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Police Union Files Suit Following Approval Of Civilian Review Board

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — Less than a day after a West Virginia city approved the formation of a civilian board to review complaints against law enforcement officers, a police union filed suit to halt the process.

The Monongalia-Preston Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 87 filed the lawsuit Wednesday morning, hours after the Morgantown City Council unanimously passed an ordinance creating the Civilian Police Review and Advisory Board, news outlets reported. The vote Tuesday night came after nearly a year of discussion and public meetings.

The nine-member board would "provide a prompt and impartial and fair review of misconduct complaints relating to the Morgantown Police Department," City Manager Kim Haws said Tuesday.

The union opposes a provision that allows the review board to participate in complaints before the chief makes a decision and a provision that authorizes the board to interview witnesses.

The complaint filed in the Monongalia County Circuit Court alleges that the review board would contradict the state's civil service law and asks a judge to stop the city from adopting the ordinance.

"The West Virginia Civil Service Law is the exclusive law for hiring, firing, voting and disciplining police officers. That is state-wide not just in Morgantown," said Teresa Toriseva, the attorney representing the police union.

The City of Morgantown does not comment on pending litigation, spokesman Andrew Stacy said.

(Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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