It reasonably appeared to Clark County Deputy Jacob Shaw that a news photographer he shot in September had a gun and was a potential danger to the public, lawyers for Clark County allege in their response to a lawsuit.
Photographer Andy Grimm sued the deputy, Clark County and the city of New Carlisle in December, seeking damages for what he called “excessive use of force and violation of Mr. Grimm’s constitutional and common law rights.”
Grimm, a photographer for the New Carlisle News, was shot by Shaw on Sept. 4 on Main Street in New Carlisle while preparing to take photos of the deputy at a traffic stop. Shaw can be heard on body camera footage obtained by the Springfield News-Sun apologizing to Grimm and saying he believed his camera to be a weapon.
“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,” the response from the county’s lawyers says.
Much of the county’s response is denying several of the allegations in the lawsuit. Grimm’s actions that night might have played a role in the shooting, the county’s response says.
“Plaintiff Andrew Grimm’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,” the response says.
Grimm declined to comment on Tuesday and the county’s attorneys haven’t responded to requests for comment.
In the lawsuit, Grimm says he suffered serious injuries and financial suffering that he believes the county is responsible for.
“The nature of the injury has caused plaintiff to lose wages for time taken off to heal from the injury,” it says. “The loss of wages suffered by Andrew Grimm is serious and of a nature that no reasonable person could be expected to endure.”
The lawsuit also alleges Grimm’s wife, Melanie Grimm and KBA News LLC, which publishes the New Carlisle News, have suffered due to the shooting.
“Plantiff KBA News, LLC asserts loss of business profits as local law enforcement agencies have retaliated against the business in response to the events of Sept. 4,” the lawsuit says.
In a statement sent to the Springfield News-Sun previously, attorney’s for the county said the defendants aren’t responsible.
“We cannot comment regarding claims against Deputy Shaw because there is an ongoing investigation,” a statement released by the attorneys says. “Clark County and the city of New Carlisle deny all claims against them.”
The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations is handling the investigation into the deputy-involved shooting. That investigation likely will head to a grand jury soon, spokesman Dan Tierney said. He declined further comment.
The sheriff’s office has said it will do an internal investigation into Shaw’s actions after the state’s investigation is completed. Shaw returned to duty in October, reassigned then to the jail.
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Staying with the story
The Springfield News-Sun has closely tracked developments since first breaking the news of the deputy-involved shooting on Sept. 4, including stories about what the body camera shows and the standards for officer-involved shootings.