INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Two IMPD officers remain on administrative duties after a video surfaced showing the officers repeatedly kicking and using a stun gun on a suspect as he was on the ground. The department’s internal affairs unit is now looking into the matter following an I-Team 8 investigation.
On Friday, the attorneys representing 29-year-old suspect Marcus Jackson called the video “disturbing.”
The online video – which starts and stops – has prompted IMPD officials to question if it had been altered.
“What we want is the truth. Whether or not that video was altered or not, there’s disturbing images in that video. It’s hard for us to imagine what justifications there are for some of the things that we saw,” said Jackson’s attorney, Charles Hayes.
No one is disputing the fact that the officers kicked and repeatedly used their stun guns on Jackson. In fact, a probable cause affidavit filed by police states that Officer Justin Beaton feared for his safety and used “foot strikes” and deployed his stun gun on Jackson repeatedly in an effort to subdue him. The court records go on to state that Jackson had repeatedly ignored the officers’ verbal commands, became aggressive and at one point charged the officers.
One video posted on social media sites shows Jackson being kicked repeatedly as he laid near the intersection of 25th and Baltimore streets on the east side of Indianapolis.
The incident involving Jackson – and the subsequent videos obtained by I-Team 8 showing portions of his arrest and aftermath – have prompted questions and criticism of the officers’ actions by several witnesses.
Those witnesses interviewed by I-Team 8 all shared similar concerns that officers’ actions once Jackson was on the ground went too far. Another witness, who admitted he did not see the officers kick Jackson, said the officers were within their rights and that Jackson ignored officers’ commands.
“When the officer tells you to do something, that’s what you are supposed to do,” said one witness, who asked not to be identified. The man later admitted he left the area before Jackson was kicked, but still contends the officers’ were using appropriate tactics.
Jackson, who was charged with possession of marijuana, public intoxication and resisting law enforcement, later admitted to medics that he had smoked “wet” or formaldehyde.
Hayes would not comment when pressed by a reporter about if his client remembers charging the officers or how many times his client was kicked.
“We’re not here to rush to judgment. We want to facilitate an investigation and find out what actually happened that day,” Hayes said.
Hayes said he and his co-counsel, Kathleen Sweeney, would be interested in viewing additional videos, finding those who shot them and speaking with witnesses before determining whether or not to file a civil lawsuit.
During one of the cell phone videos obtained by I-Team 8, an officer can be heard explaining to onlookers that Jackson had charged the officers. That explanation was little consolation to many who had gathered to watch the arrest.
“The police – I think that policeman was out of line – kicking that man when he was already down,” said Deborah Nelson, one of several witnesses interviewed by I-Team 8.
Another woman, Tamika Banks, can be heard questioning the actions of the officers on another cell phone video obtained by I-Team 8.
“Regardless of what he was coming off of, [police] had no business kicking him the way that they did,” Banks told I-Team 8 in a subsequent interview.
IMPD declined to do an on camera interview, saying the matter was still being investigated by the department’s internal affairs unit. Chief Rick Hite was still in Washington D.C. and unavailable for comment, according to Lt. Chris Bailey.
The department did provide a statement on Thursday saying: “The IMPD is aware of the video and the Internal Affairs Unit is investigating the incident.”