INDIANAPOLIS — United States Attorney, Josh J. Minkler, announced on Friday that the federal review into the fatal shooting of Indianapolis resident, Aaron Bailey, has closed due to insufficient evidence.
Bailey was shot by officers with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department after a chase on the city's west side on June 29, 2017. According to police, Bailey, the driver, fled from a traffic stop and led police on a brief chase around 1:45 a.m., that ended with a car crash into a tree near the intersection of 23rd Street and Aqueduct Street.
The 45-year-old was shot and killed by IMPD Officers Michael Dinnsen and Carlton Howard.
According to IMPD Chief Brian Roach, two officers fired "multiple" rounds at the vehicle, hitting Bailey. He was taken to Eskenazi Hospital where he later died.
Federal authorities conducted an independent review of all evidence gathered during the investigation by IMPD, state special prosecutor, the proceedings before the Indianapolis Civilian Police Merit Board and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Based on the review, federal prosecutors determined that the evidence was insufficient to prove any violation of the applicable federal criminal civil rights statute. Under this statute, the government would have to prove that one or both of the officers involved in the shooting deprived Bailey of a constitutionally protected right, and that the officer did so willfully.
U.S. Attorney Mnkler provided the following explanation in a statement:
"To prove the constitutional violation, the government would have to show that the officer used force that was objectively unreasonable based on all of the surrounding circumstances. Moreover, the law requires that this determination allow for the fact that law enforcement officers are often forced to make split-second judgments in circumstances that are tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving, and also requires that an officer’s force be judged without the benefit and added perspective of hindsight.
To prove that an officer-involved shooting violated 18 U.S.C. § 242, the government also would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the officer acted willfully, meaning that the officer knew that his actions were unlawful and he acted with the specific intent to do something the law forbids. Even negligence, mistake, and bad judgment are insufficient to establish a criminal violation."