SCOTT COUNTY, Va. (WJHL)-Virginia State Police are taking over an investigation into a former Weber City Police officer accused of using excessive force on a juvenile by slamming his head while he was handcuffed.
Initially, a Scott County Sheriff’s Department deputy was accused of the crime. An internal investigation by the department later resulted in assault and obstruction of justice charges against Nathan Kennedy, the Weber City officer that has now resigned.
The charges filed by the department have now been dropped.
Scott County Sheriff Chris Holder said he believes his investigators identified the truth and took appropriate action.
Holder said he wants justice for the sixteen-year-old boy involved.
“He is a victim and I don’t want to see the system let him down,” Holder said. “We want the public to know that this is an open investigation. Just because the charges are nolle prosequied doesn’t mean that it’s not going to go on.”
“I dont feel like it was inappropriate for the Virginia State Police to take over. I wish they had done it sooner,” said Scott County Sheriff’s Department Investigator Matt Bishop.
Bishop said the department decided to move forward with charges after they were advised that VSP could not take over the case.
He said a Carol County magistrate also said the department had probable cause for charges against Kennedy.
Bishop said this followed an administrative investigation–turned criminal when they realized the chief suspect was Kennedy, not the department deputy originally accused.
“We were told by the Commonwealth Attorney’s office that the evidence was good evidence that it was not tainted in any way, that it could be used in court,” said Bishop.
In a statement Wednesday, the Scott County Commonwealth Attorney’s office said:
“The sworn criminal complaint relied on for probable cause used evidence gained through an internal administrative investigation. Such evidence is problematic in a criminal complaint and presents an obstacle to admissibility thereby jeopardizing a criminal prosecution. Therefore, the charged were nolle prosequied and we have requested the Virginia State Police to conduct an independent investigation into the allegations. We will prosecute any new charges as determined by the ongoing investigation.”Scott County Commonwealth Attorney Office
“Why the Commonwealth Attorney’s office took a reversed stance towards the evidence that we’ve compiled in this investigation is a mystery to us,” said Bishop.
Holder and Bishop agreed that VSP’s investigation will improve public trust in the process.
“No one will be able to say that one agency tried to cover something up or did not divulge evidence that should’ve been divulged,” Bishop said. “When they’re finished with their investigation their outcomes will be the same as ours.”