Chief: 2 officers to face IMPD board over shooting of unarmed man

IMPD Chief Roach (WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indianapolis’ police chief said Wednesday he will decide “as soon as possible” whether to discipline two officers involved in the Aaron Bailey shooting.

Bryan Roach made the remarks while speaking for the first time publicly since a special prosecutor announced the officers will not face criminal charges.

Officers shot and killed Bailey, an unarmed black man, June 29 after police said he drove away from a traffic stop, led police on a chase and crashed into a tree. Officers said they saw Bailey looking through the car’s center console and thought he was searching for a weapon, according to a report from the special prosecutor, Ken Cotter of St. Joseph County.

Roach said he is forwarding reports to a firearms review board, which is made up of Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department members. The board will investigate whether officers Michel Dinnsen and Calrton Howard violated department policy. It’s ultimately up to Roach whether to discipline them and, if so, how.

“I want the Bailey family to know that I understand the frustration and the anguish and the pain that comes from losing a loved one and the tragic events that occurred back in June,” Roach said. “At the same time, also the understanding that the decision of the special prosecutor was not one that they wanted.”

Roach said the firearm review board will meet this week to discuss the case. They’ll question officers Dinnsen and Howard possibly as soon as Friday. But the board can only recommend to Roach whether the officers violated policy.

“Any discipline that occurs is my responsibility. That discipline can run the gamut,” Roach said.

Aaron Bailey’s daughter, Erica Bailey, attended a rally Tuesday night outside Roach’s office.

“I’m upset. I’m mad. I’m tired,” Erica Bailey said at the rally. “It’s been four months. You all didn’t give me an answer at the beginning. And now you all want to tell me at the end that it’s over with.”

Roach said Wednesday he appreciates the peaceful demonstrations.

He said he doesn’t know exactly when he’ll decide whether to discipline the officers.

The chief said IMPD leaders are considering whether there’s anything they can change to become a better department.

“I’m proud of the resolve of our officers,” Roach said. “It’s difficult with national climate. The frustration that many people feel with systems within society. And, so often, that frustration is taken out on our police officers.”

24-Hour News 8 left a message with the Bailey family’s lawyer, asking what they thought of the chief’s comments. We have not heard back.

Roach revealed Wednesday that officer Dinnsen is white and Howard is biracial — white and African-American. They are both currently on administrative duties and they are both still getting paid.

A former Marion County prosecutor weighed in on the decision Wednesday morning and spoke on why he thinks the decision didn’t go to a grand jury.

Timeline

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. The special prosecutor was appointed the next day.

Sept. 21: Bailey’s family — his sister and two surviving adult children — filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis. The lawsuit against IMPD and two officers — named in the lawsuit, Carlton Howard and Michal Dinnsen — asks the court to convene a jury to determine whether the IMPD’s policies violate federal laws and to award the family monetary damages.

Oct. 31: The special prosecutor appointed in the case, St. Joseph County’s Ken Cotter, announces no criminal charges will be filed against the police officers involved in the Bailey shooting. A small rally at the City-County Building and a press conference by Aaron’s daughter followed the announcement from the prosecutor. The FBI said it was continuing its investigation of the fatal shooting.

Nov. 1: IMPD chief Brian Roach said he will decide “as soon as possible” whether to discipline two officers involved in the shooting. Both officers were being paid while on administrative duties.