No Public Safety Calls Regarding Guyandotte Police Shooting

by Tony Rutherford HuntingtonNews.Net Reporter

HUNTINGTON, WV (HNN) – The shooting of a woman’s father could rekindle previous discussions and controversy from incidents in which an officer who took a deadly shot was cleared by both HPD’s Professional Standards Unit and a Cabell County Grand Jury.But, Huntington Council Public Safety Committee Chairperson , Frances Jackson, has not yet fielded complaint calls about the shooting of the suspect in Guyandotte.

On Friday morning, January 14, police officers were called to a domestic dispute in the Guyandotte. Police Chief Skip Holbrook said in a press release that when officers arrived in the 500 block of Richmond Street, they accessed that Raymond Adkins, 59, had physically assaulted and injured a family member.

Although the police version asserts that Adkins resisted leaving the interior, charged an officer, grabbed his beanbag gun, and further resisted, daughter Leanna Adkins that the altercation involving five officers occurred on the front porch.

Leanna Adkins claims that he father a convicted felon was afraid of police. After the beanbag gun was fired, accounts differ. She maintains that he dad did not “charge” or try to take a weapon from an officer. However, the HPD release insists that during the struggle, Raymond Adkins grabbed the beanbag gun. (Some reports state that it was pointed at the night shift commander’s head), which prompted officer Travis Hagan to fire one shot into Adkins back.

However, Leanna insists too that once her father was shot police did not signal for EMS in a timely manner.

After first handcuffing Raymond Adkins, Holbrook said officers noticed he had been shot and started CPR. Medics were called at 12:18 a.m. and arrived six minutes later from the W.Va. 2 station at 12:24 a.m. The EMS unit left Richmond Street at 12:30 a.m. arriving at St. Mary’s Hospital at 12:35 a.m., based on accounts by Holbrook and Gordon Merry, director CCEMS.

Leanna , though, claims that officers stood around her father for 15 minutes and watched him die.

Both the HPD’s Criminal Investigations Bureau and Office of Professional Standards are investigating. Once findings are complete, these will be forwarded to the Cabell County Prosecutor’s Office for possible grand jury presentation. For now, Hagan has been placed on administrative leave, which is common protocol in shooting incidents.


Since July 2008, officers have been involved in the shooting and killing of at least three suspects. They have been cleared of wrongdoing in each case. Two of the shootings escalated racial tensions --- the 2009 Club Babylon nightclub shooting on Fourth Avenue and the May 11, 2008 shooting of Rashuwn Harless in the 1500 block of Seventh Avenue.

The Friday shooting and killing of a suspects also comes just months after the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upheld in October 2010 , U.S. District Judge Robert Chamber’s findings in a mother’s excessive force complaint.

The complaint stemmed from the July 11, 2008 death of Christopher Lee Ratliff, who died from ingesting a package of heroin while police attempted to detain him in the 3100 block of Fifth Avenue. Ratliff’s mother, Geneva Maynard, has maintained that her son was beaten by two officers. Judge Chambers ruling acknowledged some of the injuries were “suspicions,” but concluded a “lack of evidence” left the court “no choice” but to dismiss the complaint.



Frances Jackson, chairperson of city council’s public safety committee, indicated that as of Sunday , Jan. 16, she had not received any calls from the public on the incident. Ms. Jackson again mentioned an often discussed citizen’s review board complementing the police department’s internal affairs investigation.

Noting that internal affairs retains a “fox guarding the hen house” perception, the councilwoman believes that the internal affairs review would in the interest of department integrity “find out exactly what happened,” if an officer acted wrongly.

Although a few department members have an aggressive reputation as “cowboys,” Ms. Jackson stressed no doubt that all of the so-called “cowboys” would be “out there putting his (or her) life on the line” to help resolve an incident.

Law enforcement members object to the citizen’s review concept, Jackson said. She postulated that , perhaps, such a board could be set up that required a certain number of its members to be attorneys or professionally working in the criminal justice environment.

Jackson views such a review panel as more “oversight” oriented, rather, than one which looks into every incident.


The case remains under investigation.

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