New Carlisle, OH — While setting up his camera to cover the news, a Clark County Sheriff's deputy opened fire on Andy Grimm—a local newspaper reporter—after he mistook the man's camera for a gun. This incident was recorded on the officer's body camera and there was no dispute that he negligently shot an innocent man.
For shooting an innocent man, the public and police accountability activists called for the immediate firing and prosecution of Clark County Sheriff’s Deputy Jacob Shaw. However, because he is backed by the thin blue line, instead of being fired or prosecuted Shaw was given a paid vacation and is now back on the job. And, last week, a grand jury met and filed a no bill on him—meaning he will never face any consequences for his actions—ever.
“The sheriff’s office is grateful to the BCI investigators and other officials at the Attorney General’s Office for conducting this investigation,” Clark County Sheriff Deb Burchett said in a news release Friday afternoon.
The grand jury document released Friday contained only two sentences.
“After due consideration of the above case the Special Grand Jury returned NO BILL(s), regarding the on duty shooting by Deputy Jacob Shaw of Andrew Grimm and the surrounding circumstances. After due consideration of the above case the Grand Jury returned a NO BILL(S) and Deputy Shaw is discharged.”
How, exactly, a grand jury could find no fault in a cop deliberately shooting an innocent man after mistaking his camera for a gun is mind blowing.
As the Springfield News-Sun reported, he returned to work last October, after he was cleared by a psychiatrist and was assigned to the jail division, according to the Clark County Sheriff’s Office. Shaw had been working on the road patrol at the time of the shooting.
The video, released days after the original shooting on the night of September 4, confirms Grimm's description, showing the cop exit his cruiser and fire two shots with no warning—over a camera and a tripod.
“I thought that was a freaking gun Andy,” Shaw said as Grimm screams in agony.
As Grimm bleeds out, Shaw realized the severity of what he had done and calls for an ambulance while applying pressure to the wound.
“I love you. I’m sorry brother,” he said.
As TFTP reported at the time, Grimm was out doing his job for New Carlisle News that night when he came across a traffic stop on the way back to the office and decided to take some photos. Grimm was tasked with taking photos of a nearby lightning storm but when he saw the traffic stop, he saw an opportunity for more pictures. However, that decision almost killed him.
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"I was going out to take pictures and I saw the traffic stop and I thought, 'Hey, cool. I'll get some pictures here.'" he told the newspaper, according to New Carlise News. He said he pulled into a parking lot in full view of the deputy, got out of his Jeep and started setting up his tripod and camera. "I turned around toward the cars and then 'pop, pop."
“I thought you saw me wave,” Grimm can be heard saying on the body camera footage.
He "had his camera in his hand" when Shaw feared for his life and opened fire. Grimm was shot in his side and was rushed to the hospital where he underwent surgery to save his life. He has nearly recovered from the hole put in his body by a man sworn to protect him and has recently returned to full-time work.
“In my head it felt like weeks, months,” he said of that night. “Like everything went through my head about kids, my wife, this and that. And then it hit me like, oh, that really is a bullet. I got shot.”
"I was just doing my job," Grimm said.
This officer should, without a doubt, be fired, charged and never allowed to possess a gun or a badge ever again. But this will not happen. Instead, the taxpayers will now go to bat for Shaw's near-deadly negligence.
Grimm sued the deputy, Clark County and the city of New Carlisle in December, seeking damages for what he alleged in the lawsuit was “excessive use of force and violation of Mr. Grimm’s constitutional and common law rights,” according to the Springfield News-Sun.
“The nature of the injury has caused plaintiff to lose wages for time taken off to heal from the injury,” the lawsuit states. “The loss of wages suffered by Andrew Grimm is serious and of a nature that no reasonable person could be expected to endure.”
Lawyers representing Clark County responded to the lawsuit last week, arguing Shaw reasonably believed Grimm had a gun and was a potential danger to the public when he fired. Their response also argued Grimm’s actions that night might have played a role in the shooting, according to the Sun.
Only can a police officer deliberately shoot an innocent person and then escape any and all accountability by simply claiming that he "reasonably believed" he had to shoot. A travesty of justice indeed.
Yes, many officers are heroes and do amazing things. However—this one did not.
His fear, willingness to escalate to deadly force, and his poor judgment almost killed a man. He should be criticized. He should be held accountable. He is a danger and a menace to society and people should not be afraid of saying this. However, as the grand jury ruling illustrates, many people are afraid of saying it.