INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.-- An Indianapolis woman claims the justice system has failed her and her family after a special prosecutor declined to file charges against two IMPD officers who fatally shot her father in June.
The special prosecutor assigned to the case, Kenneth P. Cotter, announced Tuesday that no charges would be filed against the two officers who fatally shot Aaron Bailey on June 29. Police said Bailey drove away from a traffic stop and crashed his car. Two IMPD officers opened fire, striking him. An autopsy report provided by an attorney representing Bailey’s family showed he was hit four times in the back. Police said they did not find a weapon in his vehicle.
"I feel like the system has failed me and my family," said Erica Bailey. "I try so hard not to cry, but as I’m looking at my family members they have to tell me somebody I’m supposed to trust is not gonna go get charges or anything for my dad’s murder when we didn’t have any answers from the beginning- just doesn’t make and sense to me and my family at this time."
She said Cotter told the family "he knew something wasn't right," but still didn't have enough to file charges.
"I kept my faith, I try to still keep my faith with the system, thinking maybe they would do the right thing in their heart," she said. "The prosecutor tells us even that he knew something wasn’t right, so if something wasn’t right then why didn’t you file charges or why aren’t we going to a jury? It’s just like, for officers to go back to work and kill a man who didn’t have a gun on him doesn’t make any sense to me."
The officers were placed on unpaid leave during the investigation. IMPD has a press conference scheduled for 10 a.m. Wednesday morning to address the decision. Erica said the officers should be terminated.
"They should be terminated. They’re not arrested, they’re not nothing--they make laws in the world and if you make laws for us to obey by them even though you have a badge that doesn’t make it your right for you to kill anybody," she said. "It just doesn’t make it okay."
She said officers were just "scared of anybody out that night." She believes the officers were following Bailey and "waiting for something to happen."
"If you seen my father around the corner cause his door’s open, that does not mean he was guilty of anything, so you basically waiting for something to happen. You basically followed my dad."
Erica said she was upset when they told her the officers would be going home.
"I just feel like today when they told me the cops was going home-- I felt like somebody else would get killed," she said. "If cops feel like they can just shoot somebody unarmed because they’re scared, then don’t be an officer. Now I don’t feel like going out here again and I’m just so torn up...We’re supposed to trust the law. Right now that’s really hard to do, so my word to the community is to come out and keep on fighting justice for my father because I won’t stop. Not only for my dad but for your guys’ family and kids too, because this is the future and if we don’t change it now it can happen again.
"There ain’t no justice right now. This is not justice to go home after all these days I’ve been waiting and praying and everything and for them to tell me the cops are basically gonna go home, no jury, no charges filed, it’s like a slap in the face. It’s basically telling me we don’t have laws."
The family filed a civil lawsuit against the City of Indianapolis and the officers involved in Bailey's death. That lawsuit is still in federal court.
“It’s obviously very frustrating. The family was obviously hoping to get some kind of justice through the criminal procedure- that’s apparently not gonna happen, so we continue on with the civil claim and we have not given up,” said Craig Karpe, the family's attorney. “They will continue to pursue justice on behalf of Aaron Bailey and this is not over yet.”
The FBI continues to look into the case as a civil rights investigation. W. Jay Abbott, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Indianapolis Division, issued this statement:
“FBI Indianapolis’ civil rights investigation into the fatal June 2017 shooting of Aaron Bailey by officers of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department remains open. The FBI will review all available evidence and facts and will conduct additional investigative steps where appropriate.
We are coordinating with the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Indiana and the Department of Justice to determine whether a violation of federal civil rights has occurred. As this is an ongoing investigation, we are not able to comment further at this time.”