WARNING: DISTURBING VIDEO BELOW
Sergeants Respond to Disorderly Conduct Call
(IN) – A sergeant with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department has been suspended for an excessive force incident. On September 24, officers responded to a disorderly conduct call. 38-year old Jermaine Vaughn was yelling at people as they passed by him. Sergeant. Eric M. Huxley, Sergeant Christopher Kibbey, and Officer Matthew Shores were the responding officers.
This already seems unusual. Sergeants are normally considered supervisory staff. They do respond to calls, but usually after patrol officers have the scene under control, unless it’s a major incident. There aren’t usually two sergeants at a simple disorderly conduct call.
Sergeant Uses Excessive Force on Handcuffed Man
Vaughn was told to stop yelling, but he continued. He was placed in handcuffs. What follows is a perfect example of police officers giving instructions that cannot be complied with. Officer Shore instructs Vaughn to lean back. Vaughn is handcuffed and standing on stairs. There is nothing for Vaughn to lean back against. If he leans back he is likely to fall. Vaughn responds, “How the hell am I supposed to lean back with (garbled).”
Officer Shore attempts to leg sweep Vaughn, but is unsuccessful. They struggle and Vaughn falls to the ground. Officer Shore kneels on Vaughn’s torso. As Vaughn is lying on the ground, Sergeant Huxley walks up and stomps on Vaughn’s face, busting his lip and stunning him. Officer Shore then tells Vaughn to roll over even though Shore is still kneeling on him. Vaughn says he can’t. Shore repeats the command and Vaughn, again, states he can’t. Of course he can’t. He has a full grown man kneeling on his chest.
Officer Shore finally gets off of Vaughn’s chest then Officer Shore, and what appears to be Sergeant Kibbey, turn Vaughn onto his stomach.
Charges Against Jermaine Vaughn
Not surprisingly, Jermaine Vaughn was charged with resisting arrest. This is the usual fallback charge that police use. But also unsurprisingly, you can see how Vaughn was given instructions that he could not comply with. Being unable to lean back, without causing bodily injury to himself, is not the same as refusing to lean back. Just as being unable to turn over, because an officer is kneeling on you, is not the same as refusing to turn over.
Police Chief Orders a Criminal Investigation
Once IMPD Chief Randal Taylor became aware of the incident, he ordered a criminal investigation, along with an internal affairs investigation. You have to give him credit for acting as soon as he found out, but my concern is why did it take so long to find out?
The arrest happened on September 24. Chief Taylor became aware of the excessive force incident on October 6. Why did it take 12 days before the report got to someone who would order an investigation? And what did the officer’s report say regarding the incident? Did they try to downplay it? Is that why it slid under the radar for almost two weeks? Did the real circumstances only come to light after the video was reviewed?
What was said in the officer’s report is relevant. It needs to be compared to the video so we can all see how truthful, or not, the officers were when writing their reports.
Felony Charges Filed Against Sergeant
Sergeant Huxley, who has been with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department for 14 years, was charged with “official misconduct and battery with moderate bodily injury.” Both of those charges are felonies. Huxley has been suspended without pay.
Huxley’s bodycam video is NOT one of the videos that has been released.
According to IndyStar.com,
Huxley in body camera footage not yet released by police can reportedly be heard saying: “I accidentally kicked him in his face. I was attempting to put my foot on his shoulder, and I accidentally kicked him in his face,” after the arrest, according to the affidavit.
This statement appears to me to be a CYA statement. Something he can refer to if called out on his actions. ‘See, I even said at the time…’ But if you watch the video, particularly the first one, it sure appears to be a deliberate attempt to stomp on Vaughn’s face. He was not “putting” his foot anywhere. He was stomping down. Vaughn is not thrashing his head around. He’s looking at Officer Shore when he gets stomped in the face. Huxley didn’t miss his target. He hit exactly what he was aiming for.
The criminal investigation is continuing. We don’t know yet if Sergeant Kibbey and Officer Stone will be facing any charges. I imagine that will depend on what they wrote in their reports. Did they try to cover up what happened, or did they report the excessive force by Sergeant Huxley?
Video of Police Violence
WARNING, the below video is disturbing and shows police violence. The initial part of the video is the statement from the police department, followed by a statement by Police Chief Taylor. The bodycam video begins at the 6 minute, 25 second mark.