September 10, 2023 - A suspended Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Sergeant was sentenced to 12 months and a day in prison, with six months of home detention and 18 months of supervised release, after pleading guilty to violating the civil rights of an arrestee by using excessive force.
According to court documents, on Sept. 24, 2021, Eric Huxley, 44, was on patrol in downtown Indianapolis when another officer requested his assistance in confronting a disorderly person on Monument Circle. After officers placed the victim, identified as J.V., under arrest for disorderly conduct, Huxley assisted other officers with conducting an inventory of J.V.’s property.
When officers began to remove J.V.’s belt, he became confrontational with the officers. The primary arresting officer used a department-approved takedown maneuver to bring J.V., who had already been handcuffed, to the ground. The arresting officer held J.V. down with one hand while a second officer restrained his legs. This reasonable and appropriate use of force effectively overcame J.V.’s resistance and rendered him physically unable to move.
Despite knowing that J.V. had been effectively restrained and posed no further danger to officers or the public, Huxley then intentionally raised his right foot and drove it down onto J.V.’s head and face.
“This sentence holds a former police officer accountable for abusing his authority when he violently assaulted a homeless man who posed no threat,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department is committed to aggressively investigating and prosecuting law enforcement officials who violate federal civil rights laws.”
“In addition to the trauma inflicted on victims, police officers who break the law and use excessive force damage the community’s trust in the law enforcement profession,” said U.S. Attorney Zachary A. Myers for the Southern District of Indiana. “Officers put themselves at risk every day doing a difficult and sometimes dangerous job to uphold the law and protect their communities. Those who instead commit crimes must be identified and prosecuted. Today’s sentencing demonstrates that the FBI, Justice Department and our U.S. Attorney’s Office are committed to seeking accountability for those who violate people’s civil rights under the color of law.”
“Every day, law enforcement officers in this country face dangerous situations which require the application of reasonable force to protect themselves and others. Unfortunately, some officers fail to adhere to the applicable standards of law and policy, inflicting harm instead of preventing it,” said Special Agent in Charge Herbert J. Stapleton of the FBI Indianapolis Field Office. “This sentence reflects the FBI’s commitment to protecting the civil rights of all citizens and I commend the work of the Special Agents and prosecutors who helped ensure the defendant was held accountable for his illegal conduct.”
The FBI Indianapolis Field Office investigated the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Tiffany Preston for the Southern District of Indiana and Trial Attorney Alec Ward of the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section prosecuted the case.
Source: DOJ Release