MARTINSBURG, W.Va. – The attorney for a man arrested by Martinsburg police in February after flipping an officer the middle finger says they plan to file “a big lawsuit.”

The incident happened February 10th in the area of the old Martinsburg Mall off Foxcroft Avenue and Mall Drive in Martinsburg.

Civil Rights Attorney John H. Bryan posted body cam video from the arrest on his YouTube channel, “The Civil Rights Lawyer.”  Bryan said he obtained the footage through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

In it, the Martinsburg police officer can be seen telling Lambert he was being pulled over because the gesture constituted “an improper hand gesture.”

When Lambert refused to provide his license and registration, that officer and a second officer who arrived on scene placed him under arrest.

The attorney says the gesture is protected by the First Amendment.  He says his client was improperly detained as a result.

During his explanation on a nearly 15-minute video, Bryan says Lambert was held on a cash-only bond for four days and three nights on two charges of obstruction as well as the hand signal charge.   He said there was a court hearing and that the initial charge and one of the obstruction charges were dismissed.

On Thursday, a statement was released by City of Martinsburg Attorney Floyd M. “Kin” Sayre, III:

“The City of Martinsburg is aware of an incident that took place on February 10, 2023, regarding a traffic stop and subsequent arrest by the Martinsburg Police Department. The City of Martinsburg is further looking into the arrest, but the City will have no specific comment regarding the underlying allegations or assertions given that the City has been threatened with litigation. In the meantime, the City of Martinsburg will be providing all officers of the Martinsburg Police Department additional refresher training to ensure all constitutional rights of all citizens are upheld.”

The Panhandle News Network reached out to Martinsburg Police Chief George Swartwood for comment, but Sayre advised the Chief could not comment.  “We have been notified that litigation is forth coming and therefore are not able to comment beyond the (previously released) statement.”

John H. Bryan’s video can be found on “The Civil Rights Lawyer” YouTube Channel.