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Federal judge dismisses lawsuit by Beaty family over death during Indianapolis riot

38-year-old Chris Beaty, pictured before his murder during the 2020 riot in downtown Indianapolis riot. (WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit by the family of Christopher Beaty over his death during the 2020 riot in downtown Indianapolis.

Beaty, 38, a former Indiana University football player, was shot and killed while trying to stop a robbery near his downtown home during the riot on May 30, 2020.

Beaty’s family filed a wrongful death suit against the city of Indianapolis, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, and IMPD Chief Randal Taylor, claiming his death was “the result of the Defendants’ actions and inactions during a period of civil unrest in downtown Indianapolis.”

In the ruling issued Tuesday, Judge Tanya Walton Pratt rejected those claims, writing that the suit failed to prove the city created or increased the danger downtown during the riot.

“Here, the Estate has failed to state a claim that Defendants created or increased a danger to Beaty,” Judge Pratt wrote. “Unfortunately, while acting as a ‘good Samaritan,’ the danger for Beaty was created by Beaty and not by the Defendants.”

The judge also rejected claims that the city’s “alleged actions or inactions” did not create a constitutional violation.

“The fact that IMPD could have done more does not mean that it acted with deliberate indifference,” Judge Pratt ruled. “It is difficult to ignore Beaty’s tragic death and the Court feels great empathy for the Estate, but the Constitution does not guarantee Beaty’s safety from criminals.”

Three suspects have been charged for Beaty’s murder: Marcus Anderson, Alijah Jones, and Nakeyah Shields.

Anderson faces two counts of murder (one for Beaty’s murder and another for murdering Beaty while committing a robbery) as well as six counts of armed robbery and one count of pointing a firearm. Jones and Shields each face one count of murder and six counts of armed robbery.

A jury trial for all three of the accused is scheduled to begin on March 27.

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