Arrest Warrant Issued for Ex-Police Chief
PADEN CITY – A warrant has been issued for the arrest of former Paden City police chief Joseph Richardson who allegedly violated the terms of his bond agreement.
During a special meeting Friday, Paden City Council fired Richardson, who was suspended in October pending the outcome of domestic battery and unlawful restraint charges in Tyler County Magistrate Court. Richardson 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. He 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 cited by council.
During the traffic stop, Richardson was with his wife, Lauren Richardson, the alleged victim from the October incident where he faces charges, according to the incident report cited by council. Council met Friday to discuss severing ties with Richardson, who was not present at the special meeting.
Mayor John “Hoppy” Hopkins read a letter directed to Richardson that offered details as to what happened when Richardson was pulled over outside Parkersburg. The letter said Richardson violated the terms of his bail agreement that he have no contact with the alleged victim from that case. Richardson was released in October on a $10,000 bond arising from the domestic battery and unlawful restraint charges.
Council has directed Richardson to return all city property he may have in his possession including keys, equipment, documents, files and supplies.
Hopkins and council members declined to comment on the matter.
After the meeting, Hopkins said a warrant has been issued for Richardson’s arrest. As of Saturday night, he had not been taken into custody.
Richardson was arrested Oct. 12 by state police responding to a domestic disturbance at his residence in Friendly. He allegedly attacked a woman, which council identified as Lauren Richardson, multiple times and slammed her against a wall, according to the criminal complaint.
Council’s letter to Richardson 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. The letter said a request for a hearing shall be submitted in writing to the city recorder no later than Jan. 25 or his right to a hearing would be waived. If Richardson chooses to pursue a hearing, the letter said, council will notify him as to the time and place it would occur not more than seven days after his written request for a hearing. If council were to withdrawal Richardson’s discharge after such a hearing, he may be entitled to back pay, the letter said.
Richardson’s hearing for the domestic battery and unlawful restraint charges was scheduled Dec. 30 in Tyler County Magistrate Court, but it was rescheduled to a later date.
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.