.

If he does not comply with the terms of the agreement, he must serve 60 days in jail.

The case was assigned to Wyoming County Prosecutor Micheal Cochrane after Raleigh County Prosecuting Attorney Kristen Keller recused herself.

Cochrane said both he and the victim were pleased with the disposition of the case.

“This type of case we take very serious, and we want to ensure that these crimes are dealt with accordingly,” Cochrane said. “Given the facts in the matter, the resolution is firm but fair under the circumstances.”

One member of the media asked Cochrane, “Is this a slap on the wrist?”

Cochrane replied, “Absolutely not ... It is a very serious plea. If he does not follow through with everything that is required of him, there are very serious repercussions from the court.”

He said his office does not dismiss cases just because a victim requests them to do so — “We want to make sure something is learned in this and that justice prevails. We think that’s been accomplished.”

Atterson had no previous criminal history, so with the assistance of the victim, Cochrane said they decided to offer the agreement.

According to the initial complaint filed in September, the victim stated she was in a physical altercation with Atterson, where he restrained her against her will from leaving the apartment.

Atterson has been a mixed martial arts and Brazilian ju-jitsu instructor for over 10 years and the complaint said he applied a martial arts maneuver to the victim’s arm, putting her on the ground.

“During this act she struck her head causing swelling and bruising on her forehead,” the complaint said.

The victim also told police Atterson put her in a chokehold to the point where she almost passed out.

After Atterson’s arrest, he was released on $2,500 bond.

Former police chief Tim Deems placed Atterson on administrative leave with pay after the incident.

Current Beckley Police Chief Lonnie Christian said his office is awaiting the official paperwork from Magistrate Steve Massie’s office.

“We’re going to review that and make sure he doesn’t have anything that will prevent him from conducting his duties and we will make a determination at that time.”

Christian said a decision will most likely be made at the first of next week.

“As long as everything looks good, there wouldn’t be anything that would prevent him from coming back. More than likely he will be returning back to work.”

— E-mail: wholdren@register-herald.com

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