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Federal investigation opened for use of force case against IMPD sergeant

IMPD body camera footage showed Sgt. Eric Huxley kick a handcuffed man in the face, which immediately caused his mouth to bleed.

INDIANAPOLIS — EDITOR'S NOTE: The above video is graphic in nature and includes strong language.

The United States Attorney's Office and FBI are looking into the incident in which an IMPD officer was seen on camera kicking a handcuffed man in the face.

"The United States Attorney's Office is aware of the incident involving an IMPD officer and Jermaine Vaughn. Our office and the FBI have opened an investigation, and if the investigation reveals prosecutable violations of any federal criminal statutes, the Department will take appropriate action," said acting U.S. attorney John E. Childress in a news release.

According to court documents, Sgt. Eric Huxley, who has spent 14 years with IMPD and is assigned to the downtown district, has been charged with official misconduct of a public servant and battery resulting in moderate bodily injury. Both charges are felonies.

RELATED: IMPD sergeant facing criminal charges in use of force case

Credit: IMPD
Eric Huxley

IMPD said Huxley was assisting another officer making an arrest on Monument Circle when the incident happened on Friday, Sept. 24. Upon learning of the incident on Wed. Oct. 6, Chief Randal Taylor launched a special investigation into Huxley's use of force.

During a news conference Tuesday, IMPD Lt. Shane Foley said the charges stem from the internal investigation. Huxley has since been suspended without pay, and Taylor has recommended Huxley's termination to the Civilian Police Merit Board.

"I promised this community and I promised our officers that I would be transparent and that's in good times and bad times," Taylor said during the news conference. "And this is a bad time, but I think the community deserves it."

WARNING: The video below contains graphic language and images. It may not be appropriate for all audiences.

There were two other officers involved in the incident, Sgt. Christopher Kibbey and Officer Matthew Shores. Their body cameras showed the disturbing footage.

They responded to Monument Circle after a call of disorderly conduct. According to the probable cause affidavit, Kibbey heard Vaughn being "loud and disorderly," and asked him to quiet down. When he didn't, Shores arrested him.

While Vaughn was in handcuffs, body cam video shows Shores forced him to the ground. While he was on his back with his hands in cuffs, Huxley kicked him in the face, immediately causing his mouth to bleed.

"Today's body-worn camera recording depicting the actions of an IMPD Sergeant will likely shock and anger you, like it did to me," Taylor said. "To the citizen involved in this incident, my thoughts and prayers go out to you. That interaction does not represent IMPD and the work our officers do each day to keep our community safe."

RELATED: Community leaders applaud IMPD’s swift action in use of force case

According court records, a separate officer's body camera footage reveals Huxley claimed he accidentally kicked Vaughn in the face, when he meant to place his foot on Vaughn's shoulder.

Taylor said Vaughn was then taken to jail, but did not receive medical treatment following the incident.

Kibbey and Shores were placed on administrative leave, pending the outcome of the investigation. The IMPD Internal Affairs investigation is ongoing, but Kibbey and Shores are not facing criminal charges, and Taylor said he didn't expect that would happen.

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