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Civil Judgment Entered Against Evansville Police Department in Excessive Force Case

In March of 2015, Doug Scholp was fifty-five years old and had several medical issues, which required him to use a cane to help him with walking.  On March 26, Scholp was driving to his home when two Evansville Police officers observed him speeding.  Those officers followed Scholp, pulled into his driveway, and forced their way into Scholp’s garage.  After Scholp told the officers to get out of his garage, the officers proceeded to attack him, beat him, and repeatedly tased him. 

Following that incident, Scholp was criminal charged by the State of Indiana with resisting law enforcement.  However, a criminal jury acquitted Scholp of criminal charges after they had the opportunity to watch the video account of what happened.  Portions of that video revealed one of the officers referring to Scholp as a “crippled old man.”  Following his acquittal, Scholp filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the Evansville Police Department and its officers. 

Despite the fact the officers’ brutal attack was captured on body camera videos, EPD and the officers nonetheless denied any wrongdoing in the civil rights case and the matter was set for civil jury trial.  However, on March 7, 2018, that trial became unnecessary when the Evansville Police Department and its officers agreed to have a judgment entered against them.  Scholp’s attorney, Scott Barnhart stated, “What happened to Doug Scholp at his home that day was an unacceptable nightmare and a clear violation of his constitutional rights.  EPD’s willingness to have a judgment entered against them and its officers in order to preclude a civil jury trial is an acknowledgement of those violations and tantamount to an admission of guilt by the Department.”

Much of what occurred between Scholp and the officers that day was captured on EPD body camera videos and a cell phone camera.  Mr. Barnhart noted that the videos were an important part of the case.  He said, “the videos are telling and capture the brutality of the officers’ actions.”   With the increased use of body cameras worn by police officers, those videos can be an important part of police training.”  Mr. Barnhart continued, “it is our sincere hope that EPD uses those videos, this case, and perhaps others to train and educate their officers concerning the constitutional rights of the citizens they serve, particularly those who are elderly or disabled.” 

Do you need a civil rights attorney that has experience litigating excessive force claims against the police?  Contact the attorneys at Keffer Barnhart LLP today!  We stand ready to provide our clients with trusted representation and accurate information regarding the law and its application to their individualized case.  Act now and contact us today at 1-800-NOT-GUILTY or (317) 857-0160.