Special prosecutor requested in Indianapolis police shooting
The family of an Aaron Bailey, an unarmed black man killed by police in Indianapolis, are asking for a special prosecutor to investigate the case.
Family members argue that Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry has a conflict of interest and cannot fairly assess the culpability of Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Officers Michal P. Dinnsen and Carlton J. Howard.
“We felt that there was a close relationship between the prosecutor and IMPD, so we wanted someone who hasn’t worked as closely with IMPD to kind of take a look and give a fair analysis of the case,” said Bailey’s sister, Kimberly Brown, in an interview with Wishtv.com.
The officers pulled Bailey over for a traffic stop on June 29 and then engaged in a high speed chase with Bailey until his car crashed into a tree.
Police then got out of their vehicle and shot and killed Bailey.
The shooting of Bailey has frustrated the minority community in Indiana’s largest city, and Police Chief Bryan Roach has responded to Bailey’s death by promising transparency and change. The investigation is still ongoing and Curry’s office declined to comment on the family’s request that his office be recused.
Roach has asked the FBI to conduct an independent review of the shooting. Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett has also announced police will go through implicit bias training and reevaluate their use of force policies.
Roach has said he does not know what happened that led the two police officers to shoot, and he is also not aware if reports that Bailey reached down into his car at some point before being shot are correct.
The information on the investigation will likely go directly to Curry’s office, who will decide whether or not to file charges—unless he decides to recuse himself. The family is also considering filing a civil lawsuit against the police and the city.
According to the Indianapolis Star, “Many members of the city’s black community say they are cautiously hopeful, but they also remain skeptical. They have seen this before in the aftermath of police shootings of black men — the concern and condolences, promises of transparency, talk of systemic change.”
Police shootings, particularly of unarmed black men, have repeatedly made national news in the last few years. Most of the time prosecutors have declined to prosecute police, such as in the case of Darren Wilson, who was not indicted for the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
On the rare occasions that prosecutors do charge, convictions often don’t happen. There have been acquittals, like in the killing of Philando Castile in Minneapolis, or juries deadlock like the case of Samuel Dubose, who was shot by Ray Tensing in Cincinnati.
In both instances the officers involved ended up going free.