Man Arrested Following Thursday Pursuit Settled 1997 Federal Suit Against Cabell County Jail Over Noose “Joke”

by Tony Rutherford HuntingtonNews.Net Reporter

HUNTINGTON, WV (HNN) – Kenneth Ziegler , who was arrested Thursday morning following a police pursu

it, had a noose placed around his neck during detention at the Cabell County Jail in March 1996.

According to newspaper and wire reports from April 1996, two white guards at the Huntington jail placed a hangman’s noose around inmate Kenneth Ziegler’s neck, tied the rope to a pole and handcuffed the inmates hands behind his back.

The officers stated it was a prank. However, Gary Lambert and Steve Rickman were fired following the findings of a board of inquiry. They were charged with misdemeanor battery, according to news reports.

"They crossed the line, a very serious line," said Mike Thomas, president of the Huntington chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in a 1996 report. "It's a situation where they hung themselves."

Ziegler was 24 at the time of the incident. He was serving time at the Cabell County Jail for a misdemeanor drug charge.

The FBI investigated the incident.

However, a complaint was filed in March 1997 by Ziegler against the Cabell County Commission, the Cabell County Sheriff’s Department and the correctional officers in the United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia. Dwight Staples represented Ziegler.

Following various motions to dismiss, Judge Robert Staker entered a scheduling order September 5, 1997 with a proposed April 14, 1998 trial date.

Although full copies of the various court documents could not be obtained electronically, the abstract of the filings were available. You can download a PDF by clicking here.


The case was settled by the parties prior to trial.

Concerning the December 2010 arrest of Ziegler, the father of basketball superstar O.J. Mayo, the Rev. Samuel Moore, pastor of the Full Gospel Assembly, admonished the Herald Dispatch in a letter to the editor suggesting that the arreste may have fled police due to fears from the 1996 noose incident. Rev. Moore questioned why Mayo’s name should be mentioned when reporting on alleged misdeeds of his father.