Crime Watch 8

IMPD officer convicted for perjury, official misconduct

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — An Indianapolis police officer has been convicted by a jury of multiple felony charges after an altercation with a high school student was caught on video.

In August 2019, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Officer Robert Lawson was caught on two separate videos punching a 17-year-old student outside of Shortridge High School. Lawson had responded to the school, which had been placed on lockdown after a fight.

Lawson found guilty of perjury, false informing and official misconduct.

Lawson had also been charged with battery but was found not guilty by the jury. A mistrial was found on a felony charge of obstruction of justice.

“This was an unfortunate incident that required immediate attention and action. Incidents such as this further damage the trust we are working to rebuild between law enforcement and the community,” Prosecutor Ryan Mears said in a statement. “By holding this officer accountable, I hope this sends a clear and strong message to the community that this type of behavior is unacceptable.”

IMPD leadership suspended him without pay at the time of the incident. IMPD says he is still suspended and recommended his termination. The Civilian Police Merit Board will hold a hearing on that recommendation after the case is concluded.

According to online court records, Lawson returns to court Dec. 21 for a status conference.

One video of the altercation has been view more than 140,000 times on Facebook.

WARNING: The video below contains strong language

Bryan Roach, chief of IMPD at the time, said the video showed the officer used “a technique which is not taught or reasonable given the facts known.”

A lawsuit was also filed against three officers.