Sgt Eric Huxley: Police officer charged after video appears to show him stomp on Black man’s head

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A police officer has been charged after bodycam footage appears to show him stomping on a Black man’s head in Indianapolis, Indiana.

The white officer, 43-year-old Sergeant Eric Huxley, has been charged with two felonies after the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department released footage this week. Sgt Huxley has spent 14 years on the police force and has now been charged with official misconduct and battery with moderate bodily injury.

Video footage appears to show that Sgt Huxley stomped on the head of a handcuffed homeless man, 39-year-old Jermaine Vaughn, during an arrest. The officer’s actions are also being investigated by federal authorities. On 24 September Mr Vaughn was handcuffed on the ground when another officer’s body camera appeared to capture the moment when Sgt Huxley moved towards Mr Vaughn and used his left foot to stomp on his head.

Police Chief Randal Taylor said on Tuesday that Sgt Huxley’s actions were “outrageous” and “totally uncalled for”. The department has said that Sgt Huxley has been suspended without pay and that Chief Taylor will recommend that he be removed from the force.

“I’m upset. It hurts me to see any of our officers treat someone the way that you’re going to see here shortly. No excuse for it,” Chief Taylor said referring to the bodycam video. Mr Vaughn was being arrested on suspicion of disorderly conduct. “I promised this community, and I promised our officers, that I would be transparent. That’s in good times and bad times. This is a bad time.”

Police said that they have been in contact with the FBI and the office of the US Attorney concerning the case.

In a statement on Wednesday, John Childress, the acting US attorney for Southern Indiana, said: “The United States Attorney’s Office is aware of the incident involving an IMPD officer and Jermaine Vaughn. Our office and the FBI have opened an investigation, and if the investigation reveals prosecutable violations of any federal criminal statutes, the Department will take appropriate action.”

Sgt Huxley’s lawyer John Kautzman said his client will prove that his actions weren’t illegal and that he didn’t have criminal intent.

“Over the course of his nearly 15-year career, Sgt Huxley has been an exemplary police officer. He has never before faced criminal charges or any type of department discipline or excessive force allegations,” Mr Kautzman said, according to NBC News.

“He is very sorry about any pain caused to Mr Vaughn as a result of his actions and the negative scrutiny upon his Department and fellow officers,” he added. “This incident resulted from his perception of the need to attempt a trained police technique that unfortunately struck Mr Vaughn in an unintended area of his body.”

Police have said that the other two officers involved in the incident have been put on administrative leave while an internal investigation is conducted.

More follows…

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