Gunshot victim files lawsuit

Published 7:42 am Wednesday, August 15, 2007

By By Adam Prestridge
An Atmore man shot by an Escambia County sheriff's deputy filed a $10 million lawsuit last week claiming his state and federal constitutional rights were violated.
Escambia County transportation officer Jimmy Payne shot DayShawn Dixon, 21, in the neck on June 12, while attempting to serve an order to commit Dixon's brother, 19-year-old Derrick Dixon. Payne is now facing a lawsuit along with fellow sheriff's deputy Bruce Shue, Escambia County sheriff Grover Smith and Attorney General Troy King.
According to a notice of claim prepared by Daniel M. Soloway of Soloway Law Firm in Pensacola and later served upon the four parties named in the claim, DayShawn Dixon "intends to bring his claim for serious injury that resulted from the negligent or alternatively intentional, willful and wanton conduct on the part of the Escambia County Sheriff's Office, its agents, employees and assigns."
The claim continues by stating that Dixon's Alabama state law and state and federal constitutional rights were violated "specifically" by the Escambia County Sheriff's Office, its agents, employees and assigns.
DayShawn Dixon was critically injured during the shooting and was transported to Atmore Community Hospital. LifeFlight later transported him to Baptist Hospital in Pensacola, where he recovered.
A few days following the shooting, Smith described what his deputies said occurred. He said deputies Shue and Payne went to the Dixon home located on Fourth Street to serve a civil court order that had been signed in Escambia County Probate Court by the man's mother. Smith said DayShawn Dixon became involved in the altercation and threatened officers with a screwdriver. Officers ordered Dixon to stand down, but he refused. That's when Payne shot the oldest brother.
"The officer's statement to me was that they used what they thought was very minimum force, which they believed was necessary to protect their own lives," Smith said in an interview in late June. "We're going to keep an open mind and wait on the ABI to complete their investigation. We want to know all the facts and we are confident that the ABI will do a thorough job."
In the claim, it reads that the "Escambia County Sheriff's Office, its agents, employees and assigns intentionally and unlawfully fabricated a report that DayShawn Dante Dixon had a 'weapon' (screwdriver) and that DayShawn Dante Dixon ignored commands to drop said weapon, and otherwise allegedly committed or attempted to commit an assault upon officers employed by said office."
The claim also states that the shooting caused "serious and permanent injury to DayShawn Dante Dixon requiring hospitalization, surgical intervention and other substantial medical care."
The Dixon family disagrees with the sheriff's office, stating that the deputies did not follow proper protocol.
"He got out of the car, pulled his gun and then 'Bam,'" said the victim's grandfather, Willie Dixon. "He didn't tell him to get back or whatever. He shot him in the neck."
Willie Dixon said the officer had to have been 10-12 feet away when he fired his gun and believes excessive force was used on his grandson.
"You are shooting to kill when you shoot up here," the brothers' grandfather, Willie Dixon, said. "You are supposed to shoot down when you are trying to stop somebody."
At the scene of the shooting, family members said both brothers are mentally unstable and that officers had come to take Derrick Dixon back to Searcy Hospital in Mount Vernon. Family members did not specify what those problems were.
Soloway and Smith were not available for comment prior to press time.

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