Merit board to meet this week to decide future of officers involved in fatal shooting of Aaron Bailey

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The family of a man shot and killed by two IMPD officers is waiting to hear whether those men will keep their jobs.

The Police Merit Board, a panel comprised of seven civilians, is expected to hold a hearing this week to determine whether to uphold Chief Bryan Roach's recommendation for the officers to be fired.

"Every day I wish I could have my father back instead of going through this," said Bailey's daughter, Erica.

She and her relatives plan to be at the hearing this week, which could potentially last through Thursday.

"All I can hope and do is just pray and just know we that we'll get done what needs to be done," said Bailey's sister, Kimberly Brown.

Last June, police said Bailey led them on a chase after a traffic stop before crashing his car. Police said after they thought he was reaching for a weapon, they fired their firearms. Investigators said after the shooting, they did not find a weapon.

A special prosecutor determined no criminal charges would be filed, but Chief Roach recommended the officers be fired.

"It's like a court proceeding and again it's a good way to do things, it's having civilians look over the shoulder, if you will, of the actions by the police officers," said Jim White, a public safety clinical lecturer at IUPUI's School of Public Environmental Affairs.

The merit board will consider the chief's disciplinary recommendation and whether to back it up. They are expected to hear evidence presented by the chief and officers, to hear witness testimony and to review documentary evidence.

White says the board will look at the facts of the case, not emotion. He said they can either sustain the chief's recommendation or make further recommendations.

"Did they follow the rules and regulations of the department? That's what the merit board's going to look at," White said. "This case has a lot of interesting facts that need to be looked at and it will be interesting to see what the merit board does."

The activist group Dont Sleep plans to attend the hearing as well.

"I want people to get involved. I want people to become active in holding our police departments accountable. I guess there's just so much that's happening that flies under the radar," the organization's vice president, Satchuel Cole, said.

But as the public watches what plays out, Bailey's daughter said she's focused on fighting for her father.

"I don't want this to have to happen to somebody else's family again," Bailey said.

The Indianapolis Fraternal Order of Police released this statement Monday:

“This has been a tragedy for everyone involved. We extend our prayers and condolences to all those affected. We all understand and appreciate the public’s concern whenever officers are faced with the difficult, split second decision to defend themselves and others against a potentially armed suspect.

Since the announcement of the IMPD Chief of Police this past November we have sought further documentation to better understand the basis for the Chief’s decision as it relates to departmental policies, departmental training and especially in light of the published decision of the Special Prosecutor.

From the start, we have only requested that the review be conducted through a fair, consistent process and the decision be based solely upon the evidence.

We all understand how important this case is. That is why it is being presented to a Police Merit Board made up of citizens of this community, all from diverse backgrounds. These citizens will be able to examine all of the facts and determine whether these officers acted within policy.

We are hopeful this review and judgement will be fair and impartial and free of any political influence or undue public pressure.”

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