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Indy woman sues IMPD, Marion County Sheriff’s Office claiming use of excessive force

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – An Indianapolis woman has filed a federal lawsuit against the Marion County Sheriff’s Office and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department claiming law enforcement used excessive force during an arrest in January.

“All I know is that I was on the ground,” said plaintiff Kim Townsend.

“This is a matter where you have trained law enforcement that acted in a totally outrageous manner,” said Townsend’s attorney, Greg Kulis of Gregory E. Kulis & Associates Ltd.

Surveillance video from Jan. 6, 2016 shows the moment when Marion County sheriff’s deputies and IMPD officers took Townsend into police custody.

“I felt a punch in the back of my head. I felt a kick to my face and someone stepping on my hands and feet,” said Townsend.

The video of the arrest was given to FOX59 by Kulis who says the use of force was unnecessary, unreasonable and unprovoked.

“Police officers grab her in a very forceful manner and throw her to the pavement like she is a rag doll. As a result, Kim was seriously injured,” said Kulis.

What the video does not show is what led up to Townsend’s arrest. According to a police report, a sheriff’s deputy tried to pull Townsend over for failure to use a turn signal. Deputies say at first Townsend did come to a complete stop near 33rd and Graceland, but then took off, leading police on a chase for more than 5 miles.

According to the police report, Townsend stopped her car in the alleyway at the Julian Center on North Meridian and got out of her car. Investigators say she tried to run inside of that building.

“I was not running away from them. That is where I lived,” said Townsend.

According to the lawsuit, Townsend suffered torn ligaments, knocked out teeth and has fractures in her face. She is suing for compensation for medical bills. She is currently facing charges of resisting law enforcement and operating a vehicle as a habitual traffic violator.

“I’m just trying to take it one day at a time to build my life back up,” said Townsend.

FOX59 reached out to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office and IMPD about the case and asked them to review the surveillance video with us and provide an on-camera interview or written statement. Both departments say they do not comment on pending litigation.