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  • Writer's pictureSam Orlando

Got Questions? Martinsburg Police Have Handcuffs

Written by Sam Orlando

Martinsburg, WV — In what some are calling an absolute masterclass of law enforcement, two West Virginia officers have managed to find themselves embroiled in a lawsuit for violating just about every constitutional right one could tally up in a traffic stop gone wrong. The plaintiff, keen on retaining what's left of his civil liberties, filed a federal lawsuit against the two officers for actions during a traffic stop in 2021.

You'd think the game of "How Many Constitutional Rights Can One Violate in a Single Traffic Stop" would be frowned upon, but according to Plaintiff Dale Bernard Beard, Officers Smith and Albaugh were up for the challenge.

Setting a Record?

In the lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia, the plaintiff alleges multiple counts of constitutional rights violations, including unlawful arrest, malicious prosecution, and First Amendment retaliation. It's almost as if the officers had a constitutional bingo card and were two squares away from shouting "Bingo!"

Wait, There's More!

The suit even details the officers' claims of finding marijuana and cocaine in the plaintiff's vehicle, which one might presume would be backed up by thorough field tests. But no, dear reader, the field test was inconclusive. It's a bit like claiming you've caught a big fish but only pulling up an old boot.

Who Needs Probable Cause Anyway?

Probable cause, that old and somewhat boring concept, was also allegedly thrown out of the window. One might wonder, "But don't you need that for an arrest?" In an ordinary world, yes, but in the magical realm of Martinsburg, anything is possible!

The Art of Verbal Judo

And let's not overlook the charge of obstruction. The plaintiff dared to ask, "What crime have I committed?" during the stop—a perfectly valid inquiry in most parts of the democratic world. But it seems in this West Virginia tale, asking questions can make you an obstructionist. Someone get this man a medal for his audacity to question authority.

Asking for a Friend: What's Left of Free Speech?

The suit brings up the significant point of First Amendment rights, which rests on a fundamental American tradition: the right to question authority without being dragged through the mud. Beard wasn’t spitting slurs or throwing fists; he was merely questioning why he was being detained. The lawsuit argues that Smith and Albaugh retaliated against Beard’s exercise of his First Amendment rights, which is a no-no according to just about every American jurisprudence ever.

So What's Next?

Well, a trial by jury has been demanded, and if justice is anything more than a theoretical concept in civics textbooks, the plaintiff stands a good chance of making his case.

The officers, now tasked with an uphill battle to prove their impeccable judgment, might have to take a raincheck on their next game of "Constitutional Bingo."

Sam Orlando is an Editor and Senior Reporter with Breaking Through News. If you have news tips you can email Sam at:

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