IMPD releases video summarizing police shooting of mentally distressed armed man

Indianapolis Area Crime

UPDATE:

The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department on Monday released a video summary of the officer-involved shooting on May 14 at 7800 Red Mill Drive. IMPD says the video is designed to give the community an overview of the incident. Multiple officers involved had activated body cameras.

WARNING – THIS VIDEO CONTAINS GRAPHIC IMAGES AND LANGUAGE – VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED

Click here to watch the video on IMPD’s YouTube page.

ORIGINAL STORY:

INDIANAPOLIS — It was a little past 6:30 p.m. last Friday when Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officers were dispatched to a report of a suicidal man shooting a gun in the parking lot of an apartment community on the city’s northeast side.

Neighbors in the 7800 block of Red Mill Drive told FOX59 that Monolito Ford, 48, had been showing signs of distress for an hour before police arrived.

Three IMPD officers rendezvoused at the community entrance and formulated a plan to approach Ford, but within seconds, investigators indicate the armed man approached the officers from 15 feet away, leveled the gun and ignored orders to halt.

All three officers fired their weapons, and Ford was shot dead.

“By the time officers got on scene, and the time that the incident occurred was in very quick timeframe, and having reviewed the body cameras myself, our officers were well aware of what de-escalation is and what needed to be done to try to solve this peacefully,” said IMPD Assistant Chief Chris Bailey. “As well as time, distance and barriers, all of those things play a part in de-escalation, but sometimes our officers have to make quick decisions, and I’m not speaking directly to this particular incident, but those decisions sometimes you don’t have the luxury to think through all those things.

“When someone’s armed with a lethal weapon, those tactics and what we use to try to de-escalate, those things could change.”

During a memorial service at the site Sunday night, Ford’s family admitted he had recently been struggling with mental health issues but wondered why IMPD couldn’t have taken a less confrontational response.

“When somebody is crying for help and is suicidal, what happened to that team to de-escalate the situation cuz it could have prevented all of that?” asked Tanesha Turner, Ford’s cousin.

IMPD’s Mobile Crisis Assistance Team went off duty at 6 p.m. Friday, a half-hour before the call for help. But Bailey said the presence of a gun being fired in public would negate the potential MCAT response.

“In this particular case, whether MCAT was available or not, we have a person who has actively fired shots in a public setting, and so the response is going to be a little bit different than if it was somebody inside their house who was contained and needed some crisis assistance.”

Friends told FOX59 that Ford had sought mental health assistance in the days before the shooting but was reportedly turned down due to a lack of medical insurance.

Those friends said Ford had an upcoming appointment Monday at another mental health clinic.

Ford shared a child with Desma Anderson, who said family members need to see the video from the three body worn cameras of the officers.

“I’m sure bodycam don’t lie,” said Anderson. “The truth will come out.”

Per IMPD’s bodycam policy and state law, Ford’s immediate family or legal representative have the right to request a private viewing of the bodycam video in a timely manner.

The morning after the fatal shooting, IMPD convened a conference call with at least two dozen community leaders to apprise them of the early facts of the investigation.

“This came down to mental health. What is the policy for mental health when an incident like this happens both for the police when they’re entering a situation like this, and then what happens afterwards?” said Marshawn Wolley, CEO of Black Onyx Management. “What can the community do? What does the police department do to kind of deal with the aftermath?”

Wolley also shared details of the original call for help from one of Ford’s neighbors.

“One of the things we learned was a member of the community was actually concerned that he would have to use lethal force to address the issue,” said Wolley. “So it was a very tense situation.”

Wolley said the preliminary briefings after fatal shooting incidents serve to freeze IMPD’s original presentation of the facts at an early point in the investigative process, as well as seeking to calm the community’s immediate response.

“I think it’s also a space for IMPD to say, ‘This is what happened,’ and maybe this is even a place for them to say, ‘This is where we got it wrong,’” he said. “I think it’s important that IMPD continues to be transparent in these conversations with providing the information that they have, and then on our side, it’s important for the community to ask the tough questions from an accountability perspective because there is just an expectation for IMPD to be professional.”

Bailey said IMPD’s internal affairs process will begin this week with interviews of the officers involved, while homicide detectives continue to compile their investigation for presentation to the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office for consideration of criminal charges.

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