- Associated Press - Thursday, December 19, 2019

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - A woman who was seen on video being punched several times during her arrest in West Virginia is suing the officers involved.

Freda Gilmore is listed as the plaintiff in the lawsuit filed Wednesday in Kanawha County Circuit Court, WCHS-TV reported. Her Oct. 14 arrest sparked a use-of-force investigation that Charleston Police Chief Opie Smith referred to the FBI.

The lawsuit accuses Charleston officers Carlie McCoy and Joshua Mena of striking Gilmore with their fists multiple times while she was defenseless and on the ground. The lawsuit also says Gilmore has an unspecified mental disability and special needs.

The officers were placed on administrative leave after the arrest and then reinstated when an internal review found they followed department policy, the TV station reported.

Charleston Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin has said she supports the chief’s decision to keep the officers on the job but the department’s use-of-force policy needs to be updated.

The lawsuit names the officers, the city of Charleston, Family Dollar Stores of West Virginia LLC and five John Does as defendants. Video from the arrest shows it happened outside a Family Dollar store.

The lawsuit seeks damages for pain and suffering, medical bills, loss of earning capacity and lost wages, humiliation and more. It also asks that the defendants undergo training on how to address individuals with mental disabilities and special needs.

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