NewsEducation / August 31, 2019

IMPD Suspends Officer Shown In Video Punching IPS Student

IMPD Suspends Officer Shown In Video Punching IPS Student

A video posted to social media appears to show an IMPD officer striking a 17-year-old IPS students in the face on the steps of Shortridge High School on Thursday, Aug. 29, 2019.


The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department placed an officer on administrative leave after a video shared on social media showed him punching a 17-year-old boy Thursday at Shortridge High School.

Officers were called to the school to assist school police handle a large fight. Afterwards, a confrontation began between an adult, a student and police took place on the high school's outside steps on Meridian Street.

On Saturday, Police Chief Bryan Roach said department leadership spent hours reviewing video of the incident.

"The video shows a clear image of a closed fist punch to the face, a technique which is not taught or reasonable given the facts known to us at this time,” Roach said in a statemtn. “The incident has been turned over to investigators, who understand this case is a priority and have been advised to be as timely as possible."

Friday IMPD suspended the officer without pay. 

"The facts brought forward through the ongoing investigations in both the criminal and administrative processes will then be used to determine any final decisions," the statement said.

The 27-second video starts with officers yelling at a woman and others, and gesturing for them to leave the school property. 

"You want to go to jail?," one of the officers says. "Let's go."

The teen then walks between an officer and the woman and stands facing the officer. 

"You better chill out bro," someone can be heard saying to the officer.

The video then shows one officer strike the boy on the left side of his face. The video shows the boy falling to the ground.

The officer is white and the boy is black. The officer's name hasn't been released.

"During the course of the investigation, force was used by an IMPD officer. An IMPD supervisor arrived to conduct a preliminary investigation, per policy," IMPD said in a statement. "In addition, the IMPD Internal Affairs Unit has been directed to conduct an internal investigation of the incident."

WTHR-TV reports the boy struck by the officer has been suspended for five days.

IPS Superintendent Aleesia Johnson says the video immediately brings to mind incidents between white police officers and black people in the country. 

"And while our IPS team investigates and awaits the outcomes of the IMPD investigation, we can’t ignore how the dynamics of race in both our city and our country consistently undergird these situations and leave our community feeling angry, hurt and, in some cases, hopeless," she said in a statement posted on Facebook. "I refuse to be hopeless."

Indianapolis attorney Terrance Kinnard says he has been retained by the family of the boy.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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