INDIANAPOLIS – A police officer faces two felony charges and has been suspended without pay after a body camera video showed him being kicked in the face of a handcuffed man.
According to police, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Sgt. Eric M. Huxley used unnecessary force in the arrest of a man in the city center last month. Prosecutors on Tuesday charged Huxley with official misconduct and bodily harm after he said he kicked Jermaine Vaughn, 38, in the face as he helped arrest the man on September 24.
After an internal investigation, IMPD chief Randal Taylor recommended that Huxley, a 14-year veteran of the police force, be removed from the force, law enforcement officials told reporters during the report. a press conference on Tuesday morning.
“I’m angry,” Taylor said before showing video of the arrest. “It pains me to see one of our officers treating someone like you are going to see him here. There is no excuse for that.”
Huxley was one of three officers to respond to a report of disorderly conduct when police said Vaughn was “loud and disorderly,” according to an affidavit of probable cause in the charges against Huxley. Officers told Vaughn to calm down, but he did not and was handcuffed, police said.
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Body camera footage released by police on Tuesday shows officers ordering Vaughn to “lean back” as his hands were cuffed behind his back. When Vaughn asked “how am I going to lean back,” Shores pushed him onto the steps of Monument Circle and took him to the ground.
As Vaughn is pinned to his back, Huxley can be seen stomping on Vaughn’s face once.
“Stop. You are done. You are finished. You are finished,” said one officer.
“Turn around,” another said to Vaughn.
“I can’t,” Vaughn replied, before the police rolled him onto his stomach.
The affidavit notes that blood could be seen on Vaughn’s mouth after he was kicked and states that the man suffered a laceration to his lower lip.
Vaughn was charged with resistance to law enforcement and disorderly conduct, but those charges were dismissed on October 8, court records show.
Huxley claimed to have accidentally kicked Vaughn in the face while trying to put his foot on the man’s shoulder, according to the affidavit. Police said Huxley could be heard saying this in body camera video, but this footage has not yet been released by police.
In an interview with investigators, another responding officer, Matthew Shores, questioned Huxley’s actions during the arrest.
Shores and Sgt. IMPD. Christopher Kibbey, who was also at the scene, was placed on administrative leave.
Chief Taylor said on Tuesday that officials learned of the issue on Oct. 6, after officers filed a use of force report. Taylor said he immediately ordered an expedited internal affairs investigation.
The ministry will also examine all use of force by the three officers involved. An audit will also be carried out on all use of force incidents that Huxley reviewed in his role as supervisor.
Prison records show Huxley has yet to be arrested. Police said charges were recently filed and told IndyStar, which is part of the USA TODAY Network, that an arrest warrant will be issued for Huxley if he does not surrender.
Taylor said he understood “that there will be people who will be upset” after watching the video of Vaughn’s arrest. He said Huxley “had done something outrageous” and believed he should be fired.
“I hope the community understands that when these things come to our attention, we will deal with them quickly, remove these people by force,” Taylor said.
Follow Lawrence Andrea on Twitter @lawrencegandrea.