A former New Castle Police Department officer has been indicted on federal charges for using excessive force against three individuals while they were being detained by law enforcement.
Aaron Strong, 44, was indicted July 7 by a federal grand jury in Indianapolis on three counts of deprivation under color of law and one count of witness tampering. Each of the civil rights charges carries a maximum penalty of 10 years of imprisonment while the witness tampering charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years.
The U.S. Department of Justice did not respond to a request for more information.
According to the Department of Justice, Strong was found to have violated the civil rights of the three individuals by using “unreasonable force when he assaulted” arrestee J.W. and pretrial detainees T.C. and E.S. The indictment also alleges Strong used “dangerous weapons” in the assaults against J.W. and E.S. All three individuals suffered injuries.
Also, Strong is alleged to have tampered with a witness in connection with the assault on J.W. The press release stated Strong misled another person with “the intent to hinder, delay, and prevent” information from being provided to a federal law enforcement officer.
Strong, while a New Castle Police lieutenant, pleaded guilty in February 2020 to one count of criminal recklessness, a Class B misdemeanor, for allegedly assaulting a man who had surrendered to police.
According to the Indiana State Police, officers were approaching the unidentified man to handcuff him around 1:30 am in August 2019 when Strong allegedly arrived and allegedly began using his expandable baton to strike the suspect, who was laying on the ground.
Strong’s sentence of 180 days in the Henry County Jail was suspended and he was placed on probation for 180 days. Madison County Prosecutor Rodney Cummings was assigned as the special prosecutor the case, State of Indiana v. Aaron J. Strong, 33C02-2001-CM-000014.
The case that resulted in the federal indictment against Strong was investigated by the FBI Indianapolis Field Office and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter Blackett for the Southern District of Indiana and trial attorney Alec Ward of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.
Strong’s attorney was not identified.