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IMPD officers indicted for death of Herman Whitfield III

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Two officers from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department have been indicted in their alleged roles in the April 25, 2022, in-custody death of Herman Whitfield III.

Prosecutor Ryan Mears announced today that a Marion County Grand Jury issued the indictments, according to a press release.

Adam Ahmad has been indicted on charges of involuntary manslaughter, reckless homicide, battery resulting in serious bodily, battery resulting in moderate injury and battery.

Steven Sanchez has been indicted on charges of two counts of Involuntary Manslaughter, Reckless Homicide, Battery Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury, Battery Resulting in Moderate Injury and Battery.

Officers arrived to find the man and his parents in the home. The father told officers that his son was “having a psychosis.” Officers called for an ambulance, as the father had requested, and began communicating with the son to prepare him for traveling in the ambulance.

According to court documents, Whitfield’s Fourth Amendment rights were violated when the officers “needlessly tasered and then crushed the breath out of a man undergoing a mental health crisis, while callously ignoring his desperate repeated cries, ‘I can’t breathe’.”

On April 25 2022, Whitfield’s mother called 911 and asked for an ambulance to come to their home on Marrison Place and help her and her husband get mental health care for their son, court papers say.

The criminal cases will take place in Marion County Superior Court.

Indiana University law professor India Thusi told News 8 that the indictments are significant because it is difficult to prosecute officers. “It actually can be quite challenging, even at the indictment stage, so the fact that the case is moving forward I think says a lot.”

According to Thusi, the amount and types of charges against the officers is significant. “I believe the prosecutors may have been thinking, ‘Well, we want to include all these different charges,’ knowing that it can be challenging to actually get the conviction for the officer and then these breadth of charges provides them with different options.”

I-Team 8’s Kody Fisher contributed to this report.

Statement from IMPD on Herman Whitfield III charges

Earlier today, Chief Randal Taylor learned the grand jury decision regarding the death of Herman Whitfield III. Chief Taylor respects the grand jury process. 

As with anyone under indictment, the officers should be considered innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

The officers involved, including those indicted, remain on paid administrative duty status while the internal process continues. 

Mr. Whitfield’s death was a tragedy for all involved, and our thoughts continue to be with those impacted by his loss.

A photo of Herman Whitfield III
Herman Whitfield III (Image from Video Provided/Arts Council of Indianapolis)


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