City settles excessive force lawsuit with Indianapolis couple for $370,000

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Sept. 9, 2015)-- The City of Indianapolis settled an excessive force lawsuit for $370,000 in a case with a man and woman who say they were unjustifiably shot at.

Luke Woodworth and Samantha Wills were on their way to a New Year's Eve party in 2014.

They were unfamiliar with the area and  got lost. The couple accidentally ended up in a driveway on the southeast side, ultimately knocking on the wrong door.

"A police officer who lived there thought they were messing with his property so he came out told them to show ID. He was not dressed in (police) gear or anything but he does point a gun at them," said civil rights attorney Richard Waples.

Reserve Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) officer Michael Krebs told investigators that he thought the teens were trying to break in.

Waples represents both Woodworth and Wills.

"He starts shooting at them as they drive away. Krebs shoots at the car seven times, hits it five times including two that came into the cabin and almost hit them," said Waples

According to the complaint, Woodworth was afraid for his life so he quickly put the car in reverse and drove away.

"They were almost killed. He testified he was shooting at them to kill them. Luckily he wasn't a very good shot," said Waples.

Originally, officer Krebs said he was hit by the fleeing car and that's why he fired his gun.

In fact, Woodworth was initially arrested and charged with criminal recklessness. Those charges were eventually dropped.

"I think it represents the city acknowledging that what happened here was wrong. Hopefully, this settlement gives the city some incentive to tighten up their act and make sure their officers act appropriately and within the law," said Waples.

The Chief Litigation Counsel for the city had no further comment. Krebs is now a civilian employee and no longer has police authority.

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