PINEVILLE, N.C. — A man is suing the city of Pineville and four police officers more than a year after they shot him.
Someone called 911 in February 2020, saying a man was waiving a gun along Polk Street. Police said that Timothy Caraway pulled out a gun.
However, Caraway said he was just following their commands before getting shot.
The lawsuit said Pineville police used excessive force when they shot Caraway on the sidewalk. It also says he was wrongfully charged – and is still suffering today – due to that incident.
Four officers involved approached Caraway from behind after receiving a 911 call that a Black man with dreads was “waving a gun” around, according to the lawsuit.
The officers who were, “approximately 15 feet away from Caraway, proceeded to yell conflicting instruction,” the lawsuit states. Caraway “turned toward the officers, pulled the gun out of his right pocket, held it on his right side facing away from the officers and started to drop it on the ground. As he bent down on his right knee to place the gun in the grass, he was shot once by officer (Adam) Roberts.”
The lawsuit continues to state that Caraway fell to the ground. Then “Officer (Jamon) Griffin fired his weapon at Caraway approximately nine times. Griffin continued to fire even while Caraway was on the ground face down with his arm covering his face. As Griffin is repeatedly firing his weapon, officers Gladden and French admonish him to ‘stop’ firing.” And Griffin “had only been a member of PPD for approximately 28 days” and “was being supervised by his partner, Officer Leslie Gladden.”
After the gunshots stopped, officers ran to Caraway, who could be seen on body cam pleading with the police officers.
“Officers, I’m sorry. I’m sorry,” he said. “I was just doing what I was told to do.”
Attorney Scott MacLatchie, who is representing the city of Pineville, explained Friday what went on from the officers’ perspective.
“In the split seconds after those commands, Mr. Caraway went to move his hands upward and, in fact, he had an object in his hand later on,” MacLatchie said. “In hindsight, it turned out to be a cellphone.”
MacLatchie said officers then commanded Caraway to drop the gun.
“He reached out into his jacket pocket and pulled out a handgun, holding it by the grip and bringing it up,” the attorney said.
Police have said that at that moment, officers perceived there to be an imminent threat and fired at Caraway.
MacLatchie said he could not comment on the ongoing internal investigation. The district attorney dropped the charges against Caraway.
(WATCH BELOW: Police release body cam footage from officers who shot armed man on Pineville street)
The Pineville Police Department release the following statement in response to the lawsuit:
The Pineville Police Department has received and reviewed the lawsuit filed on behalf of Mr. Timothy Rochell Caraway. We want our community to know we remain transparent and focus driven as we await our day in court.
At this stage it is important to remember that our officers have been cleared of any criminal wrongdoing, and we are now at liberty to disclose they have also been cleared through a separate administrative investigation conducted by an outside law enforcement consulting firm.
Back in March 2021, Pineville PD petitioned the court to release the officers’ body-worn camera video so we could show the community what took place and the dangers our officers faced that day regarding the split-second decisions that were needed to keep themselves and the public safe. We have held several open forums for the community-at-large and for the news media to show these videos, having open discussions and showing you the facts.
This is a difficult time for all of us and we are committed to doing the right thing. Our department supports and will defend our four police officers, who put their lives on the line every single day without question. Our legal counsel, Scott MacLatchie, has spoken to the media about the lawsuit, and we ask for your patience as this case works its way through the legal process.
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