Federal suit says Lexington officials let handcuffed shooting victim die

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The father of a man shot to death in in August 2016 in Harlan County has filed a federal wrongful death lawsuit.

Ali Sawaf is suing the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government along with several individuals involved in the fatal shooting.

Mark Sawaf was arrested in June 2016 for allegedly placing explosive devices in trail cameras and hiding them in the woods in Harlan County. One of the explosives injured at least one person.

On the day he was killed, Sawaf was leading investigators to other explosives in a wooded part of Harlan County. A judge approved the deal. Speaking to WKYT days after the death of his son, Ali Sawaf said Sawaf was upbeat.

"He told his lawyer he was relieved. He cried that luckily nobody else was injured and he wanted to help other people stay safe by cooperating with the authorities on his own."

Sawaf was handcuffed an accompanied by an ATF agent, along with Captain Brad Dobrzynksi of the Lexington Fire Department, and Lieutenant Matt Greathouse, with the Lexington Police Department.

A report released by Kentucky State Police says during the search, Sawaf tried to escape. Dobrzynksi and Greathouse apprehended him, and a struggle ensued. Sawaf was eventually shot once in the back of the head.

In the federal lawsuit filed Monday, Harlan County attorney Doug Asher claims Sawaf was left to die and that the investigators did not do enough to try and save his life.

The suit goes on to say that 20 minutes after the shooting, a medic arrived and observed Sawaf was still breathing. "This would have been obvious to any casual onlooker," Asher wrote in the lawsuit. He was pronounced dead 55 minutes later.

Instead, the suit alleges Dobrzynksi took several photos of Greathouse striking different poses with Sawaf's body.

Dobrzynksi told KSP Sawaf lunged at Greathouse and grabbed the officer's holstered gun. Greathouse said he feared for his life.

Last year, a Fayette County grand jury declined to indict any of the individuals involved.

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