IMPD releases bodycam video that shows officer shoot armed man in back as he ran away
IMPD releases bodycam video that shows officer shoot armed man in back as he ran away, from News 8 at 11 p.m. Aug. 22, 2023
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department released bodycam footage Tuesday afternoon from an early August police shooting that killed 49-year-old Gary Harrell.
Around 9:40 a.m. Aug. 3, IMPD North District Officer Douglas Correll conducted a traffic stop in the 3400 block of North Parker Avenue for a car, driven by Harrell, driving recklessly.
Harrell exited his vehicle before Correll left his police car to speak with Harrell. Officers say Harrell began a brief verbal exchange with Correll before walking back to the driver’s side of his car.
Officer Correll can be heard on bodycam footage telling Harrell to not return to his car, but Harrell reentered his vehicle.
Police say as Correll continued to speak with Harrell, Harrell exited his car, holding a gun in his right hand and his cell phone in his left. He fled the scene on foot.
Correll is seen running after Harrell, commanding Harrell to, “Stop it, drop it.” Correll then drew his IMPD-issued weapon and shot twice, striking Harrell once. Police say that Correll fired his weapon while Harrell was still holding his firearm.
A second officer arrived and secured Harrell’s handgun. The five-shot .357 revolver was located on a driveway where Harrell dropped it. Police say the gun was loaded with five rounds.
Harrell was given medical aid by emergency services and taken to IU Methodist Hospital. He was later pronounced dead by hospital staff.
No officers or nearby residents were injured in the shooting.
The video contains graphic images, and viewer discretion is advised.
Community leaders were disappointed by the shooting. Antonio Alexander, the Northwest Community Resources District Council (CRDC) Co-Chair, said he was upset that another person was killed in Indianapolis.
“(I’m) extremely disappointed. Not just because it was due to an officer but anytime there is a family that is grieving and there is a family that has to bare that trauma,” Alexander said. “It’s unfortunate that we have to go through this.”
Alexander believes there were other ways to handle the situation.
“The officer I would say could have taken a defensive posture because we’re just talking about a traffic stop and let the individual go on,” Alexander said. “I believe it’s more of a concern of community safety by an individual getting shot because he did run.”
The CRDC will hold a Community Town Hall at 6 p.m. on Aug. 28 in the Global Village Welcome Center.
Today the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department released the critical incident video involving the shooting death of Gary Harrell.
This release comes as a part of my commitment to transparency, and with the recognition of the tragic loss of Mr. Harrell and the lives impacted by this incident, including officers.
It is crucial to have a thorough and complete investigation of what occurred during this incident before we come to any conclusions. At this point, this investigation is incomplete. I am asking for the public’s patience and trust as we investigate this thoroughly. My prayers remain with all involved.
Randal Taylor, chief of Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department
Today, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) finally released body cam footage — nearly 20 days after 49-year-old Gary Harrell was fatally shot by a police officer following a traffic stop.
And it revealed what Harrell’s family already had suspected: He was shot in the back while running in fear from police officers.
The recent police-involved shooting continues to follow an unacceptable pattern within the ranks of IMPD, according to leaders of the Black Church Coalition (BCC) of Faith in Indiana.
As with other cases, a police officer who clearly did not follow training protocols shoots a person, typically a Black man, and is placed on administrative leave with pay for a period of time — only to be reinstated without consequences.
The coalition is calling for the firing of the IMPD officer involved in the shooting of Harrell, who was stopped on Aug. 3, 2023 near 34th Street and Parker Avenue on the city’s Eastside.
“It is clear from the bodycam footage that the officer broke the training policy,” said Pastor Peris Lester of Phillips Temple CME Church, which is located three miles from the shooting. “Why is he still being paid when IMPD Chief Randal Taylor has fired officers for lesser offenses? Why is the taking of a human life not a concern of the chief of police in Indianapolis?”
IMPD not only shows little to no respect for life in these deadly shootings, the department continues to act in its own self-interest — further sowing seeds of distrust among the community, especially the city’s black and brown residents, BCC leaders said.
“IMPD Chief Taylor needs to lead now,” said Pastor Darrell Brooks of New Liberty Baptist Church. “He has abdicated responsibilities in far too many of these cases. It is imperative he
leads and fires the officer who killed Gary Harrell to restore some resemblance of trust in this department. If he doesn’t lead during this moment, he needs to step aside.”
The BCC also is demanding that U.S. District Attorney Zachary Myers conduct an immediate civil rights investigation into the department for a pattern of excessive uses of force on Black citizens in Indianapolis.
An independent investigation from the Department of Justice is critical to providing Harrell’s grieving family with answers and alleviating the public’s distrust in the institutions that are meant to serve and protect them, BCC leaders said.
IMPD’s lack of transparency follows a pattern in which the department is allowed to set the terms for its own internal investigations where accountability ultimately never happens, BCC leaders said. Currently, the IMPD Critical Incident Response Team and IMPD Internal Affairs are investigating the fatal shooting, according to police reports.
Black Church Coalition, Faith in Indiana
On behalf of the Baptist Minister’s Alliance and the Concerned Clergy of Indianapolis, we extend our deepest sympathy to the Harrell family in the tragic loss of Gary’s life. This great catastrophe of having another African American male being the victim of a Police Action Shooting has again struck in the city of Indianapolis. As African American males, as a fathers, and as community leaders for local African American males, this is an alarming tragedy that continues to happen locally and nationally. It appears that African American lives do not matter.
When one considers what has happened across the country whether it is an African American male in Ohio, Florida, or Texas. Regardless of the region of the United States, the results literally are the same. The police officer will be able to say “I feared for my life” and be found “Not-guilty.” This “Playbook” is being utilized in every area of our country. The critical question must be asked: “What will be different this time?”
For those who want fairness and to begin to save the lives of people of color, we must begin to address this issue by centering our focus on the System itself. While certain people are held accountable, the systems who allow these egregious acts to take place must also be addressed. With the shooting of Aaron Bailey, on June 29, 2017, what has really changed in our city in terms of outcomes with acts of violence against black males? City Leadership created more bureaucracy with multiple boards who serve more as barriers rather than create transparency with the community. For example, the Firearm Review Board members are forbidden from talking to the community about its discussions. This raises the critical question: “Why do items that would address the concerns of African Americans continue to take so long?” Yet, city leaders expect a community who receives lip service and vague resolutions with no substance to continue to trust a flawed process.
There continues to be a lack of consistency in how police action shootings take place in the city. The officer, Douglas Correll, involved in the shooting of Gary Harrell, was part of settlement of $380,000 of taxpayer dollars for his actions against Joshua Harris in 2020: https://public.flourish.studio/visualisation/5250059/ and https://drive.google.com/file/d/1lnjVzyQM8VDUeUA28ndUKJxCfMDZZtYg/view.
Previous chiefs of police did not put officers back on the street after bad encounters with the community. Obviously, Chief Taylor chose to put Officer Correll back on the streets despite his negative encounters with the community. If Indianapolis wants this issue to be seriously addressed, the systems involved in the entire process of investigating a police officer must be focused on. City leadership will play a major role in whether justice is served in this fatal shooting. In Indianapolis, the African American community continues to be failed by systems that appear to be in place to placate the community and not help the community. As a result, people wonder why the African American community is always upset!
It is time for a change! Ella Baker said, “Until the killing of black men, black mothers’ sons, becomes as important to the rest of the country as the killing of a white mother’s sons, we who believe in freedom cannot rest until this happens.” It is time to challenge and demand that diversity exists in all areas of a System that is clearly failing African Americans. Why should the minority community believe and accept a process that continues to routinely fail them? When was the last white person shot in the back fleeing the scene? In order to experience different outcomes, we will have to change the system from the top to the bottom!
Baptist Minister’s Alliance and the Concerned Clergy of Indianapolis