ACLU of Indiana Sends Letter to Elkhart Mayor Regarding Police Department Use of Excessive Force

December 4, 2018

INDIANAPOLIS – The ACLU of Indiana today sent a letter to Elkhart Mayor, Tim Neese, offering recommendations for responding to misconduct and use of excessive force within the Elkhart Police Department.

“Elkhart’s history of police misconduct requires a thorough examination and policy recommendation by a proven, independent third-party expert such as, the Leadership Conference Education Fund and Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the Center for Policing Equity or the NYU Policing Project,” said Jane Henegar, executive director of the ACLU of Indiana. “We urge Mayor Neese and the Board of Public Safety to abandon any proposal that would establish a review board consisting solely of law enforcement officers.”

According to the letter, the Mayor’s call for an investigation of the Department of Justice is not realistic at this time, because the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division has been largely stripped of its power to negotiate consent decrees and other settlement agreements regulating patterns and practices of police enforcement. Under the Trump administration, the Justice Department has pulled back from providing this kind of state investigative reform.

“It is simply not realistic to expect that the Justice Department will be able to carry out the kind of investigation and reform that the Elkhart Police Department needs,” said Jane Henegar, executive director of the ACLU of Indiana. “We hope that Mayor Neese will take these recommendations to heart as he works to ensure that Elkhart is a safe and welcoming city, in which all community members can share confidence and trust in their local law enforcement and elected officials.”

The full text of the letter is available here:  https://www.aclu-in.org/sites/default/files/field_documents/18_12_04_elkhart_mayor_police.pdf

December 4, 2018, “ACLU of Indiana Sends Letter to Elkhart Mayor Regarding Police Department Use of Excessive Force”, https://www.aclu.org/news/aclu-indiana-sends-letter-elkhart-mayor-regarding-police-department-use-excessive-force

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Indiana Police Face Allegations Of Police Brutality

NPR’s Steve Inskeep speaks with reporters Christian Sheckler of the South Bend Tribune and Ken Armstrong of ProPublica about systemic corruption in the police department of Elkhart, Ind.

 

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Elkhart, Ind., is being forced to confront allegations of brutality on its police force. Elkhart is an industrial city famous for making RVs and musical instruments, and now it’s known for this. The mayor acknowledged this week that he suspended the police chief amid an investigation of police shootings and beatings.

Two journalists obtained video of police punching a handcuffed suspect, and that was just the beginning of the story we hear from Christian Sheckler of the South Bend Tribune and Ken Armstrong of ProPublica, who worked on this story together. Gentlemen, good morning.

KEN ARMSTRONG: Good morning, Steve.

CHRISTIAN SHECKLER: Good morning, Steve.

INSKEEP: So, Christian, what does this video show?

SHECKLER: A man named Mario Guerrero Ledesma, handcuffed with his hands behind his back, sitting in a chair in a detention area of the Elkhart Police Department. There are four police officers standing nearby. At one point, Mario Guerrero Ledesma appears to be preparing to spit. One of the officers standing closest to him, Corporal Cory Newland, warns him…

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

CORY NEWLAND: Don’t spit.

SHECKLER: …Don’t spit. Ledesma spits toward Newland, and both Corporal Newland and another officer, Joshua Titus, grab Ledesma, push him backwards onto the floor, while he’s still seated…

(SOUNDBITE OF SCUFFLE)

SHECKLER: …His head strikes the floor, and both officers jump on top of him and punch him in the face repeatedly.

INSKEEP: When did this happen?

SHECKLER: This happened on January 12 of this year.

INSKEEP: And how did this incident come to your attention? And how did the video come to your attention?

SHECKLER: The South Bend Tribune was investigating disciplinary matters in the Elkhart Police Department, in partnership with ProPublica. There are not many disciplinary cases that have been brought forward to the city’s civilian oversight board, but this was one of them. We noticed it from looking at minutes of the meetings of the civilian oversight board, that, in June, the police chief, Ed Windbigler, had brought forward written reprimands for two officers for a violation of the department’s policy for use of necessary force.

INSKEEP: Oh, this is a case where the police department did see an abuse and did discipline the officers, but then the question arises whether reprimands were enough for actually beating a suspect in handcuffs at the time.

SHECKLER: That’s correct. There are also questions about how accurately the police chief described what had happened when he went before the civilian oversight board.

INSKEEP: What do you mean? Didn’t he say that the police punched a suspect?

SHECKLER: No, he didn’t. The police chief described what had happened as these two officers having gone a little overboard.

INSKEEP: So you have this incident where there was a euphemism that essentially became an alleged cover-up of a beating. And let’s bring in Ken Armstrong of ProPublica. How does this fit in with the broader record of the Elkhart, Ind., Police Department when you began looking into that?

ARMSTRONG: Well, what we discovered is that under the current police chief, disciplinary actions have plummeted. In the 10 years before the current police chief took office, the prior police chiefs brought an average of 20 disciplinary actions a year to the civilian oversight board. In the first year under the current police chief, the number of disciplinary actions brought to the board was zero.

INSKEEP: Is it remotely possible that the number of disciplinary cases went down drastically because the police department behaved better?

ARMSTRONG: I think that video would argue otherwise.

INSKEEP: This video shows a man who ultimately had to be carried away on a stretcher. Are there many cases that you found where someone was seriously hurt?

SHECKLER: This is certainly the only case that we’ve seen under the current chief where officers were disciplined over an allegation of excessive force. We don’t know if there are more. The mayor of Elkhart actually reached out to the Indiana State Police to ask them to investigate his police department. The state police declined and said that that would be more appropriate for the U.S. Department of Justice.

ARMSTRONG: And, Steve, as we started looking at the department’s history, we discovered that there were a disproportionate number of fatal shootings by police officers in Elkhart. There were six people shot and killed by police officers in a five-year period. If you compare that to New York City, the numbers are pretty extraordinary. In those same five years, New York City had seven times the shootings with 160 times the people.

INSKEEP: Oh, so if I’m living in Elkhart, Ind., statistically speaking, I’m way more likely to be shot by a police officer than in New York.

ARMSTRONG: The numbers would say so, yes.

INSKEEP: So the person who is willing to look into this at the moment is the mayor of Elkhart. In this video that you published, one of the four officers who’s in the room is identified as the mayor’s son. He’s not one of the people who throws a punch, but he’s there. How would you say the mayor has done under the pressure of your reporting in this story?

SHECKLER: Well, the mayor now said that he has suspended the police chief for 30 days without pay. The two officers who actually threw the punches are currently on administrative leave, with pay, pending the ongoing criminal case that has been filed against them. But the two other officers who were in that same room when the beating took place – including the mayor’s son, who is a sergeant on the police force – to our knowledge, have not been disciplined.

INSKEEP: You have described concerns about police abuse and the futility of finding anyone to investigate them. Theoretically, the police should investigate themselves. It’s alleged that didn’t happen here or didn’t happen seriously. But you say there was also this outside civilian review board, which is really normal. Is that outside review board completely powerless to investigate on its own, and is that normal across the country?

SHECKLER: It seems that the amount of questioning and investigating that these boards do is determined by what they would like to do.

ARMSTRONG: And what also we’ve found is that, nationally, it appears that the trend with civilian oversight is greater independence from the police department. Elkhart, in the last couple of years, has gone the opposite direction.

INSKEEP: We’ve been listening to Christian Sheckler of the South Bend Tribune and Ken Armstrong of ProPublica. Both worked on this story about the Elkhart, Ind., Police Department. Thank you, gentlemen.

ARMSTRONG: Thank you, Steve.

SHECKLER: Thank you, Steve.

 

Morning Edition, “Indiana Police Face Allegations Of Police Brutality”, https://www.npr.org/2018/11/29/671799943/indiana-police-face-allegations-of-police-brutality

LPD officer charged with official misconduct, theft

Ron Wilkins, Lafayette Journal & Courier Published 4:45 p.m. ET Nov. 13, 2018

 

LAFAYETTE — Lafayette police Officer Kevin R. Price faces charges of official misconduct and theft.

Prosecutors charged the Lafayette patrolman on Tuesday.

Price sold department-owned ammunition to a person late last month, according to the probable cause affidavit.

After the first sale of Lafayette police ammunition to the man, Price, 35, 914 S. 14th St., Lafayette, again texted the man, asking if he knew anyone who wanted to buy ammunition, according to the affidavit.

The man who purchased the ammunition returned the unused rounds to the police department, according to the affidavit.

Police recovered those text messages from Price’s cellphone, according to the affidavit.

Price was put on administrative leave last week, and he is awaiting departmental discipline in front of the civil merit commission.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Price has not been booked into the Tippecanoe County Jail, according to jail officers.

“LPD officer charged with official misconduct, theft”, https://www.jconline.com/story/news/crime/2018/11/13/lafayette-police-officer-charged-official-misconduct-and-theft/1992859002/

Elkhart cops to be charged after video shows them beating handcuffed man

Elkhart Police
A still frame from security camera footage of Elkhart Police officers punching a handcuffed man while in their custody.

Two Elkhart police officers who punched a handcuffed man in the face more than 10 times will face criminal charges — 11 months after the fact, and only after the South Bend Tribune requested video of the incident as part of an ongoing investigation with ProPublica.

The two officers, Cory Newland and Joshua Titus, will be charged with misdemeanor counts of battery, the police department announced Friday. Both have been placed on administrative leave pending the case’s outcome, department spokesman Sgt. Travis Snider said.

The department also released video of the beating after 5 p.m. Friday — more than three weeks after The Tribune requested a copy.

Five months ago, the two officers were disciplined for this incident. But they received only reprimands rather than suspensions or possible termination.

Speaking to the city’s civilian oversight commission in June, Police Chief Ed Windbigler said the officers used “a little more force than needed” with a suspect in custody, and “just went a little overboard when they took him to the ground.” But Windbigler offered no other details, saying nothing of the two officers punching the man in the face.

The video was recorded in the police station’s detention area after the Jan. 12 arrest of Mario Guerrero Ledesma, who was 28 at the time. The footage shows Ledesma, in handcuffs, sitting in a chair while Newland, Titus and two other officers stand nearby. At one point, Ledesma prepares to spit at Newland, and the officer warns him not to.

As Ledesma spits, Newland and Titus immediately tackle him, and the back of his head strikes the concrete floor. The two officers then jump on him and punch him in the face repeatedly while one calls him an expletive.

Video: Video: Elkhart cops repeatedly punch handcuffed man in station

The two other officers walk up casually as the punches are being thrown. “Stop,” one can be heard saying, as the beating ends.

Ledesma pleaded guilty in July to charges of domestic battery and resisting law enforcement, and he was sentenced to a year in jail, with 133 days suspended.

The Tribune and the nonprofit news organization ProPublica have been investigating criminal justice in Elkhart County, looking at police accountability, among other issues.

A Tribune reporter requested the Ledesma video after noting a disparity between Windbigler’s public description to the Police Merit Commission — the city panel that exercises civilian oversight — and what the chief wrote in personnel records.

In a June 12 letter of reprimand to Newland, Windbigler wrote: “I completely understand defending yourself during an altercation. However, striking a handcuffed subject in the face is not acceptable and will not be tolerated. We cannot let our emotions direct our reactions or over-reactions to situations such as this.”

Windbigler ended his disciplinary letters, to both Newland and Titus, on an upbeat note: “I consider this matter closed!”

At the June 25 meeting of the Police Merit Commission, chairman James Rieckhoff asked Windbigler if anyone had been injured in this incident.

“No,” Windbigler said.

Windbigler, explaining why he opted for only reprimands, told the commission that Titus “had no previous complaints.” He said of Newland: “Here, again, he had no other incidents in his file, so this is his first incident of any type of force.”

“Any questions on this one?” Rieckhoff asked the commission’s other members.

“Just a comment,” commissioner Thomas Barber said. “I like how you police your own.”

“Yes, sir,” Windbigler said.

On Friday, The Tribune requested an interview with the chief. But Snider, the police spokesman, said the department would have no further comment beyond its announcement of the pending charges. Neither Newland nor Titus immediately returned messages left at their department phone lines. Attempts to reach them at other phone numbers were unsuccessful.

History of misconduct

For Newland, the reprimand was not his first disciplinary incident. It was his ninth, according to personnel records gathered by The Tribune and ProPublica.

After being hired in 2008, Newland was suspended six times and reprimanded twice in his first five years.

In 2009, Newland was “very rude and unprofessional,” using profanity toward a member of the public while responding to a call, personnel records say. The police chief at the time, Dale Pflibsen, suspended Newland for one day. “You have been employed for just over one year and this is not the first allegation of you verbally loosing (sic) control towards the public,” Pflibsen wrote to Newland.

“I want to emphasize we will not tolerate this behavior from you towards anyone,” Pflibsen added. “If you plan on continuing your career at the Elkhart Police Department I suggest you seek counseling for anger management.”

The next year, in 2010, Newland was suspended one day for causing a car crash.

In 2011, Newland received a three-day suspension for conduct unbecoming an officer. After arresting a woman for public nudity — she and her boyfriend were having sex in their car, in

Elkhart’s McNaughton park — Newland sent her a friend request on Facebook and seven text messages, asking to “hang out.”

“Needless to say you attempting to establish a relationship with this female, a defendant in a criminal case, is unprofessional,” Pflibsen wrote to Newland. “This type of conduct will not be tolerated by you or anyone else.”

One year later, in February 2012, Newland was suspended again, this time for one day. Newland, while off duty, flipped off another driver — who, it turned out, was a jail officer in St. Joseph County, according to a disciplinary letter. Newland also drove recklessly, “brake checking” the other driver, according to disciplinary records.

“Should there be another sustained allegation of this type of misconduct on or off duty I will seriously consider your termination from the Elkhart Police Department,” Chief Pflibsen wrote to Newland.

Exactly one week later, still in February, Newland received a three-day suspension for not turning on his video-audio recording equipment “while on numerous calls and traffic stops,” a disciplinary notice says.

Newland’s last suspension — and his longest, for 35 days — came in the summer of 2013. Newland failed to investigate a woman’s complaint of domestic violence, then lied about it to his superiors, according to disciplinary records.

When asked directly by supervisors if the woman had said her husband hit her, Newland “indicated that she had not made any such statement, and only that there was some pushing involved,” a disciplinary letter said. But “within minutes of the end of the interview,” Newland “returned and informed his supervisors that the victim had, in fact, reported being hit by her husband.”

An audio recording captured the woman telling Newland she had been hit, and that her husband did so in front of her children, a disciplinary letter says.

Newland’s failure to be truthful did more than violate department policy, Chief Pflibsen wrote to the civilian oversight board. If a police officer testifies as a witness, authorities must disclose if the officer “has been dishonest in his or her official capacity,” Pflibsen wrote, adding: “This incident has been referred to the Prosecutor’s Office and may have a significant detrimental impact on their ability to prosecute this case.”

“Elkhart cops to be charged after video shows them beating handcuffed man”,  https://www.southbendtribune.com/news/publicsafety/elkhartjustice/elkhart-cops-to-be-charged-after-video-shows-them-beating/article_401f6756-613b-53b0-91ad-b15b6276489a.html

Indiana State Police Officer Resigns After Misconduct Probe

Authorities say an Indiana State Police officer has resigned following a sexual misconduct investigation involving a minor.

GREENSBURG, Ind. (AP) — Authorities say an Indiana State Police officer has resigned following a sexual misconduct investigation involving a minor.

State police say 54-year-old Jack R. Hewitt of Greensburg was arrested Thursday by the Decatur County sheriff’s department and is jailed pending a court hearing.

Police say they were notified of allegations against Hewitt by another law enforcement officer on Aug. 9 and he was placed on paid administrative leave. Police say he resigned Thursday and was arrested after results of a police investigation were presented to prosecutors.

Court records didn’t list a lawyer for Hewitt. State police didn’t release specifics about the allegations, which also include sexual battery.

Hewitt has been employed by the state police since 1998 and was most recently assigned to the Versailles post.

 

Aug. 25, 2017, Associated Press, Indiana State Police Officer Resigns After Misconduct Probe, https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/indiana/articles/2017-08-25/indiana-state-police-officer-resigns-after-misconduct-probe

Former Michigan City police officer arrested on rape charges

Thomas K. Jackson

LA PORTE COUNTY, Ind. (WNDU) A Michigan City police officer who resigned last month has been arrested on four counts of rape.

The investigation into 51-year-old Thomas K. Jackson of Trail Creek began after reports of inappropriate sexual contact between Jackson and an adult woman with “diminished mental capabilities.”

Michigan City Police Chief Mark Swistek requested that La Porte County Sheriff John Boyd lead an investigation.

Each of the four rape charges is a level 3 felony. An arrest warrant was issued Monday.

On Tuesday morning, Jackson was spotted at a convenience store and taken into custody. He was transported to the La Porte County Jail where he is currently being held in lieu of a $25,000 cash only bond.

According to the La Porte County Sheriff’s Office, Jackson resigned from the Michigan City Police Department on March 14.

From the La Porte County Sheriff’s Office:

The La Porte County Sheriff’ and the La Porte County Prosecuting Attorney announced the arrest of 51 year old THOMAS K. JACKSON of Trail Creek on four (4) counts of Rape, all level 3 felonies.

The investigation was initiated in March of 2017, after Michigan City Police Chief Mark Swistek requested that the La Porte County Sheriff John Boyd lead an investigation involving Michigan City Police Officer Thomas Jackson. The request for the Sheriff’s investigation stemmed from the report of inappropriate sexual contact between Jackson and the adult daughter of a La Porte County woman who was reported to have such diminished mental capabilities that she could not consent to such activity. Sheriff Boyd tasked veteran Detective Sergeant Brian Piergalski with the investigation which was conducted in close coordination with Prosecuting Attorney John Espar.

On Monday, April 24, 2017, Det. Sgt. Piergalski and Deputy Prosecutor Catherine Hurst presented a Probable Cause Affidavit and a 4-Count Charging Information, alleging 4 counts of Rape, each as a Level 3 Felony to La Porte County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Alevizos. Judge Alevizos found probable cause for the charges and issued a criminal arrest warrant for the arrest of Jackson.

At approximately 7:35 a.m. on Tuesday, April 25, JACKSON was observed at a convenience store near Trail Creek and was taken into custody without incident by members of the La Porte County Sheriff’s Office Detective Bureau and members of the Michigan City Fugitive Apprehension Street Team (FAST). He was transported to the La Porte County Jail where he is currently being held in lieu of a $25,000 cash only bond.

On March 14, 2017, Jackson resigned from the Michigan City Police Department.

Prosecuting Attorney Espar commended the prompt investigative request of Chief Swistek and the thorough investigative efforts of Sheriff Boyd’s Detective Bureau, and in particular, the meticulous work of Det. Sgt. Piergalski.

*The charges against the defendant are merely accusations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

http://www.wndu.com/content/news/Former-Michigan-City-police-officer-arrested-on-rape-charges-420386943.html?platform=hootsuite

FBI, Indiana Troopers Raid Lake County Sheriff Offices

By

Police Car Lights

Photo: Scott Davidson (Flickr)

Investigators entered the sheriff’s offices at the Lake County Government Center in Crown Point about 9:30 a.m. Thursday.

The FBI and Indiana State Police have raided the offices of Lake County Sheriff John Buncich.

Investigators entered the offices of the Lake County Government Center in Crown Point Thursday morning and left later with several boxes of documents.

U.S. Attorney spokesman Ryan Holmes says search warrants were served but declined to comment on the nature of the investigation.

Dean Delisle tells The (Northwest Indiana) Times he was in an office where police records are kept seeking a copy of an accident report when investigators entered and ordered everybody including the sheriff’s employees to leave the building. He says investigators began “taking pictures of everything.”

State and federal investigators’ cars also were parked outside Buncich’s home in Crown Point.

A spokesman for Buncich says his department is cooperating with the FBI.

The Times reports:

A source within county government said federal agents then fanned out to the Lake County Voter Registration and Election offices, where vote totals are kept, the Lake County E-911 offices and other departments within the administration building.

The Lake County Jail, where the sheriff has offices, has been under a U.S. Department of Justice mandate for the last eight years for failing to meet federal healthcare standards for inmates.

http://indianapublicmedia.org/news/fbi-indiana-troopers-raid-lake-county-sheriff-offices-108848/?platform=hootsuite

Video ‘indisputably contradicts’ SB police in excessive force case

A South Bend man fought the law, and this time, the law lost. Royce Love, 36, had two criminal convictions reversed by the Indiana Court of Appeals.

“It’s a very rare case, it’s not something I’ve seen in over 21 years of doing appeals,” said attorney Jeffrey Kimmel.

Royce Love claimed that police used gratuitous violence during an arrest in August of 2013, and the justices essentially agreed after reviewing dash cam video of the incident.

During his arrest, Love was tased twice, kicked three times, including once in the head, struck a couple of times in the torso and bitten on the arm by a police dog.

The Indiana Court of Appeals ruling states, “we cannot blind ourselves to the videotape evidence.” The ruling goes on to state, “We find that the particular use of force by the officers was not objectively reasonable.”

The officers had testified at trial that Love was completely uncooperative, had ignored their commands and wouldn’t stop walking away.

The ruling found that the video “indisputably contradicts” such statements.

“The most important thing it shows is that Royce love got out of his van, after he was stopped, and got down on the ground, and complied with police commands,” said Kimmel. “That he was non-combative and that he was lying flat on the ground.”

The opinion reads, “”Prior to the officers use of force, Love had not made threatening or violent actions towards the officers, but, in effecting the arrest, the officers nevertheless tased him twice and deployed a dog who bit him.”

During a jury trial in 2015, Royce Love was convicted of resisting law enforcement and the mistreatment of a law enforcement animal.

Those are the convictions that were reversed by the Court of Appeals ruling.

The opinion cites a legal theory that when police use excessive force, they’re no longer acting in the lawful performance of their duties—in other words, one can’t be convicted of resisting law enforcement when law enforcement itself is acting unlawful.
The ordeal began in August of 2013 when Love ran a stop light and lead police on a five minute low speed chase. Love was convicted of resisting law enforcement in connection with the chase and did not challenge that conviction.
Love essentially agree that he deserved to be arrested but not with such violence and force.

“He does feel vindicated because he believes that now there’s a just result he was punished and excepted punishment for what he did in leading police on the chase but happy to know he wasn’t convicted of things that he was not guilty of,” attorney Kimmel said.

The two convictions that were reversed were both class A misdemeanors.

The Court of Appeals opinion on the Love case was a split decision. One of the three judges dissented saying, “my colleagues and I are asked to make judgments based upon the reading of a script, a transcript. However we are often not in the best position to make decisions about which witnesses to believe or which piece of evidence is most important….we are not present at the trial or hearing.”

A written statement from the office of Mayor Pete Buttigieg said the mayor takes all use of force cases seriously but that he could not comment on this one because there is civil litigation pending.

Kimmel said he could not comment on the civil suit.

Among the officers who were involved in the arrest were Officer Greg Howard, Officer Erik Schlegelmilch, Officer Jonathan Gray, and Officer Larry Sanchez.

 

http://www.wndu.com/content/news/Video-indisputably-contradicts-SB-police-in-excessive-force-case-392939261.html?platform=hootsuite

Lake County, Ind., deputy charged with driving drunk in Lake County hit-and-run

Guy Mikulich.

Guy Mikulich. (Lake County Sheriff’s Department.)

Monday, July 11, 2016

A sheriff’s officer in Lake County, Indiana, is accused of driving drunk and causing a hit-and-run crash.

Indiana State Police said Sheriff’s Lieutenant Guy Mikulich was in an unmarked police car when he struck a 34-year-old man from Frankfort, Illinois, who was standing outside his minivan on Oak Avenue in Miller Beach at 4:48 p.m. Sunday.

Mikulich, a 16-year veteran of the department, had been working the Gary Air Show and had been released from his post, state police said.

A police officer pulled him over in the 5900-block of Hemlock Avenue shortly after the crash, investigators said. The victim was transported to North Lake Methodist Hospital with serious injuries.

State police said Mikulich was found to have a blood alcohol content of 0.15 percent.

Mikulich was charged with operating while intoxicated causing bodily harm and leaving the scene of an accident. Late Sunday night, he was booked into Lake County Jail and bonded out early Monday morning.

Mikulich was placed on paid administrative leave.

“His actions are in no way representative of the fine men and women of the Lake County Sheriff’s Department,” said Lake County Sheriff John Buncich.

Buncich said he asked the officer to resign, but hasn’t received a response.

Cop shot unarmed 17 year old in the back.

http://up.anv.bz/latest/anvload.html?key=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
Published: June 22, 2016, 12:55 pm Updated: June 22, 2016,

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) Fort Wayne Police Chief Garry Hamilton said Wednesday the city teenager shot by one of his officers during a gang investigation midday Tuesday was armed at some point, but it’s not clear what happened to the weapon as the only gun found at the scene was in a car that later pulled up to the scene.

Hamilton addressed the media around 11:15 a.m. Wednesday, less than a full day after Officer Robert Hollo shot the 17-year-old boy just before 1:30 p.m. Tuesday while on an investigation in the 2800 block of Smith Street, near the Whitney M. Young Early Childhood Center at East Pontiac Street.

Police said Tuesday that teen was armed when Officer Hollo fired four shots at him as the boy and two others were being chased. On Wednesday though, Hamilton admitted that “the officer thought he saw a subject with a gun,” but a gun was never found on the teenager or near him.

Hamilton said the gun police said was found at the scene was inside a car that pulled up next to the squad car after the incident unfolded. The driver of that car admitted he had a gun in the car and had come to the scene after he heard gunshots, Hamilton said.

Hamilton said he held the press conference Wednesday to remain fully transparent with the public.

According to Hollo’s personal record, released by Hamilton Wednesday, the 8-year veteran officer has received two letters of reprimand and a suspension for police vehicle accidents, and two letters of commendation. He currently has two pending lawsuits and another that was settled.

The police department’s gang inspection team was in the area following up on a previous shooting in the area Monday evening, Hamilton said. The chief said the uniformed officer had been in an unmarked car when three teenagers approached the vehicle. He said the teens perhaps thought the car was involved in the previous night’s shooting.

As the teens approached, Hamilton said Hollo got out of the squad car. At that point, he said the teens saw Hollo was an officer and they ran off. As Hollo was chasing after them, Hamilton said witnesses heard him order them to stop repeatedly and they did not comply.

Hamilton said at some point then, Hollo thought he saw a gun on one of the teens. He then fired four shots, one that struck the teen. The other two teens ran off.

No gun was found on the teen.

Hamilton said the police department is frustrated with the city’s violent crime, a majority which involves young African Americans as victims and suspects. The chief invited local NAACP head Larry Gist to attend Wednesday’s conference.

“African American men are the victims and the suspects in these crimes. For me personally being an African American male and chief of police, it’s a really a painful thing to see this take place,” Chief Gary Hamilton said.

 

http://wane.com/2016/06/22/police-chief-teen-shot-by-police-was-unarmed/?platform=hootsuite