Sergeant Eric Huxley has been charged with official misconduct and battery with moderate bodily injury.
Trigger Warning: Police Brutality, Possible Racism
According to authorities, an Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) officer will face criminal charges after body camera footage showed him kicking a handcuffed man in the head in the midst of an arrest. Following an internal investigation, Marion County District Attorney charged Sergeant Eric Huxley with official misconduct as well as battery with moderate bodily injury in relation to a September 24 arrest of Jermaine Vaughn at the city's Monument Circle, IMPD Lieutenant Shane Foley announced during a news conference on Tuesday. In addition to the criminal charges, the officer will possibly face termination from the force, CNN reports.
The United States Attorney’s Office and FBI are also investigating this. https://t.co/K5ZBre66rt— Tyler Fenwick, B.A. (@Ty_Fenwick) October 13, 2021
For the time being, Sergeant Huxley has been suspended without pay. IMPD Chief Randal Taylor has recommended that the officer be terminated permanently for his crime. In the meantime, an IMPD Internal Affairs investigation is ongoing. As per a news release from the IMPD, the department has also contacted the FBI and United States Attorney's office about this incident. "To the citizen involved in this incident, my thoughts and prayers go out to you," Chief Taylor shared in a statement. "That interaction does not represent IMPD and the work our officers do each day to keep our community safe."
YOUR NEWS NOW: The United States Attorney's Office has announced it is opening a federal investigation with the FBI into the use of force incident involving an IMPD officer.https://t.co/9wp7FHmKfl— CBS4 Indy (@CBS4Indy) October 13, 2021
Body camera video of the incident displays Sergeant Huxley kicking Vaughn, a Black man, in the head. While this is taking place, the victim is on his back and handcuffed. After a scuffle, the officer is heard telling Vaughn, "You're done." Taylor said the video was "difficult to watch." The officer claimed he only "accidentally" kicked Vaughn in the face. He alleged that he meant to place his foot on Vaughn's shoulder. Huxley was one of three IMPD officers called in for an investigation of a disorderly conduct altercation on Monument Circle on September 24. Chief Taylor said it was unlikely for the other two responding officers to face criminal charges. At present, they are on administrative duty pending the conclusion of the internal investigation.
The Justice Department has opened an investigation into Indianapolis police officer Eric Huxley after he kicked a man in the face during an arrest. https://t.co/YZLtUDXEQf— IndyStar (@indystar) October 13, 2021
Vaughn was arrested and taken to jail, where he did not receive medical treatment, the Chief revealed. The incident only came to light through internal use-of-force review procedures. Taylor was only made aware of the incident on Wednesday, which prompted him to conduct "an expedited internal affairs investigation and Special Investigation Unit investigation." He stated regarding the release of the body camera footage, "Transparency is one of those things that we've been striving for. We've done that because we want to build the correct relationship with the community that we need to have."
When asked if race played a role in the altercation, Chief Taylor vehemently denied the accusation. He clarified that "no racial epithets" were utilized during the incident. "I would be disgusted," he stated. "I would have an issue with that, but I understand, I understand what people will think." Although no racial epithets were referenced, the use of force against Black individuals by White officers is often disproportionate and far too frequent with the crime police officials are called in to investigate. It may be premature to rule out racial motivations.