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IMPD officer facing termination for alleged 'use of force' during arrest, body cam video released

IMPD officer injured in crash
Posted at 11:49 AM, Mar 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-28 19:38:00-04

INDIANAPOLIS — An Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officer is facing multiple charges and termination after a use of force investigation following an arrest last month.

Travis Lewis is charged with official misconduct and two counts of battery with bodily injury.

"We are going to be transparent. We hold officers to high standard and when they step out of bounds, we're gonna hold them accountable," IMPD Chief Randal Taylor said.

On Feb. 10, 2022, Lewis and other IMPD officers responded to a reported burglary in progress in the 8200 block of E. 21st St.

Arriving officers determined there was no burglary at the location, but that a protective order had been filed against one of the people located at the scene. That man was handcuffed by officers and placed under arrest. Body cam footage released by IMPD showed multiple officers were required to attempt to get the man into the cruiser so he could be transported to jail.

Following the arrest, one of the officers involved filed a formal complaint against Lewis, saying he had used force that was "unnecessary and excessive" during the arrest.

"This incident [investigation] and previous incidents have occurred because we found them out. They didn't come because of a complaint from a citizen; these truly had to do with our checks and balances," Taylor said.

According to the probable cause affidavit filed by the Marion County Prosecutor's Office, the complainant claimed that Lewis forcefully threw the man, who was handcuffed behind his back, to the asphalt outside of a cruiser. The other officer also alleged that Lewis had his hands in the area of the arrestee's genitals when the man started complaining of pain.

Body cam video from the arrest also appears to show Lewis grab the suspect's genitals and twist them at least twice while attempting to get the suspect into the cruiser.

The following was recorded in the probable cause affidavit:

"This complaint stated that upon review of this officer’s body-worn camera (BWC) footage of the incident, he/she observed “…Officer Lewis reach towards [the arrestee's] private area and then twist his hand. [The arrestee] immediately started screaming. A couple of minutes after on the video, [the arrestee] made the statement ‘my balls.’”

According to the Marion County Prosecutor's Office, the protective order against the suspect was showing as active and valid at the time of the incident. However, it should have been taken out of the system when the original case associated with the order was dismissed.

IMPD tells WRTV that system is controlled by the courts, not by the police department.

"When that internal investigation is complete, I'm sure it's going to have something to do with the system and what needs to be done to make sure those things don't happen again," Taylor said.

Lewis has been suspended without pay pending a recommendation of termination to the IMPD Civilian Police Merit Board.

Lewis has been with the police department for three years and is currently assigned to the East District late shift.

“It never feels good to learn that one of our own has been charged with a crime. But I promised our community transparency and that will continue to be a top priority for the department today and in the future,” said Chief Taylor.

IMPD says the internal investigation into this incident is not yet complete.

"Let's be clear — the majority of our officers do a great job day in and day out. But when when one steps out of line, then they can expect for us to deal with it," Taylor said.

You can watch the YouTube video containing body cam video which shows a portion of the incident below.