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IMPD officer disciplined for threatening to 'f*** up' suspect during arrest

IUPUI expert says no signs of excessive force
Posted at 6:58 PM, Apr 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-02 23:49:48-04

INDIANAPOLIS -- IMPD says one of its officers will face discipline for “inappropriate language” made while subduing the suspect in a dine-and-dash at the downtown Steak ‘n Shake Thursday night.  

Cellphone video captured by a bystander shows two IMPD officers attempting to subdue a man – later identified as Alex Richardson, 29 – after he allegedly left the downtown Steak ‘n Shake without paying his $12.37 tab.

A waitress at the restaurant told police that when she confronted Richardson, he hunched his shoulders and “raised his right hand while making a fist” – leading her to believe she was about to be punched.

Police located Richardson minutes later walking on Maryland Street. According to the incident report filed in the case, Richardson fled from officers and then physically resisted being arrested once they caught up with him.

In the report, IMPD Sgt. Stephen Fippen and a second officer document Richardson’s alleged refusal to lie on his stomach and to place his hands behind his back. The report notes that Fippen “utilized two knee strikes” to Richardson’s thigh to get him to comply as he told him to stop resisting.

Cellphone video of the incident recorded Fippen telling Richardson to stop resisting. It also recorded Fippen telling Richardson, “I’m going to f*** you up son,” and, “I’ll f****** break your arm, mother******.”

It’s that language that the department determined was out of line, according to a statement to RTV6 by Chief Bryan Roach:

“The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department has made tremendous strides to ensure we engage each citizen, no matter the circumstances or the behavior with a professional approach. The language depicted in the video is contrary to this approach and our core beliefs and mission relative to how we should treat members of the public during a police/citizen encounter. Today, supervisors were directed to immediately deal with the inappropriate use of language in a manner that is fair and consistent.  We will continue to emphasize treating all people with respect and dignity.”  

The video and incident report both record Richardson eventually telling officers, “I’m done! I’m done!” While being processed for arrest, Richardson reportedly told officers he had a needle in his pocket. They also discovered a knife in a pocket where Richardson had allegedly been reaching during the altercation.

RTV6 asked retired Indiana State Police trooper Jim White, a policing and public safety lecturer at IUPUI, to review the video. White, who previously served as deputy director of the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy, said he didn’t see any excessive force used in the video.

“From what I saw initially, I don’t see anything that’s out of hand,” White said. “They had the subject down, they told him not to resist, he continued to resist, and they were able to subdue him and make the apprehension. I don’t see anything that was excessive in this case whatsoever. We don’t know what happened before, but from what I have seen, there’s nothing that would indicate there was excessive use of violence.”

The officers’ report indicates no injuries were sustained by either Richardson or police.

As of Monday evening, Richardson was being held at the Marion County Jail on preliminary charges of theft, intimidation and resisting law enforcement. The case was still under review by the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office pending a final decision on charges.

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