Note: we are republishing this story amid nationwide discussion regarding police reform and the relationship between police officers and their communities.
Kristen Richmond, a Brooke County sheriff’s deputy, sustained several injuries – including a broken nose, fractured sinus, busted glasses, and bumps and bruises – following a “full-out fight” with a Bethany College student.
Richmond and another deputy had responded to a call about a man bleeding and throwing things out of a third floor window at a Bethany College dormitory.
In a Facebook post, Richmond recounted the incident: “While fighting with this guy, he reached for my duty weapon. Given the circumstances (full details are not being disclosed in this post), deadly force was warranted and it was probably getting close to my last resort. Thankfully, it did not reach that point.”
Captain Darin Pizer released a statement for the sheriff’s office, stating that deputies had responded to the calls at 2:43 a.m. on Friday. According to the statement, Richmond found Brandon Lamar Jackson naked and bleeding. She tried to approach him and ask what happened, but Jackson had a blank stare. Pizer stated that Jackson was having trouble speaking and appeared to be hallucinating.
“The deputy attempted to detain the subject, who pulled away, attempted to strike the deputy in the face then began to flee on foot. The deputy then began to pursue after the subject. A K-9 was deployed, the subject then curled up in a corner of the exterior of one of the buildings,” the statement read.
Richmond —the handler of K-9 Officer Dakota — wrote on her Facebook post, “… all the K-9 bites, punches, knees, and baton strikes did not deter this guy.”
Richmond managed to cuff one of Jackson’s hands, but he pulled away.
With her communication with other deputies cut off, Richmond was left fighting the 5’11” “collegiate male athlete” alone for about five minutes.
“The subject was told he was under arrest, he then began to strike the deputy in the head and face numerous times as the struggle ensued,” the statement said.
Dakota was deployed again as two other deputies arrived, but Jackson allegedly bit one of the other officers and fought until he was finally handcuffed.
Jackson and the injured deputies were transported to Weirton Medical Center for treatment. The deputies were released, and Jackson was transferred to a hospital in Pittsburgh.
The college released a formal statement addressing the incident: “The administration at Bethany College deeply regrets the events of early Friday morning, July 27, stemming from the conduct of one of our students.”
Bob Oltmanns, the college’s director of communications, added: “Our first concern is for the safety of everyone who lives, works, and visits on our campus and we have a zero tolerance policy regarding behavior that threatens public safety. We want to reassure our entire campus community that Bethany College is a safe and secure campus and that the student involved will be subject to disciplinary action in accordance with our student code of conduct.”
“We appreciate the efforts of local law enforcement for their assistance in this matter and send our best wishes to the responding officers for a quick recovery from the injuries they sustained,” the statement concluded.
Via phone, Oltmanns confirmed that no one else at Bethany was injured during the event, adding that Jackson was student employee at the school, but it was premature for him to guess what discipline Jackson might receive.
Meanwhile, Richmond added in her post: “I took my bloody uniform, duty belt and gear inside with me and dropped it on the floor. I took my tired K-9 partner to her crate so she could get some much deserved rest. I went upstairs, undressed, turned on the hot water in the shower, stepped in and washed his and my blood off my body. I watched it circle the drain not knowing whose exactly it was. Not a lot of people know what it’s like to do that.”
“No, we don’t get into fights like these everyday but they do happen … along with situations that are far worse,” she wrote. “Please take a few moments to consider everything that we go through before jumping to conclusions based off slanted media and facts. At the end of the day, we are exactly like all of you ‘normal’ people. We just want to go home after work.”
Sources: The Intelligencer