The news photographer shot by a Clark County deputy in New Carlisle in September has filed a federal lawsuit claiming lost wages, suffering and retaliation.
Andy Grimm filed the lawsuit Thursday against the deputy, Clark County and the city of New Carlisle. It seeks damages and calls the shooting “excessive use of force and violation of Mr. Grimm’s constitutional and common law rights.”
The lawsuit doesn’t specify an amount of money Grimm is seeking but does say he wants more than $75,000 to cover attorney fees, injury, damage, loss and to adequately punish and deter the conduct alleged.
Grimm said in an email he and his lawyer tried to settle outside of court before filing the lawsuit.
“We offered a settlement and the county’s insurance blew it off,” Grimm said. “A deputy shooting an unarmed civilian is not something to be brushed aside, so we moved forward.”
Clark County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Travis Russell and New Carlisle City Manager Randy Bridge both declined to comment.
Clark County Prosecutor Andy Wilson said the lawsuit has been forwarded to the county’s insurance carrier and declined further comment.
The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations is handling the investigation into the deputy-involved shooting. The bureau is turning its findings over to a special prosecutor for review and the investigation is ongoing, spokesman Dorcas Jones said in a statement.
Shaw was conducting a traffic stop about 10 p.m. Sept. 4 on North Main Street when he fired at Grimm, according to body camera footage. Shaw can be heard apologizing to Grimm after he recognizes him in the video obtained by the Springfield News-Sun and saying he thought his camera was a weapon.
The lawsuit says Shaw shot at Grimm twice, striking him in his stomach and grazing his shoulder. He had to have surgery and other medical treatment for the wounds, according to the lawsuit.
Grimm wasn’t a threat to anyone the night he was shot, the suit alleges. He also took measures to identify himself, the court documents say, including parking under a street light, flashing her car lights at the deputy, waving at him and wearing his press credentials around his neck.
“Defendant Shaw’s conduct was so extreme and outrageous as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency and was utterly intolerable in a civilized society,” the lawsuit says.
The lawsuit also alleges the sheriff’s office failed to properly train and supervise Shaw.
Grimm has suffered financially from the shooting, according to the suit, and has had headaches and other ailments since then.
“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.”
In an email, he says that people around him have noticed a change since the shooting.
“My wife says I look lost, my dad says I’m angry, friends say I’m not the same,” he said. “My 6-year-old son brought me all of his police cars and said he doesn’t want them anymore. I explain that while we may not see things clearly now, truth and justice will always prevail. I told him that not all police are bad and that he cannot judge all by the actions of one.”
POLICE SHOOTING DATABASE: INTERACTIVE: Police-involved shootings
Grimm said in an email after he was shot he was careful about what he said because, “I didn’t want to become the face of any anti-cop hatred.” But he always has believed Shaw should face discipline for shooting him.
“I am perplexed to the policies in place by Clark County and the sheriff’s department that allow an employee to return to work while the Bureau of Criminal Investigations is still conducting a criminal investigation on that employee,” Grimm said.
The lawsuit also alleges KBA News LLC, which publishes the New Carlisle News, has lost money due to the shooting and that New Carlisle and the sheriff’s office have retaliated against the business.
“Since the shooting of Andy, the city of New Carlisle and the Clark County Sheriff’s office have withheld and/or delayed providing KBA News LLC information regarding the community,” the suit says.
Staying with the story
The Springfield News-Sun has dug into the shooting of a news photographer since the incident occurred on Sept. 4, including stories looking at the deputy’s personnel record and the standards for officer-involved shootings.