IMPD officer accused of excessive force in arrest of man suffering epileptic seizure

IMPD arresting a man after he suffered an epileptic seizure. (Courtesy: Jon Knox)

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) —Store security video shows an Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officer on top of a man who suffered an epileptic seizure at a Speedway gas station one year ago.

The man's family believes the officer used unnecessary and excessive force to restrain Chris Knox. The Knox family is upset with the way police handled the situation and the lack of training to deal with seizures.

The video from the Speedway at 10th Street and Lynhurst Drive in March 2018 shows Chris Knox approach the service counter and collapse to the ground. IMPD Officer Maurice Norris responded to the call of a man having a seizure. He observed Chris sitting on the floor for about 30 seconds after arriving before taking action to physically restrain him.

"All of a sudden he reaches down there and puts him in a choke hold and puts his knee in his back and goes from there,” said Darrell Knox, Chris’ father, describing what he saw in the video. “It just escalated."

Officer Norris wrestled with Chris for two minutes before the two men separated. When Officer Tiffany Christy arrived as backup, Officer Norris tackled Chris, throwing him to the ground.

"She started helping the other officer,” said Darrell. “I would say beat him instead of control him. They were kicking him, cussing, everything. Then they tased him also."

A customer's cell phone video includes audio of the incident. Officer Christy can be heard shouting for Chris to stop resisting while both officers are on top of him. Chris is heard crying out in pain.

Chris' father Darrell has power of attorney over his 32-year-old son. Darrell says Chris has suffered epileptic seizures about once a month for 15 years.

"He has violent seizures,” said Darrell. “When I say violent, I mean he flails his arms and his body. Me and my son, both of us, we can't even hold him down. He’s just extra strong, if you will."

Darrell took his concerns before the Indianapolis Citizens' Police Complaint Board. The Board reviewed the videos and has exonerated Officer Christy. But the Board sustained allegations against Officer Norris of excessive force and violating arrest procedures.

The board is waiting for Chief Bryan Roach to approve or deny the board's disposition.

"If this happens again, which I'm sure it's going to, they need to be trained better,” Darrell said. “At least have one medical officer go in there instead of just an officer that decides they're going to kick the crap out of my son."

Darrell says Chris has no recollection of what happened to him at the gas station a year ago. Chris was arrested during the incident, but all charges were dropped. Darrell says he wants an apology from IMPD.

IMPD has not responded to a request from Eyewitness News for comment on the status of the case. Chief Roach may offer his response when the Citizens Police Complaint Board meets on Monday.