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Courts say misspelling let police shooting suspect walk free

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A former public defender and the head of the local police union said Friday a spelling error shouldn’t have been enough to let a suspect with a prior conviction walk free.

Court documents show when Indianapolis police arrested Mylik Hill for theft and resisting arrest on Jan. 31, investigators knew he had a prior record.

The affidavit from that arrest states, “Mylik Hill is currently on probation/supervised release for a prior robbery and felony firearm possession.”

Hill at the time was on parole after serving most of a sentence for a 2012 armed robbery conviction. The Indiana Department of Correction told News 8 that Hill already had two prior technical violations for positive drug tests. Correction officials said they were automatically notified when he was arrested in January and they issued a warrant for parole violation.

Records show Hill posted a $500 bond and was released on Feb. 1. Under Marion County’s bail rules, resisting arrest nets a $500 bond, while theft suspects are released on their own recognizance, meaning there is no set bond amount.

A month later, Officer Tommy Mangan of Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department was shot in the throat during a foot chase. Prosecutors said Hill was the shooter. Mangan left the hospital Friday evening after a 12-day stay. He is unable to speak and is using sign language.

IUPUI law professor Novella Nedeff, a former Marion County public defender, said instances where someone is let go due to spelling discrepancies are extremely rare. She said arresting officers routinely check identifying information such as fingerprints and prior criminal history.

The Marion County Sheriff’s Office said deputies checked for warrants twice in the 10 hours during which Hill was in their custody at the end of January and found no outstanding warrants.

That, Nedeff said, suggests a breakdown somewhere in the identification process, though it’s hard to say right now which agency is at fault.

“Usually, parole would be notified, and parole would put a hold on somebody,” she said. “It should be a matter of law enforcement computers talking to each other. People get arrested all the time who are on parole, on probation, and it gets caught.”

Rick Snyder, president of the Indianapolis Fraternal Order of Police, said he’s not convinced by the court’s assertion that a spelling error led to Hill’s release.

“Here’s what’s really frustrating, is that the people we need to fix it are the very stakeholders that are sitting and pointing fingers at one another and refusing to accept responsibility,” he said.

Amy Jones, a Marion Superior Court presiding judge, turned down a request to comment for this story.

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