Indianapolis Officer Charged After Video Showed Him Kick Handcuffed Man In Face

INDIANAPOLIS — A police officer is facing two felony charges and has been suspended without pay after body camera video showed him kick a handcuffed man in the face.

Police say Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Sgt. Eric M. Huxley used unnecessary force while arresting a man downtown last month. Prosecutors on Tuesday charged Huxley with official misconduct and battery after they say he kicked Jermaine Vaughn, 38, in the face while helping to arrest the man on Sept. 24.

After an internal investigation, IMPD Chief Randal Taylor recommended Huxley, a 14-year police veteran, be removed from the force, law enforcement officials told reporters at a press conference Tuesday morning.

"I'm upset," Taylor said before showing video of the arrest. "It hurts me to see any of our officers treat someone the way you're going to see here. There is no excuse for it."

Huxley was one of three officers responding to a report of disorderly conduct when police said Vaughn was "being loud and disorderly," according to a probable cause affidavit in the charges filed against Huxley. Officers told Vaughn to quiet down, but he did not and was put in handcuffs, police said.

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Body camera footage released by police Tuesday shows officers ordering Vaughn to "lean back" as his hands were cuffed behind his back. When Vaughn asked "how the (expletive) am I gonna lean back," Shores pushed him up the steps on Monument Circle and took him to the ground.

As Vaughn is pinned on his back, Huxley can be seen stomping once on Vaughn's face.

"Stop. You're done. You're done. You're done," an officer said.

"Roll over," another told Vaughn. 

"I can't," Vaughn replied, before officers rolled him onto his stomach. 

The affidavit notes blood could be seen on Vaughn's mouth after he was kicked and indicates the man suffered a laceration to his lower lip.

Vaughn was charged with resisting law enforcement and disorderly conduct, but those charges were dismissed Oct. 8, according to court records.

Huxley claimed to have accidentally kicked Vaughn in the face while trying to put his foot on the man's shoulder, according to the affidavit. Police said Huxley can be heard saying this in body camera video, but this footage has not yet been released by police.

In an interview with investigators, another responding officer, Matthew Shores, questioned Huxley's actions during the arrest. 

Shores and IMPD Sgt. Christopher Kibbey, who was also at the scene, have been placed on administrative leave.

Chief Taylor on Tuesday said officials became aware of the issue on Oct. 6, after officers filed a use-of-force report. Taylor said he immediately ordered an expedited internal affairs investigation.

The department will also review all past uses of force by the three officers involved. An audit also will be done of all use of force incidents Huxley reviewed in his role as a supervisor.

Jail records show Huxley has not yet been arrested. Police said charges were recently filed and told the IndyStar, part of the USA TODAY Network, that a warrant will be issued for Huxley's arrest if he does not turn himself in.

Taylor said he understands "there's going to be some people who are upset" after watching the video of Vaughn's arrest. He said Huxley "did something outrageous" and thinks he should be fired. 

"My hope is that the community understands that when these things come to our attention, we'll deal with them quickly, get those people off the force," Taylor said.

Follow Lawrence Andrea on Twitter @lawrencegandrea.

Source : https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2021/10/13/indianapolis-officer-eric-huxley-charged-kicking-man-face/8434165002/

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