Authorities suspended and charged an Indianapolis police officer with two felony charges after it was revealed through body camera video footage that he used unnecessary force during an arrest by kicking the handcuffed suspect's head.
The incident occurred when the law enforcement personnel arrested the man on Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis last month. On Tuesday, prosecutors said they charged Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Sgt. Eric M. Huxley with official misconduct and battery with moderate bodily injury.
Police 'Kicks' Handcuffed Suspect
The two charges against the police officer were both level 6 felonies and were conducted against the 38-year-old suspect identified as Jermaine Vaughn. The 14-year-old veteran was later suspended for his actions by the department without pay. Additionally, IMPD Chief Randal Taylor recommended that Huxley be removed from the force for his disgraceful acts.
During a press conference and before releasing a video of the arrest, Taylor said he was "disappointed" with Huxley's actions. The official noted that it was painful to see any of his police officers treating a person, whether they be a suspect or victim, the way Huxley treated Vaughn. Taylor said there was no excuse for how the police officer acted towards the male suspect, IndyStar reported.
The police chief expressed his sincere apologies to Vaughn for Huxley's actions and said that it was not representative of the IMPD. On the other hand, Huxley claimed that he accidentally kicked Vaughn in the face when it was captured on camera. He said that he wanted to place his foot on the suspect's shoulder to keep him on the ground.
Body camera footage showed the events leading up to the kick as Huxley was among three responding police officers that were investigating reports of disorderly conduct in the area. They later approached and arrested Vaughn on Monument Circle on Sept 24. The footage showed one of the cops detaining the suspect and forcing him to the ground. Shortly after, Huxley comes closer and seems to stomp on the suspect's face, which shocked Vaughn.
Taylor said that the other two police officers would not be facing criminal charges regarding the incident but was placed on administrative duty pending the conclusion of the investigation. The police chief said that the body camera footage was "difficult to watch" due to its violent nature, CNN reported.
Transparency of the Police Department
In the video, Vaughn was trying to tell officers that "nobody cares what you do anymore" as he was being forced to the ground. When Huxley was seen "stomping" or "kicking" Vaughn's face, he could be heard saying "you're done."
The officers involved in the incident said that Vaughn was heard "screaming from the south spoke of the monument" and ordered him to settle down. However, when the law enforcement personnel tried to place the suspect under arrest, he quickly became agitated and resisted the officers, Fox59 reported.
Taylor said that his department valued transparency and was one of the things they strived for, which is the reason why they released body camera footage. The official said that the decision was made to build a better relationship with the community.