(WJHL) — A lawsuit filed in April 2022 that alleges an Erwin police officer had shot a complying man in the face the previous year has been settled out of court, documents show.
The dismissal was filed in federal court on Sept. 7 by Attorney Andrew Lampros of Hall & Lampros, LLP, the legal counsel of David J. Tipton Jr., who allegedly lost his left eye in the April 2021 officer-involved shooting near 3rd Street in Erwin.
Seeley & Mayes law firm represented Erwin during the lawsuit and revealed the town’s insurance resolved the case for $275,000.
“The Town and the officer denied all liability in the matter,” the law firm stated in a news release. “The insurance company of the Town, who was responsible for defending the lawsuit, made the decision to resolve the litigation based on the cost of defense which involved numerous attorneys and possible litigation in both federal and state court.”
Tipton Jr. accused Erwin Officer Josh Ollis of pulling the trigger as Tipton Jr. followed orders to place his hands behind his back; however, the District Attorney’s office had ruled that Ollis was justified in the shooting three days after it happened on April 30, 2021.
The order to drop the lawsuit states a settlement had been reached among the parties; however, details surrounding the settlement were not included in public court documents.
Initial court documents reveal that the lawsuit was filed on April 27, 2022, and accused Ollis of violating Tipton’s Fourth and Fourteenth rights. It also alleged that the Town of Erwin failed to train its police force to follow existing gun safety and response policies.
On the other hand, then 1st Judicial District Attorney General Ken Baldwin determined Tipton had “struck the arm of the officer, causing his service weapon to discharge, striking David Jack Tipton in the facial area,” according to his statement to News Channel 11 when news of the lawsuit originally broke in April.
The Erwin Police Department on May 24, 2021, had charged Tipton with the following for the April 2021 incident: two counts of aggravated assault, attempted aggravated assault, vehicle-involved evading arrest causing risk of death or injury, felony reckless endangerment, resisting arrest, possession of drug paraphernalia and driving with a revoked license.
Tipton’s original charges stem from an incident that prompted police response when a woman reported she had been assaulted.