INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A federal investigation has been opened after a police officer was accused of stomping a handcuffed man in the face on Monument Circle.
The United States Attorney’s Office and the FBI are looking into accusations against Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Sgt. Eric Huxley.
“The United States Attorney’s Office is aware of the incident involving an IMPD officer and Jermaine Vaughn. Our office and the FBI have opened an investigation, and if the investigation reveals prosecutable violations of any federal criminal statutes, the Department will take appropriate action,” Acting U.S. Attorney John E. Childress said in a statement.
On Tuesday, it was announced that Huxley was charged in Marion County for official misconduct and battery resulting in moderate bodily injury. Both crimes are felonies.
Huxley was suspended without pay from the police department. IMPD Chief Taylor has recommended Huxley be terminated. That recommendation will for to the IMPD Civilian Police Merit Board.
On Sept. 24, another IMPD officer was attempting trying to arrest a “loud and disorderly” homeless man. Video from a body-worn camera shows a portion of the encounter with the officer and the man, identified in court documents as Jermaine Vaughn. Vaughn is laying on the ground on his back when another officer walks up and stomps him in the face. IMPD leadership says that officer is Huxley.
The two other officers on the scene, Sergeant Christopher Kibbey and Officer Matthew Shores, have been placed on administrative duty during the internal investigation.
“Today, the Indianapolis Urban League (IUL) applauds the executive actions and commitment to increased transparency taken by IMPD Chief Randal Taylor in the recently discovered and partially investigated case of Sergeant Eric Huxley and his abuse and stomping on the head of a prone, homeless, African American civilian, Mr. Jermaine Vaughn on September 24th of this year.
“We are angered and deeply saddened by the video images from the body-worn camera footage released yesterday and our expressions of sympathy and support for Mr. Vaughn are beyond words.
“The deliberate and unprincipled actions of Sergeant Huxley deprived Mr. Vaughn of his civil and constitutional rights, and the apparent silent accommodation of his actions by IMPD Sergeant Christopher Kibbey and Officer Matthew Shores is extremely disturbing to the Indianapolis community. Sergeant Huxley has been suspended without pay pending the outcome of his trial on felony charges. Should he not be convicted, the Indianapolis Urban League urges the IMPD Police Merit Board to support IMPD Chief Randal Taylor’s recommendation that Sergeant Huxley is terminated.
“In this instance, the implementation of body-worn cameras and the release of the video footage demonstrate the beginning of necessary changes around transparency but Sergeant Huxley must be held accountable. Sergeant Kibbey and Officer Shores should be disciplined and held accountable for their failures as well. Failure to do so will only lead to more instances of officers failing to quickly intervene when a fellow officer has violated policies and laws in interactions and confrontations with citizens.
“The Indianapolis Urban League remains committed to advocating for improved transparency and accountability for police actions in our community. It is imperative that IMPD, the Police Merit Board and Use of Force Review Board continue to address ongoing community concerns regarding the use of force, departmental discipline, and overall departmental policies that have contributed to a rising level of disconnect and mistrust between the officers and employees of the department and the Indianapolis community particularly African Americans and other people of color. Failure to do so will only deepen the divide in our community making it more difficult to implement other changes underway that could lead to better police and community relations.”Tony Mason, president and chief executive officer, Indianapolis Urban League