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Muncie facing 5th excessive force lawsuit involving police

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Posted at 11:32 AM, Aug 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-18 11:32:47-04

MUNCIE — The City of Muncie is now facing at least its fifth excessive force lawsuit involving its police department.

Lonnie Gannom filed in Delaware Circuit Court on Aug. 10 against the City of Muncie and some of its officers, including Chase Winkle, Jeremy Gibson, Chase Hunter and Joseph Kresja, alleging violation of his constitutional rights.

Gannom says he was excessively beaten in the face, suffered various facial fractures, and required hospitalization as a result of extreme and unreasonable police force.

“Mr. Gannom looks forward to pursuing justice through the civil court system and holding responsible parties accountable,” said his Indianapolis attorney Robert King in a statement to WRTV Investigates.

Officers Corey Posey, Matt McConnell, and Joseph Journay are also named in the lawsuit.

At about 10 p.m. on Aug. 9, 2018, Officers Winkle, Journay, Hunter, Posey, Gibson, McConnell and Kresja were called to investigate Gannom, who was allegedly under the influence of intoxicants and causing disruption in the vicinity of 619 W. Adams St. in Delaware County, Indiana, according to the lawsuit.

Posey allegedly asked Gannom to put his hands on his head, but Posey said Gannom was non-compliant and would not put his hands precisely on his head, but would only put them on his side.

Gannom alleges a scuffle involving a group of officers then ensued, which resulted in Gannom being excessively beaten in the face, sustaining numerous facial fractures and requiring hospitalization, according to the lawsuit.

WRTV Investigates has reached out to attorneys for the officers, as well as the current Muncie Police Chief Nathan Sloan seeking a statement on Gannom’s lawsuit.

Winkle, Gibson and Krejsa were federally indicted by grand jury in March on excessive force charges, and the criminal case is still pending.

Winkle allegedly used unnecessary knee strikes on Gannom’s head and neck and unnecessarily tased Gannom, according to the lawsuit filed Aug. 10.

Kresja allegedly lied about the level of force applied to Gannom to cover-up for Gibson, Winkle and Journay, court documents show.

Gibson used unnecessary knee strikes and foot stomps on Gannom’s head, records show.

The City of Muncie has declined WRTV’s requests to see body camera footage related to the Gannom incident, claiming they are “investigatory records.”

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In addition to Gannom’s lawsuit, Joshua Douglas and Dewayne Emberton have also filed excessive force lawsuits against the City of Muncie in Delaware County.

Danny Terry and Jessie Vernon have both filed lawsuits in federal court.

Winkle is named in at least four of the lawsuits. All four lawsuits are still pending.

PREVIOUS | Delaware County man files excessive force lawsuit

Police Chief Joe Winkle stepped down at the end of 2019 amid the federal investigation into the department.

Some of the officers named in Gannom’s lawsuit were placed on administrative leave amid the criminal case, and WRTV is working to confirm their current employment status with the department.

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