When it comes to policing Black people, cops often prove themselves to be nothing more than bullies with badges, guns and easily bruised egos who will use even the slightest hint of defiance of their authority as an excuse to treat Black bodies like human piñatas.
In Indianapolis, three police officers are under investigation, including one police sergeant who was caught on body camera footage kicking a homeless Black man in the face while he was handcuffed. What was the Black man being arrested for in the first place? Well, apparently, he committed the egregious crime of—*checks notes*—being loud.
According to the Washington Post, the three officers responded to a disorderly conduct report at downtown Indianapolis’ Monument Circle on September 24, when they encountered 39-year-old Jermaine Vaughn. The cops reported that Vaughn was shouting and “refused to quiet down,” which is, apparently, why Officer Matthew Shores felt the need to handcuff him.
The body-cam footage shows Shores ordering Vaughn to “lean back,” to which Vaughn responded by telling him he couldn’t because another officer was holding his belt. This, obviously, left Shores with no other option than to—sorry, just need to check my notes again—push the handcuffed Black man up a set of stairs and onto the pavement.
That’s when Sgt. Eric Huxley entered the police brutality chat. (Note: A homeless Black man was handcuffed for shouting and pushed up a set of stairs, but, somehow, we’re just now getting to the bad part.)
As Shores was pinning Vaughn to the ground by his collar, Huxley can be seen on camera very clearly kicking Vaughn in the face for what very much appeared to be no reason whatsoever.
Even Shores told Detective Arleatha Marble of the department’s special investigations unit, “I didn’t know what led up to it. He (Huxley) came up and it looked like his foot struck Jermaine Vaughn in the face,” according to an affidavit.
Also included in the affidavit was unreleased body camera footage in which Shores can reportedly be heard telling another officer that what Huxley did “looked very bad.” Meanwhile, Huxley, in that same unreleased footage reportedly claimed stomping on Vaughn’s face was an accident and he “was attempting to put my foot on his shoulder and I accidentally kicked him in his face.”
Yeah, no, this totally looks like an accident:
Huxley is now charged with one felony count each of official misconduct and battery and has been suspended from the force without pay. During a Tuesday news conference, Police Chief Randal Taylor said Huxley, who is a 14-year police veteran, should be removed from the force permanently calling his actions “outrageous” and “totally uncalled for.”
“My hope is that the community understands that when these things come to our attention, we’ll deal with them quickly,” Taylor said.
Shores and Sgt. Christopher Kibbey, the third officer on the scene, have both been placed on administrative leave while the department investigates all three officers for past use-of-force incidents as well as the incident involving Vaughn.
Acting U.S. Attorney John E. Childress said the FBI will also be investigating the incident and that if “the investigation reveals prosecutable violations of any federal criminal statutes, the Department will take appropriate action.”
Vaughn, who told Marble “he had been homeless for about a year and was practicing his free-speech rights,” according to the Post, was arrested and booked on charges of resisting law enforcement and disorderly conduct, but both charges were ultimately dismissed, likely because people have eyes and ears and what actually happened in the video footage was clear as day.
And to think, all of this could have been avoided if cops policing Black people knew how to show restraint instead of unnecessary aggression.
Or, you know, just leave us the hell alone.