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IMPD Use of Force board hears 11 cases in 2 years; 1 officer disciplined

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Of the 11 cases reviewed in the first two years of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department’s Use of Force Review Board, it found one case where an officer violated department policy.

Catherine Cummings, the Indianapolis deputy chief of police, told I-Team 8, “That recommendation was passed on to the chief of police and that did result in discipline for that officer.”

The Use of Force Review Board typically hears cases that involve officers using their firearms or stun guns, or being in a physical altercation. The cases come to the board after the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office has determined whether criminal charges are warranted.

IMPD Chief Randal Taylor replaced the Firearms Review Board with the Use of Force Review Board two years ago after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the resulting civil unrest in Indianapolis and other parts of the country.

Upon its creation two years ago, Taylor said, “The Use of Force Review Board will bring civilians in the room as we evaluate officer use of force, helping us better understand our community expectations.” 

The cases heard by the board are not made public, and the findings are only recommendations. The board’s hearings are similar to ones in a courtroom; witnesses can be called to testify, and the board decides on its recommendation.

Cummings told I-Team 8, “Once they have concluded with their testimony and what they want to hear, the board, the members of the board alone will discuss it among themselves.”

Board members are not allowed to publicly discuss the information or evidence presented in the hearings.

According to IMPD’s general orders, the document that sets the guidelines on how the police department operates says the police chief may refer the matter to the Disciplinary Board of Captains for recommendations regarding discipline.

Of the nine members on the Use of Force board, five are not connected to the police department. The mayor has two appointments to the board, and the president of the Indianapolis-Marion County City-County Council has three. The “nonpolice” members of the Use of Force board are required to graduate from IMPD’s citizens police academy and spend 24 hours riding with officers on the streets.  

The Use of Force board members serve two-year terms, and, for many of the members, their terms just expired.