Ohio county agrees to pay $260,000 to settle lawsuit brought by photojournalist shot by sheriff’s deputy
Andrew Grimm, the co-owner and photographer of weekly newspaper The New Carlisle News, reached a settlement with Clark County and dropped his lawsuit against the county, a sheriff’s deputy and the City of New Carlisle, Ohio, on May 23, 2019.
Clark County Sheriff’s Deputy Jack Shaw shot Grimm twice without warning in September 2017; in body camera footage from the incident Shaw said at the time that he thought the photojournalist’s tripod was a gun.
Grimm, his wife and KBA News LLC filed the lawsuit on Dec. 14, 2017, alleging that in addition to Shaw’s excessive use of force, after the incident the sheriff’s office retaliated by withholding information from the New Carlisle News.
“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.”
The Attorney General of Ohio’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation conducted an investigation into the shooting, but a grand jury declined to indict Shaw on March 23, 2018, the Springfield News-Sun reported.
NPR affiliate WOSU reported that in the wake of the shooting, Grimm said his sources with the country dried up and the newspapers he owns with his father — the Times and the Enon Eagle in nearby Enon — lost thousands of dollars of ad revenue. Both papers stopped publishing in December 2018 and continued as online-only publications.
Grimm reached a settlement with the county in May 2019; the agreement, reviewed by the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, states that in exchange for $260,000, Shaw, Clark County Sheriff Deborah Burchett, the Clark County Board of Commissions and New Carlisle are forever discharged from the case and future damages claims.
“They say a good litigation is when neither side is happy,” Grimm told the News-Sun. “I’m not exactly happy, I know they aren’t happy either, but I am happy this is over.”
Grimm told the paper he planned to leave Clark County, where he lived most of his life, for the safety of his wife and family.
Andy Grimm, a news editor and photographer for The New Carlisle News, was shot while setting up his camera to photograph a traffic stop during a lightning storm, according to a statement from the Clark County Sheriff's Office. At around 10:15 pm on Sept. 4th, Grimm was holding his camera when Clark County Sheriff’s Deputy Jack Shaw shot him twice without warning.
According to WGCT Fox 45, one of the bullets struck him in the side and another grazed his shoulder. Grimm was taken to Miami Valley Hospital, where he underwent surgery and was released the next day. He’s expected to recover.
Grimm told Fox 45 that he and Shaw knew one another before the shooting. He said that after he was shot, he said, “What the [bleep] Jake Shaw, you shot me, dude” and Shaw responded, “Oh my God, Andy,” and repeatedly said, “I thought it was a gun.”
According to WHIO-TV 7, Shaw was placed on administrative leave and will attend a “critical incident debriefing.” At the request of the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, the Attorney General of Ohio’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation will conduct the investigation into the shooting.
“We’re still investigating to determine what exactly occurred,” a spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office said in a statement.
Grimm is confident in the investigation and told WRGT Fox 45 that he is not upset with Shaw.
"There's so much animosity toward police officers,” he said. “He was just doing his job. I think he made a bad decision. He shot somebody, an unarmed civilian. Realistically there's going to be consequences.”
“Our hearts and prayers are with Mr. Grimm as he recovers and with Deputy Jake Shaw and we ask the community to keep both of them in your hearts and prayers as well,” the Clark County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement.