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Arrest of woman caught on video during Indianapolis protests under internal investigation

Police seen repeatedly striking woman with batons
Posted at 3:56 PM, Jun 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-05 18:17:40-04

INDIANAPOLIS — An internal investigation is underway into the arrest of two women that was captured on video during a protest in Indianapolis on Sunday.

Video of the arrest, which has been viewed millions of times, shows Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officers repressing a black woman with batons and pepper bullets. In the video, another woman is also seen being pushed to the ground by officers before she was apprehended.

The arrest happened near East Washington and South Pennsylvania streets as the curfew went into effect.

The video has been shared thousands of times, including by Shaun King of Grassroots Law Thursday on Instagram. Citizens have expressed their frustration over the video and have called for city and IMPD leaders to address it.

The officers involved in the incident had been reassigned to a support position with the internal investigation is underway, Aliya Wishner, Chief Communications Officer for the City of Indianapolis said in an email Thursday night.

IMPD Chief Randal Taylor said an internal investigation was launched into the incident.

"While I don't have enough information yet to make a determination on any disciplinary action, I can tell you this type of incident is exactly the type of incident that the new use of force review board we are creating is aimed at reviewing," Taylor said during a press conference Monday.

The names of the officers seen in the video have not been released.

RTV6 has identified one of the women in the video as 38-year-old Rachel Harding.

Harding is heard in the video saying "Why her? Why her?" before IMPD officers are seen pushing her to the ground.

In an interview with RTV6, Harding said she received concrete burns on the side of her face and her elbows were bruised from the incident.

"My biggest concern was my friend, she was met with a ridiculous amount of force," Harding said.

On Friday, during a press conference, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett announced significant changes to IMPD's use of force policy, which includes updating the department's standard for using deadly force.

During the press conference, Hogsett said he thinks no one should be able to watch the video and "not be moved to emotion." He said anytime force is deployed by an officer, it is a reminder of the work still needed to do to bring peace to the city.

"I will admit, looking at that video, I had concerns as well and I can promise that regardless of the outcome of that investigation, we will be looking at retraining for that type of scenario," Taylor said during Friday's press conference. "I don't like what I saw, but I don't have all of the details yet either."

Harding said she has biracial children and hopes the protests matter for their future one day.

"I talk with my 11-year-old regularly about the issues that are going on right now," Harding said. "I will let her know that at the end of the day you will be considered African-American, you could be considered black and you will be met with force by police. This is something you have to be wary of for the rest of your life."