I-Team 8

WISH-TV reporter’s viral video of protester’s arrest leads to criminal investigation

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Marion County Prosecutor’s Office has opened a criminal investigation of the police officers caught on video hitting a woman with riot batons and rubber bullets.

The video shot by WISH-TV Richard Essex about 30 minutes after a countywide curfew due to rioting the previous two nights went into effect on May 31. Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officers had started clearing a downtown street.

In the video, police order everyone to stop and get on the ground, and a few did while others ran. One 21-year-old who lives in Indianapolis had her hands behind her back, her face covered and stood still for a few seconds. Then, she appears to resist the officers’ commands.

IMPD Chief Randal Taylor told the City County Council Public Safety Committee on Wednesday night he has seen enough.

“Let me go to the video that everyone seems to be talking about with the ERG group and the baton strike. If you saw that video or hear my comments, you would know that the first words out of my mouth were ‘I didn’t like what I saw.'”

The police chief added, “I have not heard from the young lady. I don’t know if she has actually made a complaint in this case. I really didn’t need her to make a complaint. I saw what I saw and I’m doing my best to address that”

As the 21-year-old attempted to break free from the officer, viewers can hear another officer say, “Hit her.”

She was shot at least three times with rubber bullets and struck at least five times in the legs by two officers with batons.

Taylor said Wednesday night, “I have an obligation to the officers of this department to do thorough investigations. They have been removed from the detail they had so I don’t believe the citizens of Indianapolis are in any danger of them at this time.”

Ryan Myers, the Marion County prosecutor, talked about the criminal investigation on Wednesday night. “I have met with the detective that has been assigned to investigate that matter, and we have begun the investigative process on that particular case starting today from a criminal standpoint.”

News 8 has been told that the woman who stood nearby yelling at police and was pushed backward to the ground is seeking legal counsel.

Both women were held to the ground and eventually detained.

The police chief said, “There were certain things that happened I didn’t like the way it looked, but that doesn’t necessarily make it illegal.”

In the video, behind the commotion, viewers can see a man in a black sweatshirt on his knees and his arms held out to the side. One officer says, “He has a handgun.”

News 8 spoke the 21-year-old woman in the video. She is not ready to talk about the incident publicly. She said she is recovering and covered with bruises.