INDIANAPOLIS — A suspended IMPD officer has been sentenced to 12 months and one day in federal prison for his use of excessive force against a man in 2021.
Eric Huxley received a one year and a day imprisonment sentence after entering a plea agreement related to an incident in which he kicked Jermaine Vaughn in the head and face "without lawful justification", causing bodily injury to that person.
Huxley will also serve six months home confinement following his imprisonment.
Body camera footage shows Vaughn handcuffed and on the ground when Huxley "intentionally raised his right food and drove it down" onto Vaughn's head and face.
According to court documents, Huxley pleaded guilty on federal charges in acceptance of a reduced sentence. The plea however, does not protect Huxley from state charges.
An attorney for Jermaine Vaughn, who has filed a civil lawsuit against Huxley and IMPD, said IMPD officers have had "poor leadership" and "bad supervision."
U.S. Attorney Zachary A. Myers for the Southern District of Indiana told WRTV that police brutality impacts not just the victims, but the entire community by eroding trust in police.
"I think that holding officers accountable when they do commit these types of crimes and violate people's constitutional rights, it's one of the most critical things we do in federal law enforcement," Myers told WRTV. "We are going to continue to prioritize these cases. You have to hold them accountable when they commit crimes like this because otherwise the community is going to lose trust entirely in the people its supposed to be able to call to for help. "
Huxley had faced a maximum of 10 years in prison.
The U.S. Attorney's office pushed the judge for Huxley's sentence to include prison time.
"He is going to be in handcuffs. He is going to be in a federal prison with all the other people who violated federal criminal law," said Myers. "The message that sends to the community is that our officers are not above the law. They are subject to the law and they’ve sworn a duty to the law."
WRTV asked Myers about the importance of body camera footage in police brutality cases.
"I think there’s no question that the body camera footage in this case was critical in securing the just result that was secured," said Myers. "It can be a very useful tool in getting to the truth which is the ultimate goal in the criminal justice system."
The federal plea agreement does not have a factor into the charges brought against Huxley by the state of Indiana. He is due back in state court on October 3 for those charges.
IMPD provided the following statement following the sentencing:
IMPD is aware that today Eric Huxley was sentenced on federal charges. This investigation was the culmination of an internal use of force investigation and criminal investigation. When Chief Randal Taylor learned the facts of this incident, he ordered an immediate review by the Special Investigations Unit and by Internal Affairs.
Huxley remains suspended without pay. Chief Taylor has asked the Civilian Police Merit Board to terminate Huxley’s employment with the IMPD. His recommendation is still pending a determination by the board, which will happen after the criminal process is complete. A criminal case remains open with the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office.