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Indy family files tort claim, plans to sue Fishers PD for racial profiling

Fishers PD
Posted at 7:35 PM, May 15, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-16 18:52:05-04

FISHERS — An Indianapolis family has filed a tort claim indicating their plans to sue the Fishers Police Department for racial profiling.

The tort claim states new parents Malcom Bunnell and Caitlin White were "pulled over, held at gunpoint, arrested and detained based on the color of their skin" on April 21.

The father, told his side of the story in a Facebook post that went viral.

According to the claim, the black couple was returning from a trip to buy baby formula when they were suddenly stopped and pulled out of their car at gunpoint by Fishers police officers.

Their infant daughter was also detained and left alone in the backseat unattended for an extended period of time, the claim states.

The couple was ultimately released without charge.

Fishers Police Department says this incident began as an investigation into a report of a physical altercation in a probable cause affidavit.

It states that they were initially called to the Wal-Mart on E. 96th Street after a witness called 911.

Police arrived and spoke with a white male in the parking lot that was involved in the incident.

According to police, the man reported that the other person involved had a gun and was leaving the scene in a white Cadillac Escalade.

Police said they told the man to stay in the parking lot as they went after the other "involved person" and conducted a traffic stop.

Fishers PD did not give any information regarding the traffic stop other than that it was considered to be a "high-risk traffic stop" and that no weapon was located.

Police said they then learned from the driver of the Cadillac that he had been involved in a confrontation with the other individual after a road rage incident twenty minutes prior.

Police said they returned to the Wal-Mart parking lot and found that the man had left the area.

Police later identified the man as Dustin J. Martin and arrested him for resisting law enforcement and false informing.

In the tort claim made by the family's lawyers, they state that the man had actually been harassing the family at the store.

"The officer had no facts that would rise to the level of suspicion necessary to warrant a Terry Stop, let alone a violent arrest with threat of deadly force," the claim states. "The officer’s narrative omits one major fact that was coloring his view of the situation, the description of the other driver—black male."

The tort claim notes, "This is a clear case of biased based profiling."

The family intends to file a civil lawsuit against Fishers Police Department, seeking justice and accountability for the officer's actions.

Fishers Police Department released the following statement to WRTV regarding the tort claim:

We are unable to provide a comment due to the tort claim notice. The prosecutor’s office is handling any inquires related to the arrest made in this case.
Fishers Police Department PIO Tom Weger