Former Wheeling Cop Settles Suit Against City

WHEELING — A former Wheeling police officer who accused his supervisor of punching him and placing him in a headlock in 2016, causing lasting injuries, has settled a federal lawsuit filed against the city.

Kyle Mull, who was a corporal in the police department, claimed his supervisor at the time, Sgt. Jeffrey Griffith, attacked him during a disagreement as they were changing shifts June 22, 2016.

The “sucker punch” and headlock caused Mull to bleed, the lawsuit states, and he had swelling at his hairline, cheek and jaw, according to court documents.

According to court documents, Mull received a doctor’s excuse to take two days off following the incident, but instead took five days after he forged the doctor’s note to extend his leave. The police department investigated Mull’s actions, and he was initially suspended for five days with pay in April 2017, but later terminated because of the forgery, according to court documents.

Mull claimed he was wrongfully terminated because he was suffering effects from post-concussion syndrome, and that less harsh discipline options were available.

Meanwhile, Griffith received a verbal reprimand, but City Manager Robert Herron testified that Griffith could have received a three-day suspension without pay or demotion if he had not retired first, court documents indicate.

Mull and his wife, Tamsen Balzano-Mull, sued the city in June 2017 asking for compensation of lost wages and punitive damages after the incident. The lawsuit claimed Mull suffered longterm injuries and received workers compensation for a 2% disability from the incident.

Court documents indictate Mull’s lost wages while he was injured were about $1,990 due to the medical disability subtracted from workers compensation payments.

However, terms of final settlement, which was reached Oct. 23, were not available.

Mull’s attorney, Ronald Kasserman of Wheeling, said the settlement is confidential and declined to comment.

City Manager Robert Herron directed questions about the lawsuit to City Solicitor Rosemary Humway-Warmuth, who on Friday said she was not available for comment.

Griffith, who was not charged following the incident, retired from the department, although it was not known when he left. He could not be reached for comment Friday.

Federal Chief Judge Thomas Johnston of the U.S. District of Northern West Virginia presided over the case.


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