MUNCIE — WRTV Investigates has learned a Muncie police officer plans to plead guilty for his role in allegedly using excessive force and covering it up.
Jeremy Gibson filed a petition on March 30 agreeing to plead guilty to two charges including depriving arrestees of their rights and obstruction of justice for falsifying a report about use of force.
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.
Emanuel “Manny” 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.
"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.
"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."
Gibson could face up to 30 years in prison if the judge accepts his plea on the two charges.
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.
His change of plea hearing is scheduled in federal court on May 13. Gibson is still employed by the Muncie Police Department but is on unpaid leave.
Officers Chase Winkle, Corey Posey and Sgt. Joseph Krejsa are accused of using excessive force or attempting to cover it up and are scheduled for trial in August 2022.