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IMPD officer sentenced to probation in Shortridge High School incident

Judge vacated 2 convictions
Shortridge Incident.JPG
Posted at 2:38 PM, Jan 31, 2022

INDIANAPOLIS — An Indianapolis police officer who was caught on video apparently punching a student outside of Shortridge High School was sentenced to nearly a year of probation on Monday.

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Officer Robert Lawson was charged in 2019 after prosecutors said he gave false statements in a sworn affidavit signed under oath and falsely reported an observation of another officer.

He was found guilty in November of official misconduct, perjury and false informing, according to court records. Court records also show jurors acquitted him of battery and were unable to reach a verdict on an obstruction of justice charge.

On Monday, Marion Superior Court Judge Charnette Garner vacated his convictions of perjury and false informing, according to the court records.

WRTV left a message by phone for Garner and are waiting for a response.

She sentenced him to 363 days of probation on the official misconduct conviction, according to court records.

Michael Leffler, a spokesman for the Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears, declined to comment Monday.

In a statement following the November conviction, Mears called the incident "unfortunate" and said it "required immediate attention and action."

"Incidents such as this further damage the trust we are working to rebuild between law enforcement and the community,” Mears said in November. “By holding this officer accountable, I hope this sends a clear and strong message to the community that this type of behavior is unacceptable.”

Video of the altercation, which circulated on social media in the days following the incident, appears to show Lawson striking a student.

IMPD has recommended the civilian police merit board terminate Lawson.

On Monday morning, IMPD said Lawson is still suspended without pay pending the termination recommendation.

"The IMPD legal advisor position is currently vacant," Lt. Shane Foley said in an email to WRTV. "The merit board hearing will be scheduled after that vacancy is filled."