MUNCIE — A Muncie police officer awaiting federal trial for false reporting is still collecting a paycheck from the police department, WRTV Investigates has learned.
Patrolman Corey Posey has been with the department since 2018 and his salary is $56,386 or $27.11 per hour, records show.
According to a federal indictment filed on April 13, Posey is charged with one count of False Report, a felony.
The allegations stem from a 2018 incident in which Posey is accused of writing a report that implied suspect Lonnie Gannom failed to comply with commands.
Posey omitted from the report his colleague, Officer Chase Winkle, struck Gannom’s head and neck with his knee and also omitted that Winkle caused Gannom’s injuries, the indictment read.
WRTV Investigates has requested body camera footage of this 2018 incident several times, but the police department has yet to provide it. In September 2020, the request was denied "due to pending investigations." In September 2021, WRTV Investigates filed another records request for the body camera footage, which is still pending.
Posey and four other current and former Muncie Police Department officers were charged for their roles in allegedly using excessive force against suspects and attempting to cover up the misconduct.
The trials for Posey and three other current and former Muncie Police officers are scheduled for Jan. 24, 2022, in federal court.
Posey faces up to 20 years in federal prison if convicted.
Muncie Police Department Chief Nathan Sloan placed Posey on paid administrative leave on April 14, the day after the indictment— more than six months of pay for Posey as he awaits federal trial.
Meanwhile, two other indicted officers still employed by the department, Winkle and Jeremy Gibson, remain on unpaid administrative leave.
Sgt. Joseph Krejsa retired from the department in July and is also awaiting federal trial.
Officer Dalton Kurtz resigned from the department and pleaded guilty for writing false reports.
The decision to pay Posey while he’s on administrative leave is not sitting well among some in the community, especially since the city’s excessive force settlements now surpass $1.2 million.
Marwin Strong, who grew up in Muncie and founded the anti-crime group Enough is Enough, was surprised to learn an indicted officer was still getting paid.
“That's unethical,” Strong said. “That is something that shouldn't happen. If you do something related to excessive force on a federal indictment, I think you really need to be fired."
Strong said the decision to pay Posey is questionable as the city looks to rebuild trust among police and community members.
"Innocent until proven guilty but I don't think they need to be paying him anything at this moment,” Strong said. “When you're an officer you're a man of integrity, of trust, and then he's indicted. I don't think he needs to be paid anything."
WRTV Investigates found the city knew about the allegations involving Posey eight months before he was indicted.
Gannom filed an excessive force lawsuit in August 2020 alleging officers beat him in the face, and as a result, he suffered various facial fractures and required hospitalization.
The lawsuit states Posey claimed Lonnie Gannom grabbed Posey’s hands which resulted in a physical scuffle.
Winkle, Gibson and Krejsa were also named in the civil suit.
“At the conclusion of the alleged scuffle, Lonnie was severely and excessively beaten about the face, sustained numerous facial fractures, and required hospitalization,” the lawsuit read.
Gannom is represented by Indianapolis attorney Rob King.
“The healing process is ongoing,” King said. “No person should be subject to illegal excessive force, regardless of that person's status or stature within the criminal justice system."
The city settled Gannom’s civil lawsuit against the city for $450,000.
The city has refused to explain why it’s also paying Posey’s salary while he awaits federal trial and remains on administrative leave.
"After speaking with Chief Sloan, the department is not going to make any comment at this time,” Muncie assistant city attorney Benjamin Freeman said in an email to WRTV in July.
So, WRTV Investigates asked Mayor Dan Ridenour about Posey during a sit-down interview back in August.
Ridenour said he was not aware the indicted officer was getting paid.
“I don't look at the payrolls of the police department,” Ridenour said. “I did not know that. As opposed to any other police officer."
In search of answers, WRTV Investigates received city records and found in February 2021, Posey received a letter of accommodation from the Muncie Fire Department for finding and removing a victim from a burning home.
A month later, in March, Posey received another letter of accommodation from the Muncie Police Department for his role in investigating four homicides.
It’s unclear if Posey’s success is why he’s getting paid while on leave and the other indicted officers are not.
Strong said the city needs to be transparent.
“We do not need to defund the police at all,” Strong said. “We just need to get things in order so we understand what a police officer is for-to protect, serve and keep the community safe. We have to get back to the drawing board."
Posey’s attorney declined to comment.
“We have no comment on Mr. Posey’s behalf at this time,” attorney Michael Gaerte said in an email to WRTV.
Winkle is charged with five counts of deprivation of rights associated with excessive force and six counts of writing false reports. He allegedly wrote false reports about his use of force against five people he arrested, along with two others arrested by Muncie police officers.
"According to the superseding indictment, Winkle's actions included kicking, punching, knee striking, and using a taser on arrestees without justification, and resulted in bodily injury to the arrestees," a news release from the US Attorney’s Office read.
Gibson faces two counts of deprivation of rights associated with excessive force and one count of writing a false report against a person he arrested.
"The superseding indictment said Gibson punched, stomped and struck the knees of people he arrested without justification and caused injuries to both," the release read.
Krejsa was charged with two counts of writing false reports about two of Winkle's alleged excessive force incidents, according to court documents.
"According to the superseding indictment, on one occasion, Krejsa minimized the level of force used by Winkle during one arrest, and, on another occasion, falsely represented that a different Muncie Police Department sergeant cleared Winkle of his use of force when it was actually Krejsa who conducted that review," the release read.
Winkle, Gibson and Krejsa were previously charged in a 12-count indictment with civil rights and obstruction offenses related to five of the six incidents charged in the superseding indictment, which adds excessive force and false report charges against Winkle and Gibson related to a sixth incident.
Posey was not charged in the initial indictment.