INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The two women who say they were beaten by Indianapolis police during a downtown curfew said Wednesday they didn’t know each other prior to getting arrested.
They were both downtown independently taking pictures of the damage and graffiti after rioting. Neither one claims to have taken part in the riots, but say that one had offered to give the other a ride home and were headed to the car when police arrested them after the first night of an 8 p.m. curfew. Police encountered the women about 8:30 p.m. May 31 near East Washington and East Pennsylvania streets.
A Facebook Live video by WISH TV’s Richard Essex shows Ivoré Westfield had her hands behind her back and appeared to be complying with police. As additional officers arrive, she then pulled away and began to resist the officers’ commands.
Terrance Kinnard, the lawyer representing both women, said in a Wednesday morning news conference that one officer’s actions are to blame for the entire incident
“His direct action by taking Ms. Westfield’s arms and contorting them in such away to cause her pain when she had done nothing to resist his efforts,” the lawyer said.
Kinnard added that Westfield tried to get away from police to alleviate the pain. When she started to struggle with the officer and eventually broke free, another officer is heard saying “Hit her.” Kinnard said she was shot at least five times with pepper balls that left several marks on her arms and hands. Bruising on her legs came from six baton strikes.
Westfield was arrested for a felony and taken to jail
“And that felony indicated that she had assaulted a law enforcement officer, which we know from looking at the video she did no such thing but yet she was arrested. She was then left in the jail for three days with her injuries and she was not offered any medical attention,” Kinnard said.
The Marion County Prosecutor’s Office declined to pursue charges against her.
The second woman is Rachel Harding. She also claims to have been in the downtown area to take pictures and had not participated in the riots. She had offered to give Westfield a ride home, and the two were headed to her car. Harding complied with officers’ commands until Westfield started to struggle and can be heard yelling at police.
“She asked the officer ‘why her’ and the intent of the question of ‘why her’ was she had done nothing wrong. We had done nothing wrong,” the lawyer said.
A federal lawsuit from the women seeks an unspecified amount of money.
A spokesman for the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office said Wednesday that no decision has been made on possible criminal charges for the officers as the case remains under investigation.
Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department is doing an internal investigation that could lead to disciplinary action.