A Grady County Sheriff’s Office deputy who shot an unarmed man three times earlier this year gave the unsuspecting man no warning he was about to use deadly force, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday.
Authorities from Grady County had arrived March 14 to the home of 34-year-old Demon Jay-Burrus Reed to arrest him after his suspended sentence for drug distribution had been revoked.
Reed, according to an Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation media release following the shooting, had driven his vehicle “toward a deputy” who was waiting for him near Reed’s home in an alley near Tennessee Avenue and South 6th Street. Reed had arrived home, the news release said, when he backed out of his driveway and through an alley where the deputy was located.
That’s when the deputy, identified in the lawsuit as Phillip McCarthey, fired, according to the OSBI release. Reed, who was not armed with a firearm and did not have one in his vehicle when he was shot, was hospitalized in Oklahoma City and survived.
Reed, who had been charged days before the shooting with domestic assault, was not arrested or charged with a crime for the interaction with the deputy, who was eventually cleared and resumed work later in the summer.
Reed’s attorneys argue in their complaint filed Thursday that Reed “was not dangerous and posed no threat of physical harm” to any of the deputies who were attempting to arrest him, thereby violating his civil rights.
“It is not reasonable to use deadly force to apprehend an individual that does not pose an immediate threat to an officer or others,” Reed’s attorneys argue in the complaint, which was filed in the Western District of Oklahoma.
Little information was made available to reporters following Reed’s shooting, and the identities of the deputies involved in the shooting were never released by authorities, so the lawsuit provides the clearest view so far of what happened that night.
It states that McCarthey and another deputy, Chris Kennell, had arrived at Reed’s home shortly before midnight on March 14 to arrest Reed. At about 11:15 p.m., one of the deputies went into Reed’s backyard and “began using a flashlight to look into a car parked there.”
Reed was driving home at this point, the lawsuit states, and when he pulled into his backyard and saw the deputy, he put his pickup in reverse and began to “drive south down the alleyway behind his home towards West Tennessee Avenue.”
Despite an OSBI release that stated Reed drove toward the deputy (McCarthey) who fired the shots, the lawsuit claims Reed neither drove his vehicle “intentionally or unintentionally” toward either deputy, and was not driving “recklessly or in a manner which would endanger pedestrians, neighbors, passersby or the public.”
Seven shots were fired at Reed, the lawsuit states, including three which struck Reed, injuring his right arm and spine, injuries that caused him to crash his pickup into a nearby home.
The seven gunshots were fired “without justification or cause,” the lawsuit states, and all entered Reed’s pickup from the passenger side or rear.
Reed’s lawsuit names McCarthey, Grady County Sheriff Jim Weir, the Grady County Sheriff’s Office and the Grady County Board of County Commissioners as defendants. It alleges the sheriff’s office and board of county commissioners “failed to properly train and supervise its employees … in a manner and to an extend that amounts to deliberate indifference.”
McCarthey, who court records show resumed making arrests in July, about four months after the shooting, “received no form of discipline or reprimand” following the shooting.
There have been at least 54 officer-involved shootings in Oklahoma this year according to records reviewed by The Frontier, at least 32 of which have been fatal.