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IMPD still probes claims of racially profiling a community leader 11 months ago

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — At least two Indianapolis police officers are under an internal affairs investigation after a community leader, who works to close the gap between police and the community, claims police racially profiled him during a traffic stop 11 months ago.

James Wilson, chief executive officer of Circle Up Indy, says the traffic stop happened in October on the near-east side of Indianapolis. Three officers showed up to the traffic stop where Wilson was told to pull over, because he slow-rolled at a stop sign.

One of the officers from Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department was seen on a bodycam video talking with Wilson after pulling him over. “Who was driving this car before you? These are high-valued cars, all right? A lot of times people steal these cars. It’s nothing against who’s inside the car.”

When Wilson was questioned by police if the car was his, he explained it was a rental from a dealership.

Officers also claimed Wilson did not have a valid driver’s license because he did not have his license on him during the stop.

The officer “had my state ID at the time. I had lost my license,” Wilson said. “Along with my appeal, they have a valid driver’s license from the DMV. I showed him the proper form of registration directly from the dealership. Everything’s included. So, what’s the excuse now?”

Wilson filed a formal complaint with the Citizens’ Police Complaint Board after the traffic stop on Oct. 9 and asked for the body camera video. He received the video in August and shared it with I-Team 8.

In his complaint, he showed I-Team 8 that his license was, in fact, valid at the time of the stop. He also gave I-Team 8 the paperwork showing he was properly registered for the rental car.

“They’ve been talking about this explicit bias training and community development for years. I’ve been doing this work for almost 10 years.”

In the bodycam video, Wilson is heard trying to explain the work he does with police. One of the officers is heard telling another officer, “This guy doesn’t have a driver’s license, right? I’d be taking this guy to f****** jail. This guy is trying to use all his connections. That s*** is pissing me off.”

While watching the video, “it brought back the anger and frustration again, to be honest with you,” Wilson said. “I had to fight, call and send emails left and right trying to obtain the video. They say, ‘We’ve been transparent. We’ve been public. We’ve been very public with the public about a lot of things.’ But, that’s not the reality.”

I-Team 8 was told this case is active in IMPD’s internal affairs investigation, and the department refused to comment.

Wilson says he asked IMPD to not allow those officers to patrol that particular area anymore.

I-Team 8 asked IMPD if police are still allowed to patrol the streets while under an internal affairs investigation, and the department sent a statement.

“Officers are still able to be employed while an internal affairs investigation is active. However, some circumstances may allow for an officer to be off on paid administrative leave such an example of that would be maybe an officer involved shooting, etc. Each case is different (case by case).”