INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Delaware County prosecutor’s office has cleared two Muncie police officers of any wrongdoing related to an officer-involved shooting earlier this year.
Chief Deputy Prosecutor Eric Hoffman said the two officers acted in self-defense as the suspect, Charles Dinkins, attempted to run them over during a traffic stop and subsequent chase this past March.
“I personally reviewed the case to determine whether the officers were legally justified in using force and whether they committed any crimes in using that force. My conclusion was and is that the officers discharged their weapons in self defense as Mr Dinkins attempted to hit them and run them over with his vehicle. Under the law in the State of Indiana, they were justified in using deadly force to terminate Mr. Dinkins’ attempted attack upon them. Yesterday’s jury verdict finding Dinkins guilty of attempted aggravated battery upon the officers, in my mind, reaffirms that I made the correct decision. Police officers have the absolute right to use force, including deadly force, to protect their own lives and the lives of others,” Hoffman said in an email to I-Team 8.
A jury convicted Dinkins this week on charges of aggravated battery, criminal recklessness, resisting law enforcement and leaving the scene of an accident, according to online court records.
The Muncie Police Department also released dramatic body camera video of that incident.
The clip released by the department provides the perspective from only one officer involved in the incident. By WISH-TV’s count, at least eight shots can be heard on the video clip that lasts approximately one minute.
During the video, the officer can be heard screaming: “Shots fired, shots fired.”
And later, telling a female passenger in Dinkins’ car to “get on the ground.”
The officer who does not identify himself in the video, later speaks into his radio, saying: “Negative, he tried to run us over.”
The two officers — identified by the department only as Patrol Officers Thorton and Dennis — opened fire on suspect Charles Dinkins as officers attempted to pull him over.
Dinkins survived the shooting and was convicted this week. His sentencing hearing is set for 9 a.m. Aug. 23.
Police say Dinkins led police to the U.S. Postal Service Facility at 501 W. Memorial Drive, eventually driving into a gate at the back of the building. Before the driver crashed, a female passenger got out of the vehicle. Police say as officers assisted the female, the driver of the Cavalier drove back across the lot and drove directly at officers, refusing to stop again.
The body camera footage shows a car refusing to stop and moving past the officers, but it is unclear from the video if there were other attempts to strike the officers.
The video shows officers opening fire as Dinkins attempts to flee the scene.
Police say Dinkins continued to drive the car out of the lot until crashing at 13th Street and Elliot Street, just a few blocks away.
Darrell White lives across from the post office. White had this advice, “Better think twice. Use your head. Use common sense instead of violence.”
Dinkins was transported to IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital for treatment.