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Yes, That Actually Happened

On the early morning hours of a new year’s day, “John”, who is African American, was driving to his home from a friend’s house.  Around that same time, an off duty reserve police officer was returning home from a shift as an officer for a small town. 

The off-duty officer was driving in an unmarked personal vehicle with tinted windows when he observed John’s vehicle and began following him.  John noticed and suspected that he was being followed so he pulled into a gas station and went inside the convenience store.  When he left the gas station, the vehicle continued to follow him.   

After he confirmed his suspicion that he was being followed, John pulled into another gas station, which was not open for business.  He saw the same car pass him, turn around, and then pull into the closed gas station.  John called a friend so that someone could potentially call the police to help him.  At that point, he saw a uniformed police officer exit the vehicle that had been following him.  

Other officers from a different law enforcement agency proceeded to surround his vehicle, grab John, throw him to the ground, and injure him.  John found himself surrounded by officers with their weapons pulled as he stood there handcuffed and helpless. The officers gave John a portable breath test and saw that he registered a .000 blood alcohol content.    

After a brief investigation, an officer then removed John’s handcuffs and released him from the scene.  One of the officers apologized to him for the officers’ actions and stated that he does not usually apologize or words to that effect. 

John was not charged with any crime.  While a report was made by the agency that arrested, injured him, and investigated the matter, the report simply stated that officers “assisted another law enforcement agency” without naming the other agency or the other officer involved.  That report also alleged that the incident was for “Sick – Injured Civilian.”  However, John was not “sick,” but had been assaulted and attacked by law enforcement for no apparent reason. 

It was only after bringing a civil rights lawsuit that John was able to discover the identity of the off-duty officer who improperly followed him in his personal vehicle.  Both law enforcement agencies eventually and subsequently settled the civil rights lawsuit that was brought against them or their officers. 

Looking for an Indiana civil rights attorney that understands your criminal and constitutional rights? Contact the attorneys at Keffer Barnhart LLP today if you have questions or believe your rights have been violated.  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.