IMPD chief looks to fire two officers after fatal shooting of unarmed man

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Chief Bryan Roach on June 29, 2017, discusses an early morning police-action shooting. (WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The chief of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department is suspending the two officers involved in the fatal shooting of Aaron Bailey, an unarmed man who fled from officers.

Aaron Bailey. (Photo Provided)

IMPD Chief Bryan Roach is also recommending the termination of officers Carlton Howard and Michel Dinnsen. The department determined that the officers’ use of deadly force “rises to a level so far removed from accepted professional practice and community expectation that it severely damages public trust of its police department.”

A release from IMPD stated that:

  • “After considering IMPD’s training and policies, the facts presented to the Board, the Board’s recommendation, the opinions of his executive staff, and his own 27 years of experience, Chief Roach reached the following conclusions: Sufficient reason did not exist to believe that deadly force was necessary to affect the arrest of Mr. Bailey, nor to believe Mr. Bailey posed a threat of serious bodily injury to the officer or any third person.”
  • “There was a failure by the officers to apply their training regarding high-risk traffic stops, which would have allowed them to better assess the situation. By following IMPD training, the officers would have allowed themselves time, distance, cover, and a safer encounter for the officers, Mr. Bailey, and Ms. Ward.”
  • “One of IMPD’s values states: The protection and perseveration of life is our fundamental objective. We will only use deadly force when necessary to protect the life of a citizen or officer and when other options are not reasonably available. There were other reasonable options available to the officers in this incident.”

The officers were cleared of criminal wrongdoing by a special prosecutor from St. Joseph County on Oct. 31.

The prosecutor, Ken Cotter, determined the officers acted in self-defense when firing at Bailey on June 29.

After being pulled over that morning, Bailey led officers on a chase before crashing his vehicle. Officers saw Bailey “digging” through the center console of his vehicle and fired 11 shots at him, striking him four times. Officers said that Bailey ignored instructions to show his hands.

26-year old Shiwanda Ward, who was in the car with Bailey, was arrested on a charge of possession of paraphernalia. She, along with the officers, was unharmed in the shooting.

The special prosecutor’s report stated that Bailey was driving on a suspended license. Ward said the battery in Bailey’s GPS ankle bracelet had died and that is why he thought he was being pulled over.

On the same day as that announcement was made, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett called on the department to “launch a full administrative review into the actions that led to this police action shooting” and to “complete it as quickly as is responsible.”

In a meeting on Nov. 3, the officers spoke before IMPD’s Firearms Review Board. It was then determined that the officers did not comply with department training and policy.

Roach’s recommendation will now go to the Civilian Police Merit Board.

Indianapolis Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge #86 learned of the decision of the IMPD Chief of Police to suspend the officers without pay involved in the Police Action Shooting on June 29, 2017 and recommend their termination to the Civilian Police Merit Board.

The president of the Indianapolis Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 86, issued this statement Monday night:

“This is a tragedy for all involved.  We understand and appreciate the public’s concern whenever officers are faced with the difficult, split second decision to defend themselves and others against a potentially armed suspect.

We are seeking further documentation to better understand the basis for the Chief’s decision as it relates to departmental policies, departmental training, and especially in light of the published decision of the Special Prosecutor.

In the interim, the police department has procedures in place that make sure there is a fair and impartial review of all allegations.  We take the decision of the Chief of Police seriously and we are diligently working to obtain all of the information surrounding this matter as soon as possible. It remains our objective to ensure a thorough review and a fair process for everyone.”