NEW CARLISLE, Ohio (AP) — A county sheriff's office has retaliated by withholding information to a weekly newspaper in central Ohio after a deputy shot and wounded a news photographer when he mistook a camera for a gun, according to a federal lawsuit filed Thursday.
The lawsuit filed by photographer, Andrew Grimm, his wife and KBA News LLC in New Carlisle names Clark County Sheriff's Deputy Jacob Shaw, Clark County and the city of New Carlisle as defendants and accuses Shaw of using excessive force and violating Grimm's civil rights.
A Clark County Sheriff's Office spokesman and the New Carlisle city manager declined to comment about the lawsuit, which seeks at least $75,000 in damages, according to the Springfield News-Sun. New Carlisle is about 60 miles (97 kilometers) west of Columbus.
Grimm, who owns the New Carlisle News with his father, was driving to photograph a lightning storm on the night of Sept. 4 when he stopped in downtown New Carlisle and began setting up to shoot a traffic stop. Before Grimm could take a photo, Shaw got out of his cruiser and, within a second, fired two shots, hitting Grimm in the chest and grazing his shoulder.
Video from Shaw's body camera indicates he realized his mistake while rushing to help Grimm, who he knew.
"Andy, I'm sorry, brother," Shaw said. "Listen, dude, you pulled that out like a gun out of the back of the Jeep." A minute later, he tells Grimm: "I thought it was a freaking gun, Andy."
Grimm is heard trying to explain that he waved at Shaw and flashed his car lights, but also takes responsibility, saying, "it's my fault." Later, he tells Shaw he doesn't want him to lose his job.
Grimm underwent surgery at a Dayton hospital and was released the next day.
The lawsuit says Grimm suffers from headaches, anxiety and difficulty sleeping because of the shooting and that he becomes nervous when he sees sheriff's deputies or police officers.
The complaint says the Sheriff's Office failed to adequately train and supervise Shaw and has "ratified" his conduct by allowing him to return to duty before the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation concludes its investigation. Shaw was assigned to work in the Clark County Jail in late October after being placed on paid administrative leave.