Man says officer stole cash during traffic stop


INDIANAPOLIS - An IMPD officer, a 23 year veteran of the force, is on the other side of the law.  Officer David Butler has been charged with robbery and official misconduct after police say he robbed people during traffic stops.  And investigators say more victims could come forward.

32 year old Emiliano Vasquez was one of those alleged victims.  "He got the hat and the gloves.  Jacket.  Everything," said Vasquez. 

That's all he remembered about the IMPD Officer he says pulled him over at a west side Marathon Gas Station on West 34th Street.  Vasquez said the officer ordered him out of his truck.

"He told me put your wallet on your seat and go out," remembered Vasquez.  But what Vasquez recalled even more than that, was what he discovered once the traffic stop was over.

"I no see my money," he said.

Once the officer left, Vasquez discovered he was missing $700 from his wallet. 

"Before he stop me, I have money," Vasquez explained.  Money Vasquez said he was saving.  "I need to send money for Mexico, my father is sick," said Vasquez.

The details of the traffic stop involving Vasquez were spelled out in an affidavit of probable cause from the Marion County Prosecutor's office.  In it, they charged Butler with robbery and official misconduct after a three month internal investigation by the department.

The affidavit alleged Butler used his police car and uniform to make at least  three traffic stops where he stole more than 12-hundred dollars total from Latino men he pulled over on his Northwest beat after threatening to arrest them for driver's license violations.

"He told me, 'the next time I take you to jail.'  He told me, 'you understand?'  I told him, 'yeah, I understand.'   It's police.  Everything he say, I understand," said Vasquez.  And Vasquez said  he understood something else, even about some of the people sworn to serve and protect.

"It's not good police," he added.

Police are asking you to call their professional standards division if you know anyone who may have been the victim of a similar incident.  That number is 327-2944.


Earlier story:

INDIANAPOLIS - A Metro Police officer faces charges of robbery and official misconduct.

Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry announced the charges against David Butler Friday.

Butler is accused of conducting traffic stops on the northwest side on two separate occasions where drivers discovered money stolen from their wallets following the stop. Both victims reported the thefts to IMPD.

David Butler was taken into custody by IMPD Friday. His case will be heard in Criminal Court 1.

Police are asking those who have information about similar incidents to call the Professional Standards division at 327-2944.

Following is a statement from Mayor Greg Ballard on the arrest of IMPD Officer David Butler:

"Today's arrest of IMPD police officer David Butler demonstrates my administration's commitment to hold accountable any officer whose conduct tarnishes the police department's badge and disregards the oath they took to protect the Indianapolis community. The alleged actions of this individual officer do not diminish the outstanding police work being done by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department or its commitment to protecting our City with dignity, integrity and respect."