Lawsuit filed in Sawaf matter

Ali Sawaf, the father Mark Sawaf, who was killed in a shooting incident in August of 2016, has filed suit for wrongful death against the Lexington Fayette Urban County Government.

Mark Sawaf was arrested by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives following a search of a residence on June 21. Harlan City Police assisted the ATF at the scene. Mark Sawaf was killed during an altercation with law enforcement on Aug. 11, 2016.

According to a press release issued by Kentucky State Police Public Affairs Officer Shane Jacobs shortly after the shooting incident, Mark Sawaf was pronounced dead from a gunshot wound.

Jacobs said personnel from KSP Hazardous Devices, KSP Post 10, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the Lexington City Police Department Hazardous Devices Unit and the Lexington City Fire Department Arson Investigation Unit were in Harlan doing a follow up investigation involving explosives found in Harlan earlier that year. As a result of an ongoing investigation and safety concerns for the public, the ATF, KSP Hazardous Devices Unit, and KSP Post 10 transported Mark Sawaf back to Harlan County to aid in locating remaining improvised explosive devices. It was determined more of these devices had been deployed in wooded areas by Mark Sawaf. Due to such a large-scale operation, the ATF requested the assistance of the Lexington Police Department Hazardous Devices Unit, Lexington Fire Department-Fire Investigation Unit, and KSP Hazardous Devices Unit. During the operation, Sawaf attempted to flee custody at which time an altercation occurred with Mark Sawaf and members of the ATF (Special Agent Todd Tremaine), Lexington Police Department Hazardous Devices Unit (Lt. Matt Greathouse), and Lexington Fire Department- Fire Investigator Unit (Capt. Brad Dobrzynski).

“As a result of the altercation, Dobrzynski utilized deadly force by firing his weapon,” Jacobs said.

According to the 27-page complaint filed by Ali Sawaf through his attorney Douglas E. Asher II, Dobrzynski shot Mark Sawaf in the back of the head from a distance of 4 to 5 feet while he was handcuffed and chained. Dobrzynski had worked approximately 32.5 of the last 35.5 hours when the incident occurred.

The complaint also states Dobrzynski, Greathouse and Clayton Roberts, also of the Lexington Police Department, did not render aid to Mark Sawaf for approximately 20 minutes as he “clung to life and struggled to breath.” An ATF medic arrived on the scene at approximately 7:05 p.m. and began “performing life-saving efforts.”

The complaint further states Dobrzynski took photos of the scene immediately after the shooting, and later “deliberately concealed the fact he had taken photos” before turning them over to Kentucky State Police investigators.

The complaint asks for judgment in favor of Ali Sawaf in an amount determined to be fair and reasonable. The complaint asks for compensation for punitive damages, compensatory damages, attorney fees and other elements of damage.

The complaint was filed in U.S. District Court on Tuesday.