INDIANAPOLIS – For the second time in a week, a federal judge dismissed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Indianapolis and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department related to the 2020 riot downtown.
The lawsuit filed by the family of Dorian Murrell accused the city and IMPD of failing to adequately prepare for protests downtown that later erupted into violence.
Murrell died after being shot on May 31, 2020, in downtown Indianapolis. Tyler Newby was later convicted on a lesser charge of reckless homicide in November 2022. Prosecutors originally sought a murder charge, although Newby claimed self-defense.
Jurors were unable to come to a unanimous decision during 2021 proceedings that ended in a mistrial.
Federal Judge Tanya Walton Pratt dismissed the wrongful death lawsuit filed in the Murrell case. The lawsuit claimed IMPD’s “excessive and unprepared response” led to violence. Police were poorly trained, the lawsuit argued, and the inadequate training made the situation worse.
The department then failed to safeguard the city, the lawsuit said, leading to a chaotic situation that resulted in Murrell’s shooting death.
The judge rejected those arguments in her ruling.
“The fact that IMPD could have done more does not mean that it acted with deliberate indifference,” Pratt wrote, adding that the “Constitution does not guarantee Mr. Murrell’s safety from criminals.”
Pratt also wrote that Murrell’s family failed to prove any link between police missteps and Murrell’s death.
“Apart from the crime occurring in the same region of the City and around the time the protests ended, there is no factual allegation that supports a finding that the protests and Mr. Murrell’s murder are connected—let alone that the crime was somehow caused by the Defendants,” she wrote.
Pratt dismissed a similar suit last week filed on behalf of Chris Beaty, who was killed on May 30, 2020, during the riot. Beaty was attempting to stop a robbery when he was fatally shot.