INDIANAPOLIS — A federal grand jury indicted an IMPD sergeant Tuesday for violating a man's civil rights by using excessive force while arresting him.
Sgt. Eric Huxley, 44, is charged with one count of deprivation of rights under color of law. Huxley is a 15-year veteran with the department.
On Sept. 24, 2021, IMPD officers were called to apprehend Jermaine Vaughn, who was homeless, on Monument Circle.
The indictment alleges Huxley kicked Vaughn in the head and face without lawful jurisdiction during the arrest.
In September 2022, two IMPD officers filed a lawsuit against the department for retaliation after reporting their sergeant in the incident.
One of the officers held Vaughn's legs while the other handcuffed him. While Vaughn is on the ground, Huxley can be seen on body camera video kicking Vaughn in the face.
Huxley remains suspended without pay pending a recommendation of termination to the IMPD Civilian Police Merit Board. The Civilian Police Merit Board only reviews an officer’s status once the criminal process is completed.
“This incident was unnecessary and should have never occurred. I would not tolerate this behavior from any community member; Sergeant Huxley is no exception," said IMPD Chief Randal Taylor. "As law enforcement officers, we must understand that this behavior violates the community's trust. We have confidence the judicial system will bring justice to Mr. Vaughn and his family."
"In this case, there were video cameras, there were witness accounts, showing this real thing that happened and so the chief taking it seriously is a huge culture shift," said Indiana University criminal justice professor Stephanie Whitehead.
Whitehead said cases against an officer for excessive use of force didn't used to move forward in court.
"Before, they would kind of hide these events and protect the officers and grand juries were ... it was rare for them to actually go forward with a case and with charges," said Whitehead. "Now that grand juries are more educated, that police chiefs are taking it seriously, you've got this real shift in our culture to where, now, cases like this are now actually given high-profile attention, even local cases, you know this is going to a federal grand jury."
The two officers with Huxley the day of the arrest said they reported the alleged excessive use of force to superiors. After which, the officers allege the department accused them of not making a timely report and placed them on administrative leave. The two said IMPD then had them turn in their current patrol vehicles for older models that were "determined to be unsafe."
The officers said they were removed from regular duty and not permitted to work overtime, part-time or any other form of security duty. They claim their fellow employees treated them with "disdain and as being untrustworthy and disloyal."
The officers claim in the lawsuit that when IMPD held a news conference on the incident, they were implicated along with Huxley in the excessive force incident.
The officers are seeking punitive and other damages in an amount to be determined at trial. They're also requesting legal fees be covered.
The two officers have also filled charges of employment discrimination against IMPD with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
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