Pastors want probe into arrest of disabled woman


CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – About 30 clergy members have asked a West Virginia city to order an independent investigation into the arrest of a woman with special needs.

The pastors demanded the probe Tuesday at a public meeting on police policy. Cellphone video shows Freda Gilmore, 27, laying on the ground and being repeatedly punched in the head by Charleston police Officer Joshua Mena during her arrest last month. Gilmore’s family says she has special needs.

Chief Opie Smith said the use of force complied with department policy. Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin says she supports Smith’s decision to keep Mena and a second officer on the job, but the policy needs to be updated. She will respond to the probe request within 10 days.

Kassie Simmons

Kassie Simmons joined the team in January 2019 as a weekend journalist. She graduated from Virginia Tech in just two and a half years with a BA in multimedia journalism. During her short time at Virginia Tech, she served as the editor for the university’s chapter of The Tab. Kassie was named the top reporter for The Tab at Virginia Tech on multiple occasions and made the list for the top 30 reporters for The Tab in the U.S. She also studied theater performance and minored in creative writing. Before coming to WOAY, Kassie interned at WSLS in Roanoke and the Tidewater Review in her hometown of West Point, Va. She has loved following breaking news since her childhood and has a passion for delivering the stories people care most about. Kassie is excited to be working in Southern West Virginia and looks forward to all the adventures ahead of her. You can follow her on Twitter at @KassieLSimmons and like her page on Facebook. If you have a story you think she should check out, send her an email at