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IMPD Use of Force Policy analyzed after release of police shooting video

INDIANAPOLIS — On Wednesday, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department released video of the March 29 incident where police opened fire on carjacking suspect Michael Barnes, 33, after a high-speed chase.

In the video, officers can be seen shooting at Barnes while cars drove in the line of fire on I-65. IMPD tells I-Team 8 they are not commenting on the video, but we asked them about their Use of Force Policy, in general.

“Preservation of life is our absolute top priority – use of force is a last-ditch effort,” said IMPD Deputy Chief Catherine Cummings.

Cummings tells I-Team 8 that there are a lot of different factors officers consider when they decide to pull the trigger on a suspect.

“For the safety of the public, for the safety of the people on the scene, for the safety of themselves, for the safety of their fellow officers, and for the safety of the person who’s involved in the run,” said Cummings.

I-Team 8 asked if the decisions were the most difficult part of the job, as the decisions have to be made in split seconds, and Cummings says they are.

“Proper judgment and decision-making are the most difficult aspects of this job. Just across the board and not even just when they apply to uses of force,” said Cummings.

Officers routinely go through training to talk about how to handle situations, like the one that happened on March 29.

“Our yearly training involves a component on the use of force. It involves driving, laws, and legal updates. It involves how best to interact with people,” said Cummings.

Right now, IMPD is still doing an internal investigation into what happened on March 29. The civilian-majority Use of Force Review Board is also looking into the incident after the court case is completed.

Barnes’ pretrial hearing for the carjacking was scheduled for June 6.