A Black man is suing the city of Indianapolis, its police department and an officer who arrested him in 2021, alleging that the officer kicked him in the face while he was handcuffed.
The lawsuit filed last week by Jermaine Vaughn in Marion County alleges that Sgt. Eric Huxley “used excessive and unlawful force when he viciously attacked and kicked” Vaughn while arresting him at downtown Indianapolis’ Monument Circle.
Vaughn’s suit names as defendants the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, the city of Indianapolis, Huxley and two other officers who were with him during Vaughn’s arrest, The Indianapolis Star reported.
The complaint, which seeks unspecified monetary damages, says Vaughn was the victim of intentional battery, unlawful and excessive force, official misconduct and negligence.
Indianapolis’ Office of Corporation Counsel said Wednesday in a statement that it does not comment on pending litigation.
Huxley was indicted by a federal grand jury in October, accused of using excessive force and charged “with violating the civil rights of an arrestee by using excessive force.” The indictment identifies the victim only as J.V., but Vaughn’s attorney, Robert B. Turner, said Wednesday that Vaughn is the victim described in the indictment.
That case is ongoing, as is a criminal case Huxley faces in Marion County, where he is charged with two felonies: official misconduct and battery resulting in moderate bodily injury.
Body camera footage that police released of Vaughn’s Sept. 24, 2021, arrest show an officer forcing Vaughn to the ground near steps at Monument Circle. Seconds later, it shows Huxley thrusting his foot down onto Vaughn’s face, according to The Indianapolis Star.
Vaughn’s lawsuit alleges that he was in handcuffs as he was being detained on suspicion of disorderly conduct.
Huxley was suspended from IMPD without pay after the 2021 incident.
After his arrest, Vaughn was charged with two misdemeanors of disorderly conduct and resisting law enforcement, but those charges were dismissed two weeks later.
Turner said Vaughn was homeless when he was arrested and that the video of his arrest “tells its own story.”
“We’re certainly not saying that Indianapolis has a bad police department. They have great officers on the Indianapolis police department, but in this case this is an officer who simply went too far,” he said, adding, “These are things that are happening all over the nation.”
Chief Randal Taylor has condemned Huxley’s alleged action and recommended his termination to the department’s Civilian Police Merit Board, which will review that recommendation when Huxley’s criminal cases conclude.