Hardin County Sheriff, former Deputy sued by man shot in face during traffic stop

Hardin County Sheriff, former Deputy sued by man shot in face during traffic stop
(Source: Raycom Media)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A man shot several times by a Hardin County Deputy during a traffic stop last year has filed a federal lawsuit.

Michael Williams is suing Hardin County Sheriff John Ward and former Deputy Clennon Smith.

Williams was not armed when he was shot in February.

The lawsuit claims Williams was shot during a routine traffic stop in Elizabethtown, and that at the time of the shooting, he was seated in his stopped vehicle, unarmed, with his seat belt in place.

There were no weapons inside his vehicle, the lawsuit says.

According to the lawsuit, Williams, who was suspected of reckless driving, was sitting in his stopped car when Deputy Smith fired a “warning shot” at the stopped vehicle, shouting at Williams to raise his hands.

After firing the “warning shot”, Deputy Smith allegedly ran towards Williams' car and attempted to open the door.

Williams' hands were raised, but the door was locked, so Williams lowered his hands, the lawsuit says.

Smith then open fired on Williams through the car window, shooting him multiple times in the face and legs.

Williams is now permanently disfigured.

The lawsuit claims the sheriff never should have hired Deputy Smith because of several previous incidents of excessive force, with reports dating back to 2015.

Smith resigned from the sheriff’s office last fall.

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