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Man gets home confinement for striking Glasgow officer

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A man who struck a Glasgow police officer with his car during an angry repossession feud will serve a one-year term on home confinement.

Kanawha County Circuit Judge Charles E. King sentenced Larry Dangerfield to 12 months on home confinement Thursday at the chagrin of Glasgow Police Officer Steve W. Smith, who said he wanted the case to go to trial and didn't agree with a prosecutor's decision to allow Dangerfield to plead to battery charges.

"This is something that didn't have to happen," Smith said in court Thursday, referring to the October 2011 incident that he said left him a broken hip, broken ribs and fluid around his heart. "I didn't agree with the plea deal."

Smith has had a couple of incidents that have led to on-the-job injuries, lawsuits, or both.

Two months after Dangerfield hit Smith with his car, a man shot the officer in the arm with a sawed-off shotgun while he was responding to a burglary. Smith was wearing civilian clothing when he entered the man's trailer.

In October 2012, Smith won a $646,000 lawsuit against the town of East Bank, which fired him amid allegations that he used a Taser to "drive stun" a woman and a volunteer firefighter. A drive stun is a compliance maneuver executed by placing the Taser directly against someone to cause pain but not incapacitation.A jury found that town officials wrongly fired Smith, who had argued that they did so for political reasons.

During the Dangerfield incident, a collections agency asked the Glasgow department to assist in repossessing Dangerfield's truck. While driving a different vehicle, a car, Dangerfield reportedly hit Smith as Dangerfield was trying to stop the tow truck driver.

King pointed out Thursday that the repossession order that was placed in Dangerfield's pre-sentence report was not a court order and that law enforcement had no duty to assist.

A grand jury originally indicted Dangerfield on charges of battery, attempted malicious wounding, fleeing and battery on a government representative.

Last week, when he learned of the plea agreement, Smith filed a motion in Kanawha County Circuit Court, requesting the right to make a victim-impact statement.

He claimed in the motion that prosecutors did not consult with him when they reached the agreement. Kanawha County Prosecutor Mark Plants said Smith should have been kept informed about the case and that Smith didn't need to file a court motion to make a victim-impact statement.

Smith has filed a lawsuit against Dangerfield, according to Dangerfield's lawyer, Michael J. Del Giudice.

Dangerfield's family members said the repossession incident was "blown out of proportion."

Reach Zac Taylor at zachary.taylor@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5189.


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