Photographer Who Was Shot by Deputy Who Mistook Tripod for Rifle Had Been Warned About His Behavior Before

Photographer Who Was Shot by Deputy Who Mistook Tripod for Rifle Had Been Warned About His Behavior Before

Andy Grimm, the photographer who was shot after a deputy mistook his tripod for a rifle, had been warned about his behavior near police in the past, records show. 

You might remember Grimm, who is currently in the midst of a federal civil rights lawsuit against the Clark County Sheriff's Department and Deputy Jacob Shaw, who shot him. A grand jury recently declined to bring charges against the deputy. Previously, the department had declined to comment, but a records request by the Associated Press recently found that his presence and behavior around police officers had been called into question in the past.

In one such incident in spring 2017, Sergeant Robert Trimble says he was parked in a police-only lot at night when he saw a vehicle he didn't recognize. He then got out of his car when someone “quickly darted” toward him, causing him to unholster his gun. When he recognized Grimm, he told him: “Andy, what are you doing? I had my duty weapon out! You can’t run up on our cars!”

Further records show that another deputy told investigators he found Grimm's behavior at a traffic stop in January 2017 inappropriate, when Grimm circled the stop twice slowly before eventually stopping. Another sergeant said he warned the photographer after a traffic stop in 2016, though it's not clear what behavior caused the warning then. Major Andy Reynolds mentioned to investigators that “other deputies have expressed issues with Grimm." Reynolds could not remember which deputies had concerns or what those were. Sheriff Deborah Burchett declined comment, though she did tell investigators that "other deputies from the department may have cautioned Grimm in the past on such behavior of poor tactics." However, she could not name the specifics of those incidents.

On the other hand, Grimm and his father, co-owners of KBA News, LLC, insist that they "have only received positive comments" from the department in the past, though they have been struggling to get news-related information from the department since the shooting. And of course, the issue of how the First Amendment balances with Grimm's alleged behavior around police remains to be solved by the courts.

Lead image by Scott Davidson, used under Creative Commons.

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34 Comments

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Mr Blah's picture

Haaaa yes the old "dirty history of the victim" trick. It works on black, sexual assault cases, why not this one?

Truly a clusterfuck of a country.

John Pesina's picture

Victim blaming. Fstoppers should be ashamed putting up this article.

dale clark's picture

Actually, I think the article is a good reminder for us. Be aware how we approach a photo shoot with our equipment, tripods, etc. All it takes is someone in an apartment to look out their window from a distance thinking a tripod is a weapon as we carry it around. The person calls police and reports somebody with a weapon and thats what the police expect as they arrive.

Joshua Boldt's picture

So, in other words, they were familiar with him being around police activity which means they should have been even less likely to mistake him for a shooter?