W. Va. Police Referring Disabled Woman’s Forceful Arrest to FBI

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A West Virginia mayor says federal authorities are being asked to look into the use of force by Charleston police during the arrest of a woman with special needs.

Charleston Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin said in a statement Thursday that following a series of meetings with community groups, Police Chief Opie Smith has referred the incident to the FBI.

Cellphone video shows 27-year-old Freda Gilmore lying on the ground and being repeatedly punched in the head Oct. 14 by Charleston police Officer Joshua Mena during her arrest. Gilmore’s family has said she has special needs.

Smith has said the use of force complied with department policy. Goodwin has said she supports Smith’s decision to keep Mena and another officer on the job but the policy needs to be updated.