A lawyer for a man who was left blind after getting into a confrontation with two gas station security guards is claiming that his client should not face felony charges for his actions in the incident.
The attorney told local reporters authorities should look to file charges against the guard who shot his client.
On Aug. 9, David Lowe stood before a judge in a Cleveland Municipal Court to address felony assault charges he incurred on July 28 at a gas station, according to Cleveland.com.
The driver was shot by a security guard who claimed Lowe tried to run him over.
Witnesses told police Lowe, who is white, came into the gas station acting aggressively and called the licensed guards on duty derogatory names. He also allegedly used a racial slur, prompting the guard to ask him to leave the property.
When Lowe was told that he had to leave, he “shoulder-checked” one of the guards before getting into his Dodge Challenger, witnesses claimed. Bystanders told police that it looked as if he was reaching for something inside his car — a gesture the two guards cited to police as a reason the encounter escalated.
One guard stood beside the vehicle, while the other positioned himself in front of the car, according to the police report.
Both shouted at Lowe to stop reaching for something, witnesses told police. The guards and the witnesses reported they believed Lowe might have a weapon at that moment. However, subsequent investigation revealed they were wrong.
Ignoring the security guard’s order, the 33-year-old continued to reach for something and accelerated the vehicle forward, the guards said. The guard in front leaped to the side to avoid being hit.
That guard, who is affiliated with Patrol Services International of Ohio, sidestepped the car and fired two shots into the side window of Lowe’s vehicle.
The car continued to go forward and hit a pole as he tried to escape, according to police.
Lowe sustained an eye injury, and shrapnel pieces hit his arm. He also hurt his nose, but they are unsure when that injury happened. Lowe received medical care at Fairview Hospital after the crash.
During questioning, he boastfully admitted that he had been drinking before he got in the car, police reported.
The police report said an additional two other guards, a gas station worker, and a patron said they believe the motorist deliberately tried to hit the guard, with the employee saying he was “no doubt Lowe was trying to run (the officer) over.”
Lowe’s attorney, Justin Weatherly, told The Plain Dealer newspaper that his client should be cleared of charges since the security guards did not have the authority to issue a command to the motorist.
The attorney stated that the guard’s role was safeguarding the business, not trailing a customer to their vehicle. Weatherly implied the guard acted like a police officer, throwing out commands and “pinning” him in.
“His job is to de-escalate,” the attorney said.
He also noted that his client was not armed and that the authorities should be looking at the guard as the person with criminal liability in this case.
“My question is, Why isn’t the security officer being charged with attempted murder for shooting my client in [the] face?” Weatherly said.
Police have not commented on whether criminal charges will be filed against the security guard.