The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

February 27, 2013

Former Sophia police officer found guilty

By Wendy Holdren
Register-Herald Reporter

— A former Sophia police officer was found guilty Tuesday of defrauding an inn keeper before Raleigh County Magistrate Richard Jones.

Damon McDowell, who was fired by Chief Tomi Peck in March 2012 for leaving a Beckley restaurant without paying his bill, was found guilty of the charges against him.

His attorney has appealed the findings and the case will be presented before a circuit court judge, but a date has not yet been selected.

In May, McDowell filed a suit against the town of Sophia, Chief Peck, as well as several unnamed officers, alleging racial discrimination, racial profiling and civil rights violations.

U.S. District Judge Irene Berger dismissed the lawsuit earlier this month because she said McDowell lacked the hard evidence needed to support his claim.

Attorney Maria Hughes said she will file a motion for reconsideration.

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