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Columbus police officer accused of punching handcuffed suspect arrested

Posted at 11:17 AM, Jan 12, 2021

COLUMBUS — A Columbus Police Department officer faces two felony charges months after he allegedly punched a suspect who was handcuffed inside a police vehicle.

Officer John Velten, a 14-year veteran with the department, was arrested Tuesday after he turned himself in at the Bartholomew County Jail. He is charged with felony battery and official misconduct charges, according to Indiana State Police.

On June 16, 2020, Velten arrested a man after he responded to a fight on Indiana Avenue in Columbus. State police said the suspect began hitting his head against the interior of the police vehicle while he was handcuffed in the backseat.

"As a response, Officer Velten struck the suspect with his fist while the suspect was still handcuffed inside of the vehicle. Officer Velten’s actions caused moderate injuries to the suspect," a release from Indiana State Police said.

The case was turned over to a special prosecutor following an investigation by ISP.

According to the Columbus Police Department, Velten has remained employed with the City of Columbus in a non-law enforcement position since the investigation began. Columbus police will release additional information about Velten's employment status with the city, ISP said.