Lenoir City to pay ‘six figures’ to family of man killed by officer
Travis Dorman knoxnews.com
Lenoir City will pay out "six figures" to stave off the threat of a lawsuit from the family of a man killed by a police officer in March, an attorney said Wednesday.
The city reached the agreement Monday with the family of Joshua William Grubb of Clinton, said T. Scott Jones, the family's attorney. He wouldn't give a specific amount.
"We were pleased with the resolution," Jones said. "Obviously, we were incredibly chagrined that the young man lost his life, and there is no amount of money to compensate his mother and his family for the loss."
A Loudon County grand jury in April ruled out any charges against Lenoir City Police Department Officer Tyrel Lorenz in the case. Lorenz later resigned.
On March 13, Lorenz responded to a report of a drunk driver at Bimbo's, a convenience store on U.S. Highway 321. He was in the process of arresting a passenger in Grubb's pickup for public intoxication when Grubb, 30, began to drive off, and the 6-foot, 8-inch tall Lorenz either fell or leapt into the bed of the truck, authorities have said. Lorenz's body camera captured the incident on video.
That video and security footage from a store camera showed Lorenz shouted twice for Grubb to stop the vehicle before shooting at him nine times through the back window, approximately six seconds after entering the truck bed. The mortally wounded Grubb crossed the U.S. 321 median and traveled nearly a mile in the wrong direction before crashing into a utility pole.
An autopsy later showed Grubb was under the influence of alcohol and drugs that included methamphetamine, morphine and Valium at the time of the shooting. Lorenz shot Grubb in the back, in the head, three times in the right arm and shoulder, and once in the left shoulder and forearm, the autopsy found.
Grand jurors ruled in April that Lorenz shot Grubb in "an attempt to stop Grubb as Lorenz was in fear for his life and the safety of others on Highway 321." Lorenz, who was placed on paid administrative leave after the shooting, was put back on the street on April 14. He resigned on May 25.
Jones said the Grubb family disputed the grand jury's findings. He said he drafted a complaint that argued Lorenz's "cowboy cop position" and "lack of training" led to Grubb's death and presented it to city officials.
"We recognize that a lot of folks would have said if it weren't for Joshua Grubb beginning to drive off, it wouldn't have happened," Jones said. "But committing what amounts to a misdemeanor does not put you in a position where a law enforcement officer is allowed to take your life. ... He basically appointed himself judge, jury and executioner."
Lenoir City Assistant Administrator Amber Scott confirmed the negotiations took place but said the final documents weren't available on the payout Wednesday.
"I'll let the paperwork speak for itself," she said.
Lenoir City Police Chief Don White didn't immediately return a call Wednesday.