A federal investigation was opened after a police sergeant was caught on camera stomping on the head of an Indianapolis man as he lay handcuffed to the ground.
The South Indiana District Attorney’s Office said on Wednesday it was investigating the September 24 incident, which led to a criminal prosecution this week against Indianapolis Police Sgt. Eric Huxley.
“Our office and the FBI have opened an investigation, and if the investigation reveals prosecutable violations of federal criminal laws, the department will take appropriate action,” Acting US Attorney John Childress said in a statement.
Body camera footage shows Huxley stomping on Jermaine Vaughn’s head during a disorderly conduct arrest in downtown Indianapolis. Huxley was charged on Tuesday with official misconduct and battery misconduct with moderate bodily harm. Both are crimes.
“I’m upset,” Metropolitan Indianapolis Police Chief Randal Taylor said at a press conference Tuesday before sharing the body camera footage. “It pains me to see one of our officers treating someone like you will see him shortly. There is no excuse for this.
Taylor said he recommended that Huxley be dismissed from the police force. In the meantime, Huxley has been suspended without pay pending the recommendation of dismissal from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department’s Civil Policy Merit Committee.
Vaughn, who is black, was confronted with officers from Monument Circle after being accused of “being loud and messy,” according to an affidavit of probable cause in the charges against Huxley, which was obtained by The Indianapolis Star.
Graphic video below (body camera footage starts at 6:26 a.m.):
Police said Vaughn refused to calm down, so they handcuffed him. After his hands were tied, an officer attempted to sweep Vaughn’s legs. Body camera footage shows an officer pushing Vaughn up the circle steps while ordering him to lean back. A fight ensues and Vaughn is taken to the ground.
“We’re not going to do this,” the officer says to Vaughn, who appears to be watching him from the ground. In the next moment, another officer, apparently Huxley, walks over and slams his foot on Vaughn’s head.
“Stop,” said the officer. “You’re done. You’re done. You’re done.”
According to the affidavit, Huxley later claimed he kicked Vaughn “accidentally”.
“I accidentally kicked him in the face. I was trying to put my foot on his shoulder and accidentally kicked him in the face, ”Huxley reportedly said in the affidavit, which cited body camera footage that was not released by police.