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Man paralyzed after officer-involved shooting in April files lawsuit

WPDE file image of the home where the officer-involved shooting took place in April of 2015.

A man left paralyzed after an officer-involved shooting in April in Myrtle Beach has filed a federal lawsuit against Bill Knowles with the 15th Circuit Drug Enforcement Unit (DEU) Task Force, Horry County Solicitor Jimmy Richardson and five other men, according to court records.

The other men are Dean Bishop, Deputy Commander of the DEU; Chad Guess, an officer with the Coastal Carolina University Department of Public Safety and assigned to the DEU; Frank Waddell, an officer with the Coastal Carolina University Department of Public Safety and assigned to the DEU; Chris Dennis, an officer with the Horry County Sheriff's office and assigned to the DEU; and David Belue, an officer with the Myrtle Beach Police Department and assigned to the DEU, according to court documents.

According to court documents, Julian Ray Betton, 30, was inside his home on Withers Swash Drive when the DEU served a search and arrest warrant on him. Betton was shot by police during the serving of the warrants.

Betton was facing two charges of distribution of marijuana and one charge of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute in connection with the raid.

The officers involved were not charged in connection with the case, according to Kevin Brackett, who examined the case at the request of the S.C. Attorney General's Office.

In court documents, Betton says that at least 20 heavily armed agents were there to serve the search warrant and that they were not wearing visible insignia identifying them as law enforcement officers. They stormed Betton's home, ramming down his unlocked front door and entered without knocking or announcing themselves, according to court documents.

Related- Solicitor responds to witness account of officer involved shooting

Court documents say that Betton was emerging from the bathroom when the agents broke down his door. When Betton saw the three unidentified men carrying assault rifles in his living room he didn't know who they were. The officers opened fire only seconds after they entered the apartment and shot at least 57 bullets, nine of which hit Betton, according to court documents.

Betton was in a coma for six weeks and he was left permanently paralyzed from the waist down because of his injuries, according to court documents.

Court documents say that after the shooting, the defendants tried to cover up their misconduct and falsely claimed they entered his apartment after knocking and that Betton shot at them first.

Betton is citing unlawful entry, excessive force, assault, battery, trespassing, defamation and civil conspiracy against the defendants, according to court documents.

He is asking for compensatory, punitive and special damages and attorney fees to be determined at trial.

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