MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The attorney for Julian Betton, the man who was left paralyzed after he was shot 9 times by Drug Enforcement Unit officers, is firing back at the city of Myrtle Beach.
The city has argued that it was not responsible for the alleged unconstitutional customs and policies that led to Betton's injuries. Those documents were filed July 12 and detail what Betton says happened, including agents firing 29 shots at Betton seconds after entering his home, hitting him nine times and paralyzing him for life. Back in June, the city filed its objection to a judge's recommendation to find the city liable for the DEU's alleged pattern and policy of not knocking and announcing its presence before entering a home.
City officials want the court to rule that it can not properly be held liable for the "policies of an independent multi-jurisdictional task force to which it has transferred its officers." The documents filed five days ago on behalf of Betton respond to that though, saying not only did the city give its officers and its authority over to DEU, but that the city's chief of police was responsible for voting to enact grossly deficient policies, and not correcting those policies or disciplining its officers after the incident. It goes on to say that while the Myrtle Beach Police Department officers were transferred to the Drug Enforcement Unit, they were still employed by the city.
Another part of the court documents filed last week was a response to defendant David BeLue's claims that he should not be held liable. Betton's attorney, however, says he should be held responsible for his own individual violation of the knock and announce requirement and for his team's violation of that same rule. Belue was the first officer up to Betton's door when the raid happened; Betton's attorney also claims Belue used excessive force.
Despite the officers initially telling authorities that Betton fired first, a South Carolina Law Enforcement Division investigation revealed Betton never pulled the trigger.