A photojournalist who was shot twice by a sheriff’s deputy while photographing a traffic stop in New Carlisle, Ohio, has filed a civil rights lawsuit against him and the city, seeking damages.
The photographer, Andy Grimm, his wife Melanie and KBA News are the plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit against the city of New Carlisle, the county Board of Commissioners and Clark County Sheriff’s Deputy Jake Shaw, according to WRGT News. The Grimms filed the suit in the US District Court of Ohio on Thursday, with seven claims for relief.
Among the claims are violations of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment, assault and battery, failure to train, and interference with contractual relations. Grimm is seeking damages for injuries, losses sustained in the shooting and to deter the alleged conduct.
In the complaint, Grimm claims Deputy Shaw used excessive force when he “inexplicably” shot him.
Grimm said the deputy was on patrol, carrying a handgun as a service weapon, and was believed to be wearing body armor. Around 10:10pm on September 4, he conducted a traffic stop for a speed violation. He had taken the driver’s license and registration back to his vehicle to verify the information, with the emergency lights on.
Grimm heard about the traffic stop over the scanner and stopped by to photograph the incident. Grimm said he parked his car under a street lamp across from the stop and parallel to Deputy Shaw’s patrol car, got out and waved to the deputy and flashed his lights to alert him he was there. Grimm said he was in plain view and his press credentials were around his neck.
Deputy Shaw then fired two shots across his body around 10:15pm, allegedly giving no warning prior to discharging his weapon. One bullet went through Grimm’s stomach, while the other grazed his shoulder.
Grimm claims Shaw intended to shoot him to either kill him or cause serious bodily injury, despite the plaintiff presenting no danger to himself or anyone around him, according to the complaint.
Body camera footage obtained by the Springfield News-Sun shows Shaw conducting a traffic stop and firing at Grimm. Shaw can be heard yelling “Andy! Andy! Andy!” as he recognizes Grimm and renders aid.
Shaw can also be heard saying he thought Grimm was taking a gun out of the trunk of his car.
The photographer underwent surgery after midnight. Grimm said he has suffered trauma as a result of the shooting, and that the injuries have caused him to miss time at work. His wife has also suffered emotional distress, said the complaint.
“New Carlisle or Clark County have not taken any disciplinary action against Defendant Shaw,” the complaint says, adding that Shaw was placed back on active duty before the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation finished investigating the incident.
The lawsuit also accuses Shaw of having “a history of sub-standard law enforcement work.”