Sheriff's Deputy who shot photographer won't face criminal charges
On March 22nd, a grand jury decided that Clark County Sheriff's Deputy Jake Shaw will not face criminal charges for injuring photojournalist Andy Grimm. Shaw shot Grimm after mistaking the photographer's tripod and camera for a gun.
The incident took place in September of 2017. Grimm was shot by Deputy Shaw in New Carlisle, Ohio, while attempting to photograph the deputy during a traffic stop. The incident made national news in part because it was captured on Shaw's body cam, which recorded the deputy telling Grimm that he'd mistaken the photographer's camera and tripod for a firearm.
In December, Grimm, his wife, and KBA News filed a lawsuit against Deputy Shaw, the City of New Carlisle, and the Clark County Board of County Commissioners. The lawsuit, which seeks a minimum of $75,000 in damages, accuses Shaw of using excessive force and violating Grimm's civil rights. According to initial reports, the Sheriff's Deputy allegedly failed to warn Grimm before opening fire.
Further, the legal complaint claims Grimm has suffered physical and psychological issues since the shooting, as well as loss of wages during his recovery time, and that local law enforcement agencies have "retaliated against" KBA News over the ordeal, resulting in a "loss of business profits."
However, according to the Springfield Sun-News, Clark County's lawyers have argued that Deputy Shaw reasonably believed Grimm's tripod was a firearm. The statement reads:
Defendants aver that it reasonably appeared to Deputy Shaw that Andrew Grimm possessed a firearm under the conditions facing him, in the course and scope of his employment, and in good faith, to make a split-second decision to discharge his weapon in order to protect the public and himself from perceived deadly harm.
Per initial reports, the shooting happened at night during a thunderstorm. Grimm claimed to have first flashed his vehicle's lights and waved at Shaw, who was conducting a traffic stop, in order to alert the deputy to his presence. As well, Grimm previously stated that he started to set up his camera and tripod "in full view" of Shaw, though moments later he was shot, allegedly without warning.
The county says Grimm may have some responsibility in the shooting, saying that the photographer's "own contributory and or comparative negligence and/or assumption of the risk may have caused or contributed to cause the injuries and damages of which he complains."
On March 22nd, a grand jury accepted the county's arguments, ultimately deciding that Deputy Shaw should not face criminal charges for the shooting. According to local news WHIOTV7, the Clark County Sheriff's Office is conducting an administrative review of the shooting, which has also been investigated by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation. Deputy Shaw returned to work in October under a reassignment to the county jail.
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