Crime

Cop accused of excessive force in shooting, paralyzing a man to appeal federal ruling

One of the DEU agents who shot at Julian Betton, leaving him a paraplegic, plans to appeal a federal judge’s ruling that allows a civil suit alleging excessive force to continue.

DEU officer David Belue filed a notice in federal court to appeal Judge Marvin Quattlebaum’s August ruling. That ruling followed a recommendation by a magistrate judge. Belue’s appeal could be considered by the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals based in Richmond, Virginia.

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Quattlebaum’s ruling allowed a civil case alleging excessive force violations by Belue to move forward. Though, it will be up to a federal jury to decide the validity of the claims.

Betton filed the federal suit after he was shot nine times by agents with the 15th Circuit Drug Enforcement Unit in 2015 during a drug raid. DEU agents fired nearly 30 shots and left Betton as a paraplegic.

Betton had surveillance equipment on the front porch that showed officers rushing up and using a battering ram to enter the apartment. There is no audio in the video, but officers do not appear to knock and announce their presence before waiting and entering.

He filed a civil suit against Myrtle Beach and several members of the DEU. Earlier this year some of the individual defendants settled with Betton for $2.75 million. Belue and the city are the only remaining defendants.

Both the city and Belue sought rulings in their favor for the civil case. But, Quattlebaum rejected most of those efforts. The city contended it had no operational control over the DEU, as the agency is the efforts of a dozen law enforcement groups. Quattlebaum ruled a jury could decide the city knew about the DEU’s apparent no-knock practice on search warrants.

The judge also rejected claims that Belue should not face excessive force allegations. Belue was the first officer at Betton’s door and argued officers believed that Betton was a fugitive from Ohio. The officer also contends that Betton openly displayed and had easy access to guns and drew a weapon in the officers’ presence.

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