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Limestone man seeks $7.5 million in SWAT shooting

By Holly Hollman 340-2445

MADISON — Two review boards may have cleared SWAT officers who shot a 50-year-old Limestone County man, but that man now is seeking financial compensation.

Kenneth Wayne Jamar has filed a claim for $7.5 million against the city of Huntsville, Jamar's attorney, Mark McDaniel, told The Huntsville Times.

Huntsville SWAT officers shot Jamar on June 27 during a drug raid. The raid was part of a multi-jurisdictional operation aimed at bringing down a Decatur drug ring that allegedly included Jamar's nephew, Jerome Wallace.

Jamar lives at 13389 Honey Way off U.S. 72 in Madison-annexed Limestone County. The Daily uncovered after the shooting that the task force's search warrant did not list Jamar's address. The address on the warrant, 13355 Honey Way, is where Wallace lives with his father.

Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely, whose department investigated the shooting, said during the investigation that the warrant had a clerical mistake but included an aerial photo that marked Jamar's home.

Huntsville's police shooting review board cleared the four officers involved in the shooting. The board said police announced their presence and identified themselves before entering Jamar's house.

Police spokesman Wendell Johnson said after the ruling that inside the home, police broke down a locked door and found Jamar standing in the room, pointing a handgun at four SWAT officers.

"Police gave him several commands to 'drop the weapon, drop the weapon,' and when he didn't do so, that's when they used deadly force," Johnson said. "They weren't after this guy. If he had not done what he did, he wouldn't have been shot."

Limestone District Attorney Kristi Valls said her shooting review board also cleared the officers. The Limestone County Sheriff's Department investigated the shooting because the department was not involved in the task force.

"The board recommended not going to the grand jury, and after reviewing the Sheriff's Department report, I decided not to present the case to a grand jury," Valls said.

Jamar's legal team said the officers fired 16 times, hitting Jamar five times in the hip, foot and groin. McDaniel said Jamar, who already had health problems, was unarmed and asleep in bed when the SWAT team entered his home.

Blakely, however, said during his department's investigation that Jamar told one of his investigators that he picked up a gun when officers entered.

Blakely said investigators confiscated three guns at Jamar's home.

After the shooting, Wallace was unaware the raid concerned him and talked to a Daily reporter about his uncle. It wasn't until Blakely told task force members that Wallace was talking to the media that officers took him into custody.

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