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Press Release

Former West Virginia Jail Internal Affairs Officers Charged With Civil Rights Offense

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

Austin Garland Burke, 64, and Timmy Allen Kemper, 58, were indicted today for the use of unlawful force on a pretrial detainee at the Western Regional Jail in Barboursville, West Virginia, while they were acting as internal affairs officers with the West Virginia Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority, announced Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia Michael B. Stuart, and FBI Pittsburgh Division Special Agent in Charge Robert A. Jones.

Burke and Kemper are charged with one count of deprivation of rights under color of law. According to the indictment, on Feb. 27, 2015, Burke and Kemper were responsible for the use of unlawful force against the detainee, who was injured when a flashbang grenade and a stinger grenade were deployed in his cell and he was then hogtied and transported in a K-9 vehicle to another correctional facility. The indictment also alleges that the defendants’ acts involved the use of a dangerous weapon and resulted in bodily injury to the detainee.

The count carries a maximum penalty of 10 years of imprisonment. An indictment is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

This case was investigated by the FBI Pittsburgh Division, Huntington, West Virginia Resident Agency. It is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Olimpia E. Michel and Kathryn E. Gilbert of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and Assistant United States Attorney Rachel Kincaid for the Southern District of West Virginia.

Updated May 1, 2019

Civil Rights
Press Release Number: 19-455