MUNCIE — Former Muncie Police Department Officer Jeremy Gibson appeared in court with his supporters and attorney Friday and pleaded guilty to two felony charges connected with excessive force and covering it up.
Gibson pled guilty to two charges including depriving arrestees of their rights and obstruction of justice for falsifying a report about use of force.
Federal Judge Tanya Walton Pratt accepted Gibson’s plea.
He faces up to 30 years in prison and will be sentenced at a later date.
He had nothing to say when WRTV Investigates asked him if he had anything to say to the community or whether he planned to apologize.
As part of the plea, Gibson agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors and testify against other police officers in the case who are accused of excessive force or attempting to cover it up: Chase Winkle, Corey Posey and Sgt. Joseph Krejsa.
According to the superseding indictment filed last April, Gibson’s actions included punching, stomping on, and knee-striking suspects without justification, which caused injuries to them.
In court Friday, Gibson admitted to striking Emanuel “Manny” Montero with his fist and knee, to Montero’s head and face.
Gibson also admitted in court Friday to writing a false report and stating that Montero did not comply with commands prior to being taken to the ground.
Gibson also admitted he omitted from the report that he used a knee strike to Montero’s head.
Montero, identified in court documents as E.M., says Jeremy Gibson and other officers assaulted him on May 13, 2018. Montero was pulled over for a missing headlight.
Montero spoke with WRTV Investigates in 2021.
"They told me to step out, and I stepped out,” Montero said. “They just started pummeling me. Pretty much beating me down."
He said he kept thinking about wanting to see his family and his son during this incident.
“I didn't understand why they were doing it,” Montero said. “I didn't understand what was going on."
The photo below, also included in the lawsuit, shows his face after he was arrested for resisting law enforcement and improper headlights. He was eventually transferred to a hospital in Indianapolis and had surgery.
This photo shows Montero's face after he was arrested for resisting law enforcement and improper headlights.
"A bunch of facial fractures, broken ribs, I really can't see well,” Montero said. “I have PTSD. It's definitely changed my life."
Montero said he received a $250,000 settlement check after filing a lawsuit against the city, but he says it isn’t enough. He wants Gibson and the other indicted officers to be convicted.
"I was scared. I thought I was going to die,” Montero said. “I thought they were going to kill me. I'd never been so scared in my life."
However, federal prosecutors agreed to recommend a sentence at the low-end of the advisory sentencing guidelines range provided Gibson continues to fully accept responsibility for the offense, does not commit a new criminal offense before the date of any sentencing, and does not violate the terms of any pretrial release before the date of sentencing.
Gibson resigned from Muncie Police on March 10, 2022.
He had previously been on administrative leave without pay pending the outcome of the federal criminal cases and charges of conduct violations before the Muncie Police Merit Commission.
Winkle, Posey and Krejsa are accused of using excessive force or attempting to cover it up and are scheduled for trial on August 15, 2022.