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Former Paden City Police Chief Seeks Hearing

By Staff | Jan 27, 2016

PADEN CITY – A former police chief, who faces criminal charges, has requested a hearing to protest his discharge by City Council.

Council fired Joseph Richardson during a special meeting Jan. 15 for allegedly violating the terms of his bond agreement. He was suspended in October pending the outcome of domestic battery and unlawful restraint charges in Tyler County Magistrate Court.

City Hall received a letter Jan. 21 from Richardson requesting a hearing before council.

A special council meeting has been scheduled for 4 p.m. Thursday at City Hall.

Richardson was arrested Oct. 12 by state police responding to a domestic disturbance at his residence in Friendly. He allegedly attacked his wife, Lauren Richardson, multiple times and slammed her against a wall, according to the criminal complaint. He was released in October on a $10,000 bond arising from the domestic battery and unlawful restraint charges.

Richardson allegedly violated the terms of his bond agreement when he was pulled over by the Wood County Sheriff’s Department at about 2:19 a.m. Jan. 9, on W.Va. 68 outside the Parkersburg city limits. During the traffic stop, Richardson was with his wife, the alleged victim from the October incident where he faces charges, according to the incident report.

According to Paden City Council, Richardson allegedly violated the terms of his bail agreement that he have no contact with her because of the October incident.

Richardson was cited for driving left of center and illegal use of an electronic device, according to Wood County Magistrate Court. He allegedly flashed his badge and indirectly used an inappropriate hand gesture toward a Wood County sheriff’s deputy, according to the incident report.

Tyler County Magistrate Court records indicate the warrant was served Jan. 15 and Richardson was able to post the $500 cash bond.

When council’s terminated Richardson during the Jan. 15 special meeting, he was sent a letter that said if he wishes to protest his discharge from the city, he may request a hearing before city council where he can present evidence, cross-examine witnesses and be represented by legal counsel. If council were to withdrawal Richardson’s discharge after such a hearing, he may be entitled to back pay, the letter said.

Tyler County magistrates have recused themselves from presiding over Richardson’s hearing, so Wetzel County Magistrate Judith Goontz will preside over the hearing as a special magistrate. She said attorneys need more time to prepare. Tyler County Prosecuting Attorneys D. Luke Furbee’s office has recused itself from the case. Wood County Prosecutor Jason Wharton is serving as the special prosecutor. Richardson is represented by defense attorney Robert McCoid of Wheeling.