Former state trooper testifies in case on November 2018 altercation

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — A federal judge will decide if a former state police trooper used excessive force on a teenager during an arrest last year in Berkeley County.

Testimony ended Tuesday in the case against Michael Kennedy of Morgantown. Kennedy asked for a bench trial and now U.S. District Judge Gina Groh will issue a verdict sometime in the future.

Kennedy faces a federal charge of using excessive force in the November 2018 altercation.

Kennedy was the only witness the defense called to the stand Tuesday before resting its case. He testified for about two hours.

In a written statement after the incident, Kennedy described punching the back of the teenager and using excessive force after the individual was detained. Kennedy told the court on Tuesday he slapped the teen twice when he acted against Kennedy’s instructions.

According to The Charleston Gazette-Mail, Kennedy said he threw the teenager to the side of the road after some liquid got on his face. Kennedy did not mention any bodily fluid in his report.

Defense attorney Craig Manford said the subject did not stop resisting arrest. Prosecutors said Kennedy acted out of anger.

Kennedy and trooper Derek Walker were fired in January for the incident. Berkeley County Sheriff’s Deputies Chris Merson and Austin Ennis were also fired but later reinstated.