An Indianapolis police officer was indicted by a federal grand jury on Tuesday (Oct. 18) for assaulting a man in September 2021. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Sgt. Eric Huxley was charged with “violating the civil rights of an arrestee by using excessive force.” He is also charged with misconduct and battery resulting in moderate bodily injury by Marion County prosecutors.
In newly released bodycam footage, a man identified as Jermaine Vaughn is shown handcuffed and on his back as another officer holds him down as Huxley stomps down directly onto his face. Simultaneously, the clip shows another officer yelling at Vaughn, “You’re done. You’re done.” Stunned, Vaughn remains on the ground as blood poured from his mouth.
A police affidavit revealed that the man said he was exercising his right to freedom of speech at Monument Circle when he engaged in a verbal back-and-forth with an officer. The officer exited his vehicle and called for backup; that was when Vaughn was arrested and assaulted. He was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, though the charges were ultimately dismissed.
Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Chief Randal Taylor said he was confident the judicial system would bring Vaughn and his family justice. “This incident was unnecessary and should have never occurred. I would not tolerate this behavior from any community member; Sergeant Huxley is no exception. As law enforcement officers, we must understand that this behavior violates the community’s trust,” Taylor said in a statement obtained by MSNBC.
Pastor Lionel Rush of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance of Indianapolis called the assault atrocious and nefarious. “To the credit of this chief, they were forthcoming, and they did not need to be put in a hammerlock to do that,” he told NBC News.
Huxley, a 15-year veteran of the force, was immediately suspended without pay. Taylor also recommended he face termination. According to Huxley’s attorney, John Kautzman, the officer is “sorry for any pain caused to Mr. Vaughn as a result of his actions and the negative scrutiny placed on his department and fellow officers.” He also claimed, “This incident resulted from his perception of the need to attempt a trained police technique that unfortunately struck Mr. Vaughn in an unintended area of his body.”
You can view the graphic bodycam footage below.