DUNBAR, W.Va. — Recent events involving Dunbar police officers are becoming one of the main issues in the city’s primary election.

Democratic mayoral candidate, city councilman, Bob Yeager said the city got hit with another lawsuit recently in connection with alleged police actions which will probably end up costing the city more.

Bob Yeager

Yeager, a guest Thursday on 580 Live with Dave Allen, said even with a position on city council, there is little communication or transparency with Mayor Scott Elliott.

“I get very little information,” he said. “The city administration is not very forthcoming with what’s going with these situations, I find out about most of this stuff just like you do when I read it in the paper or hear it on the news, so that’s one issue where the city is not very transparent when it comes to these issues.”

Yeager said when the current administration took office, himself included, there were already four or five lawsuits pending. He said there was no plan from the mayor’s office.

“I sat down and talked to the mayor and said ‘Hey, what are we going to do about this,’ and he didn’t really have a plan, and here we are three years later, now I think we’re up to maybe 12 lawsuits that I’m aware of,” he said.

He said before he filed to run for office, he went back to the mayor to again address the mounting lawsuits, and he said again, nothing got done about it.

Elliott, also a Democrat and a retired Dunbar police officer, told 580 WCHS Thursday his office has responded appropriately.

“We have taken steps to do what we need to do by suspending officers until the investigations are over,” Elliott said. “From day one if the first incident, we have suspended the officers, contacted outside agencies to investigate them, to make sure there are no criminal laws that the police officers have broken. If they are we will fully cooperate.”

Two people filed suit against the city in February claiming public records relating to misdemeanor arrests were denied. The lawsuit cane after a $2 million wrongful death settlement was made in Dunbar where a man was fatally injured while in police custody.

Dunbar Mayor Scott Elliott previously served as a police officer in the city for 22 years. (WCHS)

There was another lawsuit in recent days, Elliott confirmed Lt. Chad Shafer has has been suspended after being accused in a federal lawsuit of violating a woman’s constitutional rights, sexual harassment and battery.

Yeager, who retired as a South Charleston police officer after 26 years, said the problems are too many and confidence needs to be restored. That’s why he’s running.

“When the Friday before the filing day, when that federal judge issued that default order against the city for failing to respond to a lawsuit, that was the moment that I felt, well, now’s the time, I can’t put this off for four more years,” Yeager said.

He said if elected, he plans to get Dunbar’s image back in good standing to the way it once was.

“The people that live there, we know what a great place it is, but the outside world, with all of the negative publicity going on right now, if you Google Dunbar, West Virginia, you’re not going to see what a great place it is, you’re going to see these lawsuits,” said Yeager.

Elliott said he believes he’s earned another four years in office. He said he’s given the city more than 30 years of his life.

“I just everybody to know that I am here to talk to and I feel the city has went in the right direction and we’ve got a lot of things done over the last four years and I hope they continue to vote with confidence,” he said.

Elliott said accomplishments during the last four years, his first term in office, include an active program to remove dilapidated houses from the city and an agreement with Prestera to provide counseling to residents with substance abuse disorder.

Courtney Williams (Facebook)

“We definitely have tried to talk people into going to drug rehab and there are a lot of success stories,” Elliott said.

A third Democratic candidate for mayor in the May 14 primary is long entrepreneur Courtney Williams.

Williams’ campaign announcement said she recognizes Dunbar’s potential.

“She has made it her mission to foster a safe and thriving environment, leading her to run for Mayor in the upcoming election. For over a decade, Courtney has fearlessly confronted injustices and tirelessly worked to improve the lives of her fellow citizens,” the release said. “Known for her exceptional ability to build bridges and foster unity, Courtney rallies people towards common goals that benefit the entire community.”

The winner in the primary will advance to the November General Election. There are currently no Republican candidates in the mayor’s race.