NewsEducation / September 16, 2019

IMPD Officer Charged, Faces Firing For Allegedly Punching Shortridge Student

IMPD Officer Charged, Faces Firing For Allegedly Punching Shortridge StudentMarion County Prosecutor Terry Curry says video evidence was crucial in the investigation leading to the five charges against the officer.IMPD, Indianapolis Public Schools, Terry Curry, Shortridge High School2019-09-16T00:00:00-04:00
IMPD Officer Charged, Faces Firing For Allegedly Punching Shortridge Student

Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry talks about the charges against an IMPD officer alleged to have punched a Shortridge High School Student, on Monday Sept. 16, 2019.

Eric Weddle/WFYI

Felony charges were filed Monday against the Indianapolis police officer caught on video hitting a 17-year-old student outside Shortridge High School last month.

Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry says video evidence was crucial in the investigation leading to the five charges against IMPD Officer Robert Lawson, including a Class A Misdemeanor for the battery of the teen.

Indianapolis police officers were called to Shortridge High School on Aug. 29 help school police handle a large fight inside the school. Afterward, the 17-year-old, who was involved in the altercation in the school, began to leave the school grounds with his aunt.

A verbal altercation between the aunt, Danielle Pointer, and IMPD Officer Lawson outside the school was captured on video released through social media. In the video, Pointer and Lawson yell at each other as the boy walks between them and stands still before Lawson strikes the student in the face.

The video shows the student falling to the ground. The officer is white and the boy is black.

In Lawson’s police report, he said he used an open hand strike because he was in fear of the teen. Lawson also reported another officer at the scene told him she saw student swing his fist at Lawson right before Lawson struck the student.

But the Marion County Chief Trial Deputy Ryan Mears says multiple videos and witness evidence disputed Lawson’s account.

Instead, Mears says, the evidence found Lawson was allegedly not in fear and he used a closed fist to hit the student in the face and kneed the student in the chest or abdomen area. Additionally, according to the charging documents, the officer who Lawson said witnessed the teen's attempt to punch him, denied making the statement that she saw it happen.

“In fact, the video evidence, as well as the witness statements directly contradict Officer Lawson’s report,” Mears said. “There are a number of, not only inaccuracies but also false statements that relate to material facts.”

Lawson is charged with battery, Class A Misdemeanor. Plus, based on Lawson’s alleged false statements made while reporting the incident in the official documentation, he is charged with obstruction of justice, a Level 6 Felony; perjury, a Level 6 Felony; false informing, a Class B Misdemeanor; and official misconduct, a Level 6 Felony.

Lawson turned himself in Monday afternoon, under arrangements made between his attorney and the court.

Indianapolis attorney Terrance Kinnard filed a federal lawsuit against IMPD over the incident. Kinnard’s represents the student and Pointer, the student’s aunt.

Contact WFYI education reporter Eric Weddle at eweddle@wfyi.org or call (317) 614-0470. Follow on Twitter: @ericweddle.

At WFYI, our goal is to cover stories that matter to you. Our reporting is rooted in facts. It considers all perspectives and is available to everyone. We dont have paywalls, but we do need support. So if unbiased, trusted journalism is important to you, please join us. Donate now.

 

 

Related News

Will 3 Takeover Schools -- Emma Donnan, Howe & Manual -- Become Charters? Today Is The Public Hearing
International School Garden Project Yields Produce, Cultural Connections
Charters Rejected For Takeover Schools Donnan, Howe & Manual, Paving Way For Return To IPS