Family of man shot by police sues IMPD, 2 officers in federal court

Aaron Bailey. (Photo Provided)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The family of an Indianapolis man fatally shot by police nearly three months ago has sued the city’s police department and two of its officers.

Aaron Bailey’s family — his sister and two surviving adult children — filed the lawsuit Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis. The lawsuit against Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and two officers — named in the lawsuit, Carlton Howard and Michal Dinnsen — asks the court to convene a jury to determine whether the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department’s policies violate federal laws and to award the family monetary damages.

  • A timeline of the Bailey case and a copy of the lawsuit are at the conclusion of this article.

The lawsuit claims the officers used excessive force and violated the Fourth and Fourteenth amendments, which involve due process and probable cause.

In the early morning hours of June 29, Bailey, 45, led police on a chase northwest of downtown and crashed his car. He was unarmed when exiting the vehicle, and two officers opened fire. Bailey died about a half hour later at a local hospital.

Police shot at Bailey 11 times, the lawsuit says, and four bullets struck him in the back.

After the shooting, police searched the vehicle and found no firearms inside it.

Police also arrested 26-year old Shiwanda Ward, who was in the car with Bailey, on a charge of possession of paraphernalia. The only witness, she was not injured.

The officers also were unharmed.

The lawsuit says Bailey’s death revealed a number of failures by the police department, its culture and the two officers:

  • Failure to implement proper implicit bias training for its officers, resulting in “deliberate indifference” toward Bailey.
  • Failure to use body cameras, amounting to “a lack of accountability for officers who use unreasonable and excessive force.”
  • “Police misconduct is foreseeable without proper observation and accountability.”
  • “A culture of indifference and tolerance of officers’ use of excessive and reasonable force has permeated the department.”
  • “IMPD’s failure to properly or sufficiently discipline officers that apply excessive and unreasonable force has led to the acceptance of that conduct and the actions of” the officers.

Donald Morgan, Indianapolis’ chief litigation counsel, told The Associated Press on Thursday that the city does not comment on pending litigation.

Both officers were placed on administrative leave after the shooting and now are administrative duty.

Bailey is black. Dinnsen is white. Howard is biracial.


Here is a timeline of events since the shooting:

July 11: The FBI announced it has launched a civil rights investigation into the fatal shooting.

July 14: Mayor Joe Hogsett announced new policies including more training on racial bias and bringing in experts to analyze how officers are being trained. He also called for a review of the Citizens Police Complaint Board, and the opening of an IMPD Office of Diversity to track local trends and create a Use of Force Board to review incidents where an officer uses force.

July 15: Hundreds gathered at the Indiana Statehouse, including members of Bailey’s family, and called for justice for Bailey.

July 17: Bailey’s family issued a statement thanking the mayor for the new policies and reviews. “We are encouraged by the Mayor’s words, but anxious to see deadlines and concrete steps taken.”

July 19: Bailey’s family, in an interview with 24-Hour News 8, called for a special prosecutor to review whether the officers’ actions were criminal. The family also said it was looking into a civil lawsuit.

Aug. 10: Family and community activists held a press conference and rally to demand justice for Bailey.

Aug. 22: The Marion County prosecutor filed a request to bring in a special prosecutor to look into Bailey’s fatal shooting, and the family said it was happy to see another step taken in the process. The mayor called on IMPD to fully cooperate with the special prosecutor.