Bryant Heyward has some semblance of justice after settling a lawsuit against the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office as a result of getting shot in his own home by a cop who confused him for a robber.
In 2015, Heyward called the police after armed burglars broke into his home. But in the mix-up, Heyward was shot by a cop and ended up paralyzed from the neck down. He initially filed a $25 million lawsuit but settled for $750,000, his attorney told ABC News on Sunday.
“This case was very complicated. Bryant was a completely innocent guy and everything that could have went wrong did go wrong,” his attorney, Justin Bamberg, said.
“With no footage of the shooting, certain factual disputes created a proverbial he-said, he-said situation. However, nothing changes the fact that Bryant was an innocent homeowner shot in a tragic turn of events.”
“His life changed forever, but he’s one of the fortunate ones who survived one of these bad encounters with law enforcement,” he added.
Heyward who lives in Hollywood, South Carolina, reportedly was holding a gun when Charleston County Sheriffs saw him, which was the catalyst that caused confusion. Heyward reported to 911 dispatchers that two robbers had guns and were “banging at the window” trying to break in.
But by the time the Sheriff’s deputies arrived, the burglars were long gone, and Heyward was the one reportedly holding a weapon.
Heyward was shot and his injuries not only left him paralyzed but in need of medical care for life. His attorney explained that his client is unable to wash his own body or feed himself without assistance. He is also emotionally spent, his attorney said.
“I’ve had a few cases in my career that emotionally put me through the wringer and this is one of them,” Bamberg said. “It hurts to have a young man who is in his late 20s tell you they would rather be dead because he can’t move anything below his neck.”
“Over time, his spirit revitalized and his spirit was rebuilt. Now he says, ‘I’m a survivor, I can beat this.’ He learned how to use this chair and he realized that he’s blessed because he still gets to talk to his loved ones and visit his friends,” he said.
The settlement agreement reportedly happened back in May but Heyward told his attorney to keep details private to protect him. He wants his story now to encourage others.
“We didn’t say anything; we were mindful that what kick-started this whole thing was foolish people trying to break in to steal from him,” Bamberg said. “We didn’t want to put out how much money he got just in case someone tried to target his house again.”