BECKLEY, W.Va. -- A judge has dismissed one count in a federal lawsuit by a former Sophia police officer who says he was fired because he's black.U.S. District Judge Irene Berger says Damon McDowell failed to prove his former boss deliberately spoiled evidence.She says McDowell lacks the hard evidence to support his claim. Berger also says that altering a document with a handwritten note isn't the same as destroying evidence.Attorney Maria Hughes said Wednesday she would file a motion for reconsideration. Hughes says the underlying case is "very much alive,'' with depositions underway.
Police Chief Tomi Peck says she fired McDowell after he left a Beckley restaurant without paying his bill.McDowell claims he's the victim of racial harassment and a conspiracy cooked up to force him to resign.