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Indianapolis police sergeant indicted on federal charge in excessive force case

Posted at 10:24 AM, Oct 19, 2022

INDIANAPOLIS — A federal grand jury has indicted an Indianapolis police sergeant on allegations he violated a man's civil rights by using excessive force during a September 2021 arrest.

The indictment alleges that Sgt. Eric Huxley, 44, kicked the man in the head and face "without lawful justification", causing bodily injury to that person, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Indiana.

It also alleges that the offense "involved the use of a dangerous weapon."

Huxley is charged with one count of deprivation of rights under color of law. That's in addition to the charges of official misconduct and battery resulting in moderate bodily injury filed in Marion Superior Court.

As of Wednesday, Huxley was still suspended without pay pending a recommendation of termination to the IMPD Civilian Police Merit Board, according to a statement from IMPD.

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“This incident was unnecessary and should have never occurred. I would not tolerate this behavior from any community member; Sergeant Huxley is no exception. As law enforcement officers, we must understand that this behavior violates the community's trust. We have confidence the judicial system will bring justice to (the victim) and his family," IMPD Chief Randall Taylor said in a written statement.

The encounter happened on Sept. 24, 2021, when the man told a detective he was "practicing his First Amendment right to free speech" and wasn't talking to anyone in particular on Monument Circle when an IMPD officer approached him, according to a probable cause affidavit.

He told the detective the officer was inside his vehicle and they spoke peacefully, according to the affidavit. The officer got out of his car and the man said he heard the officer asking for assistance.

The man told the detective he continued to talk and yell when the officer asked him to leave the area, according to the affidavit. When he started walking towards his bags, two more officers arrived. While the man and one of the officers were yelling at each other, the officer told the man he was "under arrest."

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While the man turned around to allow the officer to handcuff him, he was still yelling at the officers, according to the affidavit. One officer was holding on to him by the belt in his pants, so he wasn't able to back up when an officer pushed him back.

Body-worn camera video shows a man handcuffed and on the ground when Huxley "lifts his left leg, and drives his left foot down" into the man's face, according to the affidavit. Blood is visible on the man's mouth "within seconds."

IMPD Chief Randall Taylor was notified of the encounter on Oct. 6 and ordered an investigation. He has recommended that Huxley be terminated and ordered a review of past use of force incidents by all three officers mentioned in the arrest.

Huxley is scheduled to appear for a pretrial conference Oct. 26 in Marion Superior Court. A court date in the federal date hadn't been scheduled as of Wednesday.