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No charges against deputy who shot photographer after mistaking camera for gun

Deputy Jacob Shaw can be heard on body camera footage apologizing to Andy Grimm and saying he believed his camera was a weapon

By Matt Sanctis
Springfield News-Sun, Ohio

CLARK COUNTY, Ohio — A Clark County deputy won’t face criminal charges after he shot a local news photographer in September.

A Clark County grand jury met Thursday and filed on Friday a no bill on Deputy Jacob Shaw, meaning he won’t face criminal charges in the case.

Andy Grimm, a photographer for the New Carlisle News, was preparing to take photos of traffic stop with Shaw on Sept. 4 on Main Street in New Carlisle. Shaw fired two shots, injuring Grimm.

Shaw can be heard on body camera footage obtained by the Springfield News-Sun apologizing to Grimm and saying he believed his camera to be a weapon.

He’s currently working at the Clark County Jail, Clark County Sheriff Deb Burchett told the Springfield News-Sun, after he returned to duty in October. The sheriff’s office now will conduct an administrative review of the incident, Burchett said, but she declined further comment due to pending litigation.

“The sheriff’s office is grateful to the BCI investigators and other officials at the Attorney General’s Office for conducting this investigation,” Burchett said in a news release Friday afternoon.

Grimm declined comment Friday afternoon. Neither Shaw nor the union that represents him returned calls seeking comment on Friday afternoon.

Shaw’s body camera footage appears to show he stopped a vehicle for speeding in New Carlisle. A short time later, he returns to his cruiser and relays the man’s license and insurance information to dispatchers. It’s not clear what Shaw heard or saw from that point on.

But minutes later, the video appears to show Shaw suddenly open his car door and fire two quick shots with no apparent verbal warning. Shaw then recognizes the man he shot as Grimm. Shaw calls for an ambulance while he applies pressure to Grimm’s wound, according to the recording.

“I need people here now!” Shaw says on the recording. “… Andy, I thought it was a freaking gun, dude!”

In the video, Grimm says he tried to alert Shaw of his presence, waving and flashing his lights at him.

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.”

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.”

In his lawsuit, Grimm says he sustained serious injuries and financial suffering that he believes the county is responsible for.

“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.”

Lawyers representing Clark County responded to the lawsuit earlier this 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.

©2018 Springfield News-Sun, Ohio