INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett told FOX59 News that he found it “difficult” to watch the recently released body-worn camera video of three IMPD officers shooting a man who had been asleep in a car with a gun in his lap in the 3600 block of North Oxford Street on the morning of Dec. 31, 2022.
”It’s a difficult video to watch. I’m glad that Mr. Maclin is in recovery and feeling better. I hope that very soon he will have been fully recovered.”
Anthony Maclin, 24, still has parts of bullets lodged in his body after being shot three times as officers blasted his car with more than 30 shots as they awakened him and shouted various commands over the course of seven seconds.
When the shooting stopped, Maclin acceded to their demands and exited his car, hands up, as the officers treated his wounds and prepared him for transport to the hospital.
Maclin’s gun was discovered in the front seat where he was sitting, but body-worn camera video does not portray that gun being accessed or leveled at the officers before they opened fire.
Maclin faces no charges for the incident and this week served notice that he intends to sue the city, the mayor, IMPD and the officers involved in the shooting while seeking their dismissals and criminal prosecutions.
“The Maclin family continues to call for… IMPD to release the unedited officer body cam footage of this incident,” read a statement from Maclin’s attorney after the IMPD video release Tuesday afternoon.
To Attorney Craig Karpe, the Oxford Street incident reminded him of the fatal IMPD shooting of unarmed fleeing motorist Aaron Bailey in 2017.
”He was chased for a period of time until he ran into a tree. The police exited their vehicles behind him and got out, demanded to see his hands and opened fire right away.”
Bailey died of a gunshot wound to the back.
Karpe negotiated a $650,000 settlement with the City for Bailey’s family and a commitment that IMPD would emphasize de-escalation in its training and officers’ tactics.
”They’re only to use lethal force in response to lethal threats to themselves or others. They shouldn’t open fire until they’ve got an actual belief that there’s a gun involved or there’s some other threat,” said Karpe. “All of that is basic de-escalation training. The whole curriculum of de-escalation is to allow time, allow distance, allow things to cool down a little bit before somebody reaches for a gun.”
Karpe said the Oxford Street incident, of which the video showed officers attempting to open the locked car doors as Maclin dozed in his grandmother’s driveway for three minutes before banging on the vehicle and shouting commands and firing as Maclin woke up and began moving inside the vehicle, was reminiscent of Bailey’s death.
”It’s another situation where shots were fired when they didn’t need to be,” he said. “Certainly if they were pursuing de-escalation on this they could have just secured the situation until the person woke up and was communicating with them. I don’t see why they would be required to open fire like this.”
IMPD General Order 1.30 directs that, “Officers will attempt to de-escalate situations with the goal of resolving encounters without the use of force, when feasible,” and, “De-escalation techniques include the use of communication, time, distance, barriers, and continual situational awareness,” and, “Officers will conduct a threat assessment to avoid placing themselves or others in jeopardy.”
”That’s the idea behind time, distance and barriers,” said IMPD Deputy Chief Catherine Cummings, director of IMPD’s Training Academy. “You create distance, you make everyone safe behind barriers, that should give you more time, more time to figure out what’s going on in the situation, more time to figure out what is the issue, is there truly a use of force situation here, what is the reason we were called here?”
Cummings said those principles and tactics are repeatedly emphasized in both recruit training and in-service instruction for veteran officers.
”I’m confident that when we put out new recruits, brand new inexperienced people, I’m confident that when our veteran officers leave our training academy, I’m confident that they know what our policies are, expectations are, from our chief of police, our mayor, our city, and, most importantly, from our community members,” said Cummings. “Every class, every day, every sentence change in a policy, my teams and I and the rest of the leadership team within IMPD are constantly asking questions, all day long, every day, what do we need to do, how can we do better and ensuring that our responses are what the community wants and what the community needs.”
Joe Hogsett was the mayor of Indianapolis the day Aaron Bailey was killed and the day a settlement was signed with Bailey’s family calling for IMPD de-escalation training.
”The Aaron Bailey situation was also incredibly difficult. As a result, though, we not only provided in our training at the academy de-escalation but also implicit bias training and many things that are bringing IMPD up to date in terms of training,” said the mayor. ”The question that the internal investigation surrounding this incident will answer is, are there gaps in the de-escalation training or is it just an incident of officers not following the training they’ve been given, and I think that that answer will come as the result of the internal investigation that is being done.”
U.S. Supreme Court precedent finds that police officers are permitted to respond with deadly force if they perceive a threat to life, a perception that may not necessarily be captured by a body-worn camera which is typically mounted a foot or more below an officer’s line of sight.
The IMPD Critical Incident Response Team is investigating the incident and will forward its report to the Marion County Prosecutor for consideration of criminal charges.
MCPO said today that it had no comment on the Oxford Street BWC video.
Cummings said that IMPD instructors are continually re-examining their training protocols and whether changes need to be made
IMPD cannot address whether officers are fully practicing the tactics they learned in the academy when they are assigned to the street due to the ongoing internal investigation.