No criminal charges for Sheriff’s Deputy who shot a photographer

Apr 3, 2018

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

No criminal charges for Sheriff’s Deputy who shot a photographer

Apr 3, 2018

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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You may remember the case from September 2017: Clark County Sheriff’s Deputy Jake Shaw shot photographer Andy Grimm after mistaking his camera and tripod for a gun. On 22 March 2018, a grand jury decided that Shaw will not face criminal charges for injuring the photographer.

The shooting happened when Grimm pulled over to take photos of a traffic stop. He set up a camera on a tripod, and reports say that Shaw mistook it for a gun and shot Grimm twice without a warning. One bullet struck him in the chest, and the other grazed his shoulder. The incident was even captured on Shaw’s bodycam, and indeed, you can hear that there had been no warning before he pulled the trigger.

After getting shot, Grimm filed a lawsuit against Shaw, seeking over $75,000 in damages. He sued the Deputy for the violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment, common law assault and battery, emotional distress, loss of consortium, lost wages, and intentional interference with contractual relations.

However, Clark County’s lawyers reportedly believe that Shaw “reasonably” thought from Grimm’s camera to be a weapon. In the Springfield News-Sun, the statement from the Clark County’s lawyers 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.

According to the same statement, Grimm had his own part of responsibility in the shooting:

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.

Apparently, these arguments were enough for a grand jury to decide that Shaw should not face criminal charges for the shooting. On 22 March 2018, the grand jury has made the decision.

As the Springfield News-Sun writes, Shaw returned to duty in October, but he was reassigned to the county jail. The sheriff’s office will reportedly do an internal investigation of the case after the state’s investigation is completed.

[via DPReview]

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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10 responses to “No criminal charges for Sheriff’s Deputy who shot a photographer”

  1. Brian Stalter Avatar
    Brian Stalter

    That’s some bullshit.

    1. Patrick Long Avatar
      Patrick Long

      Literally word for word what I was going to say.

  2. jason bourne Avatar
    jason bourne

    As we’ve seen time and time again on the news, the police are apparently above the law.

  3. Mark Turner Avatar
    Mark Turner

    April 1st joke?????

  4. TByte Avatar
    TByte

    Wow. Complete bullshit.
    So at this point any police officer can shoot anybody holding anything or even simply sticking their hands in their pockets and claim they “reasonably” felt imminent danger.

  5. Joseph Her Avatar
    Joseph Her

    cell phones and cameras are guns now

  6. John O'Halloran Avatar
    John O’Halloran

    Notice the grand jury said no criminal charges.

    However, I wonder how the body cam footage of the police officer “shot Grimm twice without a warning” will play to a Jury.

  7. timothyf7 Avatar
    timothyf7

    Time for a “Civil Suit”! I think the outcome would be different.

  8. Jurgen Lobert Avatar
    Jurgen Lobert

    That is outrageous! Shooting without warning should never happen. This police state is out of control, there are as many innocent people shot by police as there are people shot by terrorists.

  9. ScottyMacEsq Avatar
    ScottyMacEsq

    I’m an attorney (licensed 10 years next month). We’re not all bad! I’d say that 99% of lawyers… give the rest of us a bad name… Anyway I’ll give my opinion what’s going on here for what it’s worth.

    First of all, no question in my mind Officer Shaw shouldn’t have a gun. Even IF there was a reasonable belief of an imminent threat, there should still be a warning. Maybe he even deserves to go to jail. But there are likely reasons that there are no criminal charges here:

    1) Read the previous story to see that Grimm and Shaw were / are friends. That’s important. Any criminal charges will require proof beyond a reasonable doubt of criminal action. Aside from Shaw, there’s only one witness: Grimm. Grimm might not want to testify that (beyond a reasonable doubt) he did not seem threatening or pose a reasonable doubt.

    2) Shaw is working the county jail. What’s different about jail duty than all other police duty? NO GUN. If he works the evidence locker, he still has a gun. Writing parking tickets? Still has a gun. Desk duty? Still has a gun. Guarding the field or court of the high school sports team from streakers? Still has a gun. The only time when they take your gun away from you is when they’re more worried of someone else taking it from you, and that’s when you’re working jail duty. And they likely wanted to put Shaw in this position so that they could take away his gun. This is by no means a vote of confidence, but it IS a slight step above suspended without pay.

    3) Grimm is suing for more than $75,000, and on a Federal matter (the legal citation is 42 USC 1983, which is the law that allows one to sue for violations of civil rights, such as 4th and 14th amendment violations). He wants to be in Federal court, on a Federal matter, so state judges and officials won’t “ding” Officer Shaw or the department too badly. It’s also likely that Grimm won’t testify that “beyond a reasonable doubt” he didn’t pose a threat”, but rather “by a preponderance of the evidence” he didn’t pose a threat. In other words, he’s fine with the payout. He doesn’t think that anything criminal happened, but still wants a payout.

    4) Grimm sued under the 1st and 14th amendment. This is a lawsuit against the police department and municipality, not against Shaw personally. If Grimm gets a million dollar payout, Shaw won’t pay a penny of it. The people of Clark County will. That’s also key.

    My guess is that Grimm didn’t want Shaw (his friend) to go to jail or even lose his job. But he likewise didn’t want Shaw to be working anywhere near a gun. Hence the jail. And Grimm probably told the prosecutors that he’s not willing to testify in a criminal case against Shaw, but would probably do so in a civil case. As it’s over $75,000, that case is going to be in Federal court, not state court.

    I could be wrong on this, but that’s my guess of what’s going on behind the scenes. All the statements of the lawyers are lullabies to put you to sleep and make you forget about this case (that’s why they’re so boring).