INDIANAPOLIS — Anthony Maclin is suing the police officers who shot him while he was in a rental car in his grandmother’s driveway.
Maclin, who was shot three times by Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officers on Dec. 31, 2022, is seeking compensation for the injuries he sustained, the violation of U.S. Constitutional rights he suffered and the fees he has and will incur as litigation unfolds.
Maclin’s attorney, Stephen Wagner, is also seeking compensation for the “severe emotional distress” suffered by Vickie Driver — Maclin’s grandmother who allegedly watched officers shoot and injure her grandson in her driveway.
“I don’t know any more distressful situation than being on your front porch and seeing your grandson shot when you called the police to help,” Wagner said of Driver’s emotional distress.
To date, Maclin has racked up $929,079.52 in medical expenses to receive treatment for the injuries he sustained when officers him, according to the complaint. The three bullets that struck Maclin led to a collapsed right lung, a Grade 4 liver injury, a Grade 4 Kidney injury, a comminuted fracture to the L2 vertebral body with a bullet remaining one millimeter from the spine, a right diaphragmatic injury, a comminuted fracture of the humeral medial epicondyle and generalized gunshot wounds to the chest, right shoulder and left elbow.
“He’s lost so much,” said Driver about her grandson. “Every day, when he puts on his clothes, he’s looking at scars. When he moves his hand, he’s feeling the pain.”
The complaint reports that the incident unfolded when Maclin wanted to make a surprise visit to Driver’s residence. He allegedly tried to visit his grandmother at night in a rental vehicle with a Florida license plate on it because his own car was in a shop in Indianapolis receiving repairs.
The document indicates Maclin did not want to wake his grandmother because it was late in the evening, and he thought she might be sleeping. So, Maclin opted to sleep in his car for a few hours until she woke up. The complaint reports that Maclin was not impaired “in any way” before the incident.
Driver awoke and called police to her residence at 3601 N Oxford St in Indianapolis because she did not recognize the vehicle Maclin parked in her driveway. Officers Lucas Riley, Alexander Gregory and Carl Chandler responded to the call to Driver’s home.
The complaint claims Riley was in charge of the scene. The document also reports that Driver told dispatchers that she “did not know if the person in the vehicle was one of her grandkids.” Officers were aware that the person in the vehicle may have been one of Driver’s relatives, per the complaint.
Riley had dispatchers run the vehicle’s plate to confirm the vehicle was not stolen. After that point, the complaint alleges that the officers made a series of mistakes.
Officers approached the vehicle and found Maclin inside. They attempted to open the door, but could not pry it open because it was locked.
The complaint alleges Driver told officers, “I want to make sure it’s not one of my grandkids” as they investigated the car. Officers then allegedly yelled back at her, asking if she had any grandkids from Florida. Driver told them she did not have any grandkids from Florida.
After approximately three minutes on the scene, officers knocked on the window to wake Maclin up, according to the complaint. When Maclin woke up, police issued verbal commands for five seconds.
The complaint alleges that, as Maclin began to raise his hands, officers opened fire on the car for approximately seven seconds. The documents said officers emptied their magazines, firing at least 32 rounds into the car.
“I don’t know what was going on,” Maclin said of the incident during a press conference with his legal team on Monday. “I know that I’m in my grandma’s driveway, so I know I can’t be in any harm right now. That knocking could be my grandmother.”
Maclin said he didn’t realize it was officers who were outside the car, or that he had been shot, until he exited the vehicle after the officers opened fire.
“I just knew that something wasn’t right. I had no idea why they were there. It wasn’t until that point that I knew I was shot and that I needed help.”
Despite more than 30 rounds being fired into Maclin’s vehicle, he was only hit three times. He survived his injuries after six surgeries and 17 days in the hospital, though he still carries bullets within his flesh.
“That there shows that you need more training,” Maclin said. “But not just that, that is God protecting me.”
One of the defendant officers’ attorneys, John Kautzman, claims Maclin was awake when officers discharged their weapons.
”He was not shot while sleeping,” Kautzman told FOX59/CBS4. “He was wide awake. He was awake. He reached for a gun. He turned that gun in the direction of the officers.”
The complaint claims officers never tried to contact the rental car company, Enterprise, to get more information about the car’s driver. The document also alleges that officers never tried to show Driver a photo of the individual in the car or have her try to come over to the car and identify the person inside.
The complaint says officers did not utilize PA devices or the lights on their squad cars to try to wake Maclin up. Officers identified the gun Maclin had in his vehicle before they opened fire.
The document alleges officers never told Maclin to “drop the gun” or anything to that effect. Maclin also had a valid Indiana license to carry his firearm — even though such licenses are no longer required in the Hoosier State.
The complaint claims Maclin did not pose an immediate threat to the officers, was not committing a crime and wasn’t being arrested.
Officers on the scene failed to use de-escalation techniques and violated IMPD General Order 1.30, per the complaint. IMPD General Order 1.30 requires officers to “attempt to de-escalate situations with the goal of resolving encounters without the use of force, when feasible,” according to the complaint.
Kautzman said he and other attorneys defending the officers involved in the case believe evidence will establish the police at the scene were “reasonably in fear of their lives.” Officers must perceive potential for serious bodily injury before acting in self-defense, according to current Supreme Court standards.
”We believe both the video evidence, and other testimonial evidence, and other physical evidence at the scene will establish that they were reasonably in fear of their lives,” Kautzman said, “that this man had a weapon in his hand, he brandished it toward the officers and they returned fire in self-defense.”
Previous edited bodycam video released by IMPD included a graphic that read “None of the cameras provided a clear view of the position of the gun after the (Maclin) woke up and moved his arm.”
Wagner, Maclin’s attorney, also said that Maclin never had the gun in his hand.
Maclin’s legal team is also alleging the City of Indianapolis is negligent in the case because its officers harmed Maclin during the incident. The complaint additionally claims IMPD Chief Randall Taylor “maintained an unconstitutional custom and practice of failing to discipline officers who use deadly force.”
“All of this could have been prevented,” Driver said during the press conference. “We talk all the time about policing and community, and this is what we get? When we call for help, just call to check something out … because someone is sick or having a mental crisis, and this is what we get? And you want us to not be afraid? We are afraid to call for help.”
The complaint alleges that, from 2021-22, IMPD officers were involved in 23 shootings. Only one review of those shootings has been completely reviewed. The rest are listed as “pending” reviews, according to the document.
Wagner also claims Chief Taylor and the City of Indianapolis intentionally delay the termination of officers until prosecutors make charging decisions or criminal cases conclude.
The complaint says Taylor and the City of Indianapolis should not have to wait for the legal process to play out before terminating officers. The document claims IMPD has terminated officers before their criminal cases concluded in the past, citing the cases of Officer Michael Price and Sgt. Eric Huxley.
Maclin and his legal team have also indicated that IMPD’s internal “use of force” review process may be flawed. The complaint claims that, of the 49 officer-involved shootings that were reviewed in full from 2015-22, 47 were determined to comply with IMPD’s “use of force” policies.
The document says IMPD recorded 69 officer-involved shootings from 2015-22. Those incidents involved 145 officers and 79 suspects. The complaint claims 81% of the officers involved were white and 67% of the suspects were Black.
“We want to live in safe communities, we want to live in healthy communities, and we want to feel safe and free to drive around in our communities free of violence and the fear of violence,” Senior Pastor of Tabernacle Baptist Church Timothy G. Taylor said during Monday’s press conference “… Much of the fear of violence is due to the law enforcement in our community. A group of people who are supposed to serve us and protect us.”
Gregory has been charged with two Level 3 Felonies, four Level 5 Felonies and one Level 6 Felony, including aggravated battery causing substantial risk of death, battery with a deadly weapon and criminal recklessness. Chandler is facing similar charges.
According to the complaint, Gregory, Riley and Chandler are all still employed by IMPD and “receiving normal pay.” The document also says Chief Taylor has yet to recommend any disciplinary action against the officers. Officers who are indicted can’t carry guns if they go back to work while the legal process plays out.
During Monday’s press conference, Maclin’s lawyer, Stephen Wagner, said, “in Indianapolis, IMPD policies itself,” claiming that officials get to write probable cause affidavits that favor their side of the story. Wagner also claimed that Riley was the person who bailed Chandler and Gregory out of jail. Chandler and Gregory were both released on $3,000 bonds.
“What sends a better message (of) ‘we’ve got your back’… than the supervisor (bailing you out of jail) who should have prevented that,” Wagner said.
Wagner said Maclin and Driver support police and know that officers have a tough job. Driver has even worked with IMPD as part of community boards to help bridge the gap between police and her community. But Wagner said police must be held accountable when they do wrong or wrongs will continue to happen.
“Until an officer loses a job and a paycheck, they’re not going to change their ways,” Wagner said.
“I just feel so betrayed,” Driver said. “I feel so lost.”
Chandler and Gregory’s jury trials are set for Dec. 18. Some of the charges they face carry maximum sentences of up to 16 years in prison and fines of $10,000.