Clark County Sheriff: Deputy who shot news photographer was certified to carry gun

Jacob (Jake) Shaw
Jacob (Jake) Shaw

An amended lawsuit filed by news photographer Andy Grimm, who was shot by Clark County Sheriff’s Deputy Jacob Shaw last September, claims the deputy was not certified to carry his firearm the night of the shooting and that the sheriff cursed the photographer in text messages.

Thursday afternoon, the sheriff’s office maintained that Shaw was fully certified to carry while on duty Sept. 4 when he wounded the New Carlisle News photojournalist.

Documents provided by the sheriff’s office support that Shaw did requalify in January 2016 and again in October 2017 for his Glock .22 handgun — meeting standards set by the Ohio Revised Code and the sheriff’s office, according to Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Jeff Meyer.

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“We are updating the lawsuit with more specific details,” Grimm said of the new filing. “The reason we did this is we were operating in good faith that the sheriff’s department and the city of New Carlisle and Clark County were going to do the right thing. In our opinion they haven’t.

“Now we are getting more aggressive with our pursuit of justice,” he said.

Grimm was shot at night on Main Street in New Carlisle. Shaw had pulled over a driver when Grimm had stopped to take pictures of the stop. In a statement, Shaw said he mistook Grimm’s tripod as a long rifle and fired on the reporter.

Grimm was hit twice.

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Shaw was cleared by both the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation of any criminal wrongdoing and by a Clark County Sheriff’s Office internal investigation that found he followed the rules. Shaw was removed from road patrol during the investigations but has been reassigned to road patrol and is undergoing 10-week training.

Grimm, his wife Melanie and KBA News LLC (owner of the New Carlisle News) are suing Shaw, the county, the city of New Carlisle and Sheriff Deb Burchett in federal court.

Grimm said in an interview that Burchett said during a deposition that Shaw wasn’t properly trained.

“In this deposition, she admits that Deputy Shaw was not certified to carry his firearm,” Grimm said. “And that he should not have been on duty let alone carrying a firearm on Sept. 4. And she also admits that he should have still been in training on that date.”

The sheriff’s office flatly denies the claim.

“Jake Shaw was fully qualified to carry a firearm for all of 2017 in accordance with both Ohio law and Sheriff’s Office policy,” Chief Deputy Meyer said in a statement.

“Ohio law mandates that law enforcement officers qualify once annually (once in each calendar year) to maintain their certification. Our policy on requalification specifically mirrors and references the State law standard… Jake Shaw qualified once in 2016 and once in 2017 and he was therefore completely qualified to carry a firearm on Labor Day in 2017,” Meyer said.

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Ohio Administrative Code 109:2-13-02 (D) reads: “All persons required to successfully complete a firearms re-qualification program shall do so once each calendar year.”

Kate Hanson, a spokeswoman with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, said that means a peace officer is required to recertify each year. But not year to date.

Andy Grimm’s attorney, Argeri Lagos, said he disagrees that the sheriff’s office policy is the same as the revised code. He declined further comment.

Also Thursday, Andy Grimm’s father, Dale, issued a statement in reaction to the one Meyer released.

“To correct an inaccuracy in your statement, the grand jury did not clear him [Shaw] of wrongdoing. They determined that there was not enough evidence to indict him based on the evidence presented.”

Grimm also said in his statement that “we stand behind all claims that we have made to be truthful and accurate.”

In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs allege Burchett developed a personal vendetta against Grimm after the shooting and sent unflattering text messages about him.

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The lawsuit further alleges that Burchett actively worked to discredit Grimm and delay the New Carlisle News from getting information to publish.