Officer sues town, fellow officer

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 1, 2011

By Shavonne Potts
SPENCER — Longtime law enforcement officer James Schmierer, who works for the Spencer Police Department, filed a lawsuit against a fellow officer Hunter Shue and the town of Spencer alleging he was intentionally shot in the leg with a pellet gun and the police department took no action against Shue.
The civil suit was filed Friday in Rowan County and says the shooting happened March 2 while both officers were in uniform outside the Spencer Police station.
Schmierer says in his complaint he was shot multiple times from his ankle to mid-thigh. The suit does not indicate a motive for the shooting. The suit said Schmierer was shot at close range with a gun that he said looked like a full-sized, black assault rifle with a folding stock and magazine.
The pellet gun was an “automatic weapon that was shot numerous times,” the suit said.
The shooting was “willful, wanton and reckless,” the suit said.
There are no telephone listings for either Schmierer or Shue and neither could be reached for comment. Schmierer’s attorney, Seth Cohen, of Greensboro is on vacation all week and could not be reached for comment.
The Spencer Police conducted an investigation and subsequently placed a letter of reprimand in Shue’s personnel file. Shue was not “demoted, suspended or terminated from employment,” the suit said.
The town is liable to Schmierer for the actions of Shue, the court document said.
The lawsuit said the incident has caused Schmierer “pain, lost wages, past as well as current and future medical bills, emotional distress, post traumatic stress disorder, nervousness, depression, insomnia and humiliation.”
Shue “should have known” this would result in injury or harm.
In 2008, Schmierer accused the town of East Spencer, where he’d served as interim police chief, and four aldermen of racial discrimination. The town and Schmierer settled that suit nearly four months after he filed.
Shue began January 2009 as a police officer trainee with the Kannapolis Police Department and ended March 2009. The reason for separation with the Kannapolis Police Department is unclear as of Tuesday afternoon.
The suit also alleges Police Chief Michael James took no other disciplinary action against Shue.
James declined comments. He said he’s prohibited by law to speak about active cases.
“We haven’t been served yet and will have an attorney review and file a response,” said Spencer Town Manager Larry Smith.
Contact reporter Shavo-nne Potts at 704-797-4253.