×

Coach files complaint against police in basketball scuffle

BECKLEY, W.Va. (AP) — A high school coach has filed a complaint alleging two West Virginia State Police troopers used excessive force when detaining him after a scuffle at a girls basketball game.

Eugene “Gene” Nabors, an assistant coach of the Woodrow Wilson High School girls basketball team in Beckley, filed the complaint Wednesday in U.S. District Court, The Register-Herald reported.

“The force used on Gene Nabors by the WV State Police is excessive, inexcusable, malicious, and actionable under the law,” attorney L. Dante’ diTrapano said.

State police spokesman Capt. Robert Maddy declined to comment on pending litigation.

The complaint stems from an altercation on Feb. 11, 2020, during a girls basketball game between Woodrow Wilson High School and Greenbrier East High School, which have a longstanding rivalry.

The incident gained attention when Gov. Jim Justice, the head coach of the Greenbrier East team, described the Woodrow team as “a bunch of thugs.” He later apologized, saying he didn’t know the remarks would cause any trouble. The team’s coaches, including Nabors, are Black, as are some of the players.

The complaint against police says Nabors was trying to talk to Senior Trooper Jordan Lee Tincher about “racial slurs and epithets” directed at his team by Greenbrier East fans. At one point, Tincher shoved Nabors and Nabors was later placed in handcuffs, the newspaper reported.

Nabors was cited for disorderly conduct and obstructing officers, but the charges were dismissed, diTrapano said.

The complaint said that Nabors suffered a broken arm and back injuries.