MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) Environmental activists demanded a federal investigation Thursday into the alleged beating of a mountaintop removal mining protester by West Virginia State Police.
Several groups issued a statement asking the U.S. Attorney’s Office to investigate a weekend incident involving mountaintop removal mining protester Dustin Steele. They’d initially targeted the West Virginia attorney general, but that office has no criminal investigation or prosecutorial power. It primarily handles consumer protection and fraud cases.
Melvin Smith, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, said the FBI investigates claims of civil rights violations by public officials, but he was unaware of whether it’s received any complaints.
If the FBI were to determine charges were warranted, they would be pursued in federal court.
Steele, 21, is a Matewan native who now lives in Blair. He and 19 other protesters were arrested Saturday after a demonstration at Patriot Coal’s