INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — An Indianapolis police officer who was captured on video punching a high school student was sentenced Monday to 363 days probation for official misconduct.
A jury in November convicted Robert Lawson of official misconduct, perjury and false informing, but the latter two charges were vacated by a judge Monday. Jurors found that he made a false statement while under oath about the circumstances surrounding his confrontation with the student.
Lawson was videotaped hitting the 17-year-old male student in 2019 outside Shortridge High School. The video was posted on social media.
Lawson had claimed he was defending himself, but prosecutors said he struck the student “without a legitimate concern for self-defense.”
Officials said at the time that the student was not taken into custody and no charges were filed against him.
The 17-year-old had been involved in the fight in the school and was being escorted off the school’s property when the altercation between him, Lawson and the student’s aunt occurred.
Lawson has been suspended without pay since the August 2019 incident. An IMPD spokesperson said the Civilian Police Merit Board will hold a hearing on whether Lawson should be terminated. Attorney John Kautzman said the felony conviction means Lawson will likely lose his job.