INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Chief Randal Taylor announced a sergeant has been charged after using excessive force during a September arrest.
The Marion County Prosecutor's Office filed two formal charges against IMPD Sgt. Eric Huxley, IMPD Lt. Shane Foley said during a press conference Tuesday morning. He is charged with official misconduct and battery resulting in moderate bodily injury.
On Wednesday, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana John Childress said in a statement the attorney's office is aware of the incident.
"Our office and the FBI have opened an investigation, and if the investigation reveals prosecutable violations of any federal criminal statutes, the Department will take appropriate action,” Childress said in the statement.
The incident was uncovered after a routine investigation into an allegation of excessive force was uncovered, according to a probable cause affidavit.
The body-worn camera video of the incident 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."
According to the affidavit, Huxley can be heard in another officer's body-worn camera video saying, “I accidentally kicked him in his face. I was attempting to put my foot on his shoulder and I accidentally kicked him in his face.”
You can watch the video released by IMPD below. Note: This video contains graphic content.
Taylor has suspended Huxley without pay, Foley said. The other officers involved in the incident are on administrative duties while the internal investigation is ongoing.
Taylor said he is recommending Huxley be terminated. He also ordered a review of past use of force incidents by all three officers mentioned in this case.
The man told an IMPD detective on Thursday he has been experiencing homelessness for about a year, according to the affidavit.
On Sept. 24, the man, according to the affidavit, told the 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.
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."
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.
He said he had injuries after the officer "kicked him in his face," according to the affidavit.
Taylor was notified of the incident on Oct. 6 and immediately ordered an investigation, Foley said.
"I promised this community and I promise officers that I will be transparent -- and that's in good times and bad times. This is a bad time, but I think the community deserves it," Taylor said.
He said he understands some people are going to be upset after watching the video.
"I understand after watching this video there's going to be some people who are upset, and we'll hope to mend those fences where we can," Taylor said. "My apology not only goes out to the men and women of IMPD that do it right, but every other law enforcement officer in this state and in this country, because I know these videos when they're seeing there's gonna be people that are gonna say that's what they're all like. Well, let me tell you, that's not what they're all like. We'll get through this."
In a statement released after Tuesday morning's press conference, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett said the footage released is "deeply troubling" and "unacceptable from law enforcement in our city.
"I commend Chief Taylor’s prompt response, as well as the department’s continued commitment to transparency as they seek appropriate accountability for the officer involved," Hogsett said in the statement. "This incident underscores the importance of continuing to build community trust, and reinforces our resolve to maintain investments in the reforms, training, and technology that ensure accountability to the high standards of conduct expected by Indianapolis residents.”
Indianapolis City-County Council President Vop Osili, D-District 11, said he condemns the actions of Huxley seen in the video and offered his sympathies to the man.
"As a member of the Council, I want to thank Chief Taylor for working collaboratively with the Council on increasing transparency, including through implementation of the body-worn cameras that captured this horrendous action," Osili said. "I am committed to working with IMPD leadership in the coming year to establish the early warning system funded this summer to detect and root out such problematic behavior."
Indianapolis City-County Council Public Safety Committee Chair Leroy Robinson, D-District 1, released the following statement:
"It is with great sadness that we all witnessed the IMPD body worn camera footage of the incident involving one of our homeless neighbors," Robinson said. "We are thankful that the gentlemen is recovering well from his injuries and equally thankful for the swift response from our Chief of Police and our Marion County Prosecutor. The Council’s investment in body worn cameras is quickly providing the much needed transparency that our community has been pushing for."
The Concerned Clergy of Indianapolis is asking for the immediate release of all footage involved in this incident, suspension of the other two officers involved, all citizen complaints filed against all three officers and for state police to take over the internal investigation.
You can watch the press conference below here: