INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - An Indianapolis teenager whose allegations of police brutality garnered national attention has been found not guilty on gun charges.
Brandon Johnson accused police of excessive force two years ago after he was badly injured during an arrest. A year later, police served a warrant at Johnson's home and arrested Johnson, along with his older brothers. Johnson was charged with gun possession, but a juvenile court judge acquitted him Wednesday.
Johnson's mother, Shantay Chandler, said the gun charge was retaliatory, and prosecutors had no evidence. Prosecutors submitted as evidence a cell phone picture of someone holding a gun. The head of the person was not shown in the image.
"It was a picture, a picture of an alleged gun, without a face," said Chandler. "There was no gun. If you charge someone with dangerous possession of a firearm, you would assume there was a gun."
Johnson's lawyer agreed, saying the prosecution was unusually aggressive considering the fact that the case involved a misdemeanor gun charge with very little evidence.
"It was a picture of an arm holding what they believed was a gun. And I told the judge I have never seen any kind of charge based on that - just a picture of a gun," said Monish Patel, Johnson's attorney. "That's why this was such an egregious case. We were offered the sky on this, and we weren't taking anything but a dismissal or a not guilty. And we got a not guilty."
Patel said he also suspects Johnson's prosecution was retaliation for Johnson's brutality case against the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.
"I don't think they would have pursued a misdemeanor as far as they did - having six witnesses, having a gun expert come in, all over a misdemeanor. It just doesn't happen normally," said Patel.
Following Johnson's acquittal, his mother filed a formal civilian complaint against IMPD, alleging harassment.
24-Hour News 8 asked the Marion County prosecutor to respond to the family's charge that Johnson's arrest and prosecution were retaliatory. A spokesman for the prosecutor refused to comment.
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