GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A lawsuit has been filed against a Department of Natural Resources conservation officer who shot and injured a man at a campground near Evart in Mecosta County last month.
The complaint was filed Monday on behalf of Brandon Davis, who claims the DNR officer shot him after a fight where Davis said he was defending himself.
The DNR previously said the officer was off-duty and camping with his family at the time.
The fight started May 13 at Merrill-Gorrel County Park in Barryton, when the complaint claims the DNR officer’s father grabbed and pushed Davis. Davis then “employed defensive tactics.” That’s when the DNR officer got involved and shot Davis, according to the lawsuit.
Davis’ attorneys say he was walking away when the officer shot him.
“He’s been in the hospital several times, he’s had multiple surgeries, he was unarmed, he was walking away at the time, there was virtually no reason whatsoever for this use of deadly force,” said Davis’ attorney, Brian Dailey.
The lawsuit claims the officer used “completely unreasonable force” which caused Davis physical and mental injuries like losing a kidney, permanent intestinal and spinal injuries, a colostomy bag and loss of freedom. It also claims the shooting caused him medical expenses and distress.
Several witnesses heard the officer announce that he was a Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officer before shooting Davis, the suit alleges.
One witness told News 8 she heard the officer identify himself as DNR and then heard three shots. She called 911 and administered first aid to Davis.
The lawsuit seeks $250 million as well as costs and fees.
“Not only does my client want to see to it that he is compensated properly for what he’s lost, but he has a particular affinity for the idea that Michigan has built up its parks and its recreation to the outside world. And he wants to make sure that he preserves the integrity of that effort that we’ve spent, as taxpayers, hundreds of millions of dollars on the Pure Michigan campaign, to make sure that people feel comfortable coming to their state parks and their county parks,” said Dailey.
The DNR officer was placed on administrative leave until the investigation, which is being handled by Michigan State Police, is complete. That is standard procedure for shootings involving officers.