Reaction to the indictment of two officers in the death of Herman Whitfield III
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The family of Herman Whitfield III on Thursday held an emotional press conference after two officers were indicted for their alleged role in his death.
A grand jury indicted Adam Ahmad on charges of involuntary manslaughter, reckless homicide, battery resulting in serious bodily, battery resulting in moderate injury and battery.
Steven Sanchez was indicted on charges of two counts of involuntary manslaughter, reckless homicide, battery resulting in serious bodily injury, battery resulting in moderate injury and battery.
Family and community leaders say they are looking for convictions next.
“It’s almost like we were being gaslighted to believe what was done to our son was proper and lawful and legal and justified and that our son deserved to die,” said Gladys Whitfield, Herman Whitfield III’s mother.
“The community recognizing that what the officers did was criminal, it just helps to enforce our belief that what the officers did was an injustice.”
There were four additional officers at the scene. Advocates said they want to see them held accountable as well.
“Indictments aren’t convictions. This is just the first process in holding those individuals responsible that killed, that were responsible for the death of Herman Whitfield III,” said Kwame Che Shakur with the Justice for Herman Whitfield III Campaign.
The Justice for Herman Whitfield III Campaign is calling for long-term changes including a U.S. Justice Department investigation into IMPD policy.
“We’ll continue in terms of what our efforts are to make sure that justice is coming about in the criminal case with whatever pressure we can put on city leaders to make sure they are acting appropriately so that everyone understands that something very wrong happened here,” said Dea Lott, organizer for the Justice for Herman Whitfield III Campaign
The attorneys for the two officers released a statement after the indictment.
A Grand Jury convened by Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears today indicted two IMPD Officers arising from an incident that occurred in the performance of their duties. These charges only represent probable cause to hold a trial and are not proof of guilt. Officers Ahmad and Sanchez have no previous criminal or disciplinary history. The merit of these allegations will ultimately be determined through due process in a court of law and we ask the public to allow that process to play out. The officers look forward to a full and fair opportunity to defend themselves in court and establish that they did not act illegally or with any type of criminal intent. We also ask that you continue to support all of the officers of IMPD as they endeavor to protect our City.
John Kautzman and Edward Merchant, attorneys for Officers Adam Ahmad and Steven Sanchez