An Indianapolis Metropolitan Police officer is under fire after video surfaced of him sucker-punching a Black high school student.
On Saturday, IMPD police chief Bryan Roach, condemned the officer’s actions.
“Over the last 36 hours, IMPD leadership has spent time reviewing the video of Thursday’s incident at Shortridge High School and engaged in extensive internal discussions,” Roach said in the statement. “The video shows a clear image of a closed fist punch to the face, a technique which is not taught or reasonable given the facts known to us at this time.”
A video was uploaded to Facebook which appeared to show a cop punching a 17-year-old Shortridge High School student after responding to a call of a “large fight” at the school, The Indianapolis Star reports.
An officer asked: “You want to go to jail? Let’s go,” and then punches the teen in the side of his head.
Just before the officer appears to hit the boy on the side of his face, he appeared to have his arms down by his sides at the time the officer struck him. The boy was knocked down and a woman helped him up.
The officer has since been suspended without pay, Roach said.
“The incident has been turned over to investigators, who understand this case is a priority and have been advised to be as timely as possible,” Roach said in the statement. “The facts brought forward through the ongoing investigations in both the criminal and administrative processes will then be used to determine any final decisions.”
In a statement, IPS Superintendent Aleesia Johnson, sympathized with the the unidentified teenager.
“As a Black woman and a mother of black children, it isn’t possible to watch the video of the incident that occurred yesterday at Shortridge without immediately thinking about the other incidents in our country that occur between white police officers and Black people, especially males,” Johnson said. “Often, I am left feeling a number of emotions — devastation often chief among them.”
Johnson vowed “to support the school-wide culture, with students planning alongside administrators.”
“But, even as all of those efforts are underway, we have a district priority around a racial equity mindset for a reason,” Johnson said. “And while our IPS team investigates and awaits the outcomes of the IMPD investigation, we can’t ignore how the dynamics of race in both our city and our country consistently undergird these situations and leave our community feeling angry, hurt and, in some cases, hopeless.
“I refuse to be hopeless. I look forward to those of us who are a part of the larger TeamIPS community engaging in these challenging conversations in the weeks and months to come. I hope our community will join us.”
The boy’s family has retained an attorney and is considering litigation.
“Like many, we are shocked by the behavior depicted in the video currently circulating on social media networks,” said Attorney Terrance Kinnard.
“Over the coming days my staff and I will investigate all of the facts before deciding on a proper course of action. In the meanwhile, I urge the public to allow the investigation to take place in an orderly fashion.”